Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Laser Death Pizza Extravaganza

I have been to hell and it is in Croydon. All right, perhaps I exaggerate, but not a lot. On Saturday we had Matty's 10th birthday party which was held at the Laser Quest franchise in the Colonnades on The Purley Way. From the outside the building looks like a rather bland office block but inside it is designed to resemble a Mississippi steamboat, I kid you not. The steamboat illusion does not pass deep inspection and is soon revealed to be mostly a front for an extremely noisy amusement arcade replete with the latest shoot-'em-up games called things like Zombie Killer 4 and Death Jungle Zone 3. Each game comes with at least one machine gun and absolutely no volume control. Interspersed with the death dealing mayhem machines were driving games that gave very little consideration to the highway code called Death Racer VII or Mission Road Kill X or such like. Also dotted around the Stygian hall were several non-working pool and air-hockey tables serving primarily as surfaces for teenagers to lounge against and as anti-wheelchair obstacles. The thermostat was set to 'boil blood' level but they economised by having the lighting set at a level that required an infra-red night scope to see more than a few murky feet. Along one side of the arcade was the Laser Quest zone where groups of identical looking pre-teens loitered whilst awaiting their turn to dispense laser justice upon each other.

Matty and his micro-army of 9 laser armed friends vanished into the kill-zone to enact Armageddon while I hunted vainly for a cup of coffee. Eventually I took refuge in the party room we had reserved and was at last able to have a conversation that did not require shouting over the death throes of machine gunned zombies. After an hour or so Matty's army retired from the battlefield to devour hot-dogs and relive successful ambushes. Oh to be 10 again.

On Monday it was Matty's actual birthday and we took him (and Sam, obviously) out for tea. You put your taste-buds in the lap of the gods when you let a 10-year-old choose the restaurant you dine in, so it was with a sense of 'it could have been worse' that I trundled into Pizza Hut. I am not a huge fan of Pizza Hut so I was pleasantly surprised to find on the menu some relatively interesting looking Tuscani style pizzas. I settled on the Pollo Portobello with the “thinnest, lightest, crispiest pizza base” and “recipes inspired from the heart of Italy.” Perfecto! Unfortunately Matty had been swayed by the advertising that induced him to try a pizza surrounded by “a ring of 28 individual doughy bites bursting with cheese.“ Such a divine culinary experience only comes with pizzas the size of truck tyres and so he pleaded with me to share a vast meat-feast deep pan pizza. I closed my menu with a small sigh and said that I'd be delighted to share. It was his birthday after all and considering the years of pleasure he has given me it was a tiny sacrifice. As he sat, grinning from ear to ear, chewing on peperoni flavoured stringy bits, he thanked us for taking him out to 'a posh restaurant'. Is it any wonder I love him?

PS - Only have the ring of 28 individual doughy bites bursting with cheese if you enjoy cheesy flavoured chewing gum.

Until next time.


  1. oooooh the memories!

    I'm pretty sure that's the same place a bunch of us twenty-somethings from the office (in Croydon) went for laser tag about 100 years ago. I had a massive bruise on my chin for about a week afterwards where I had collided with a co-worker. Whenever anyone asked me what happened (about 20 times a day) I told them -quite truthfully- "Dan hit me with his gun". Poor Dan.

    Good times.

    Good times.

  2. I can't help feeling that as I read your article that Roger Deal was incarnate through his oldest child...he would have been proud!

    The biggest problem with those Lazer shoot em ups is that anybody who is over the age of 40 is in serious danger of a heart attack as you run your self ragged in a confined space.

    But what fun!!

  3. I remember being like that when I was little. My grandparents took me on a trip across the United States. Instead of trying the local eats, I always wanted to go to McDonald's. But it's no wonder considering all the ads my impressionable mind had likely been exposed to by that point.

    Kids, eh?


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