I'm not sure, but I think my daughter has a gambling problem.
No, not my sweet innocent 12-year old.
It’s the six-year old girl I'm worried about.
I learned of this today when we visited a local Dave & Buster's, basically the love child of Chuck E. Cheese and Caesar's Palace.
There were more games being played there than a sorority house during rush week.
My daughter and I jumped from machine to machine before she finally settled on the game that combines coins and magnets, while gobbling up your tokens.
For those of you who have been sucked in by this money machine, you know what I am talking about.
If not, it goes a little something like this...
Insert a coin.
It lands on a metal surface and if you are really lucky, your coin pushes the coin in front of it to the point where eventually there are coins that fall down into your pocket.
In reality, the magnets keep you from winning anything significant.
Insert another coin.
At Dave & Buster's, you don’t win actual money, but instead you get tickets that you can cash in at their gift store -- the same gift store where kids struggle everyday with the tough call between taking home a stuffed animal or plastic thingee.
The good news for us today -- and the real reason we went, today -- was it was half price Wednesday.
That means instead of running out of tokens in one hour, you get to stay there for two.
Don’t get distracted by that tongue in my cheek. My kids had a blast playing the games.
And I had a blast watching them.
In a short time, we had won enough tickets to buy a soft princess pillow or something, but we were determined to keep going.
I had seen enough of that Magnetic Ripoff Game, I think that’s what it is called, so I said to my six-year old it was time to try something else.
“I NEED TO PLAY ONE MORE,” she snapped, staring at the hanging pile of tokens calling her name.
She NEEDS to play one more?
Of course, I gave in.
Again. And again.
To no avail, we left the mother lode of coins for the next sucker.
From there, we made the jump to Skeeball.
That’s the game that combines the art of bowling, the ramp of ski jumping and the holes of golf.
I can say without any hesitation it was one of my favorite arcade games when I was six.
Of course, that was before my competitive blood kicked in.
How small are those damn holes anyway?
Each game you roll 8-10 wooden balls, but no matter how hard I tried or how well I did, I somehow always finished with the same score.
But I digress.
The bottom line is she LOVED it.
We played five or six games before one of the many beepers or buzzers in the room distracted her.
We tried the game where you use a giant metal hook to try and grab a giant stuffed animal from a massive pile of stuffed animals.
No luck there.
The kids and I played the horse racing game where you roll pool balls, trying to land in the farthest hole away to advance your plastic horse as quickly as possible.
My older son and older daughter beat me all three times we played.
But I got some serious revenge in the basketball shooting game.
(Note to kids: use the backboard.)
When all was said and done, and all our tokens had vanished, we took our winning tickets -- all 3,824 of them -- to the prize room.
That’s where all kids go to agonize for an agonizing amount of time between prizes that are destined for either the bottom of the closet or the top of the garbage can.
We were no different.
About 40 minutes later, we walked out with two giant lollypops, a six-inch sour apple gummy bear, a slinky, a(nother) stuffed animal, a fuzzy pillow, a frisbee that lights up (that was for me) and a little basketball hoop that fits on top of the door.
We also left with the best prize of all....
A BIG SMILE!