Dimes N’ Critters

When I graded this year’s Super Bowl commercials, I gave high marks to the Meta commercial that followed the “career” of an animatronic dog. As the ad revealed, the awkward canine spent his glory years playing for a band inside a pizza arcade. I admitted I liked the commercial because it stirred up some nostalgia inside of me. Little did I know about the next animatronic-based commercial I would watch just a month later.

I liked the Super Bowl Meta commercial that featured an animatronic dog.

Over the weekend while browsing YouTube, I crossed paths with a commercial from the mid-1980s that also packed nostalgia but included a big side of weird as well. Like the Meta spot, it featured a pizza arcade with an animatronic band…only a lot creepier.

There used to be a restaurant in Spokane called Dimes N’ Critters. It was a pizza place that offered 10 cent video games and an animatronic band. Before you continue reading this post, you must watch the commercial.

The story of Dimes N’ Critters, which used to be in the 5 Mile Shopping Center in Spokane, is pretty wild.

Could this place scream 1980s any louder? I never knew I could enter a time warp simply by watching a nearly 40-year-old commercial. To be honest, in this case, I think the nostalgia was just a little too much for me.

Welcome to the 1980s, folks.

Yep, by the time that rat delivered pizza to the kids I am pretty sure they were scarred for life. Heck, after watching it on Saturday I think I am scarred for the rest of my thirties. Man, that thing looked rough.

This rat featured in the commercial is pretty gnarly.

The band members are sus too. There is no doubt the 80s glow adds another layer of wackiness. Do you notice that the skunk (or at least that is what I think it is) is holding flowers? That is kind of funny.

The Dimes N’ Critters Spokane rendition of a skunk.

I am intrigued about the wide selection of arcade games that Dimes N’ Critters had. And only a dime to play! I wonder if there is a record of the game inventory that the restaurant once boasted?…

It looked like Dimes N’ Critters was a pretty good place to play video games…and affordable too!

Stupid question. There isn’t. Believe it or not, Dimes N’ Critters gets even more interesting/weird. Of course, I had to do some research after I watched the commercial. It turns out the place met its demise via a fiery blaze. Dimes N’ Critters fell on hard times when Chuck E. Cheese came to town. I guess the Dimes N’ Critters rat just couldn’t compete with the Chuck E. Cheese mouse. The local pizza arcade was in so much financial trouble that the owner resorted to torching the place.

The demise of Dimes N’ Critters is pretty wild.

Sadly, the band served as the origin of the fire. The owner doused the creatures in gasoline and lit a match. Wait, was that actually sad?

These guys played their last song shortly after Chuck E. Cheese moved into town.

RIP Dimes N’ Critters. Don’t Blink.

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