Truth be told, most parents get downright sick of seeing their youngsters (more boys than girls, according to what we've seen) numb their brains with video games and Skee-Ball. But when it's too damn hot to even go swimming, we've found a notable step up from the cardboard-pizza chains with those disgusting, germ-infested "play areas." This immaculate, warehouse-size, two-story complex at the Desert Ridge Marketplace has a big sports bar downstairs for big people, a well-lighted billiards room upstairs and -- listen up, kids -- a huge, sprawling, state-of-the-art game room. A restaurant sits in the middle of the game room, where parents can suck down a few cold ones while keeping an eye on the kids and on whatever sporting events happen to be on the strategically placed television sets. This "kiddy Vegas" is replete with every ear-splitting, eye-jolting flashy game that one can imagine. No tokens allowed at this money pit. Instead, you buy a game card, which makes it painfully easy for kids to drop $20 in a north Phoenix second. That makes for a serious lesson in juvenile budgeting or (for those parents who don't recognize these types of establishments as signs of the imminent Apocalypse) the realization that forking over another $20 isn't the end of the world. And so what if it is.

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