Pizza West is the Best


Pizza and playing games have always gone together in my life. Whether it was playing Smash Brothers all night at sleepovers in middle school or getting together to lose a lot of games in League of Legends, pizza has always been the go to food. The only thing that has changed as I have gotten older is that instead of Mountain Dew, I now prefer hard alcohol. In my group of gaming friends, we get together when we can to play some League of Legends. Our pizza of choice comes from a little place called Pizza West, and it is the best.

“Are we getting food?” is the first text I send when I am getting ready for a game night, usually followed by “do we have enough limes?” For the gin and tonic of course.  I dread and look forward to Pizza West nights and will usually eat light for the whole day to make sure my stomach is ready. The usual order consists of a medium pizza or some buffalo wings. My friend saves half of the food for the next day, whereas I usually eat it all, feeling very hungry from not really eating all day.  Not usually a wise move when there’s alcohol and greasy food involved, but I am really bad at learning from food mistakes.

The arrival of food signified a pause in gaming because it is really hard to eat and play League of Legends at the same time. Most likely, though, the food would arrive at a critical time in the match. As one of us would have to run downstairs to get the food, the rest of us would work extra hard to play with the disadvantage and hope that any random people we were matched with would not get angry at them for someone being away from keyboard.  But it is worth it because we love Pizza West, but I am not sure any of us could tell you exactly why.

“Pizza West is the Best” became our rallying cry and we even named our team after them once. It became a sort of high point for us in the night of gaming, particularly because we are not used to winning so any pick me up was welcome.  We also usually meet during the week and the loaded carbs are a good way to deal with the oncoming drunkenness and early morning drowsiness. Not sure if it works or if it is just a placebo effect, but mind over matter and all that, right?

The food itself wasn’t particularly good, and Pizza West isn’t the only delivery service in the city. For some reason, it is the one we chose and the one we keep going back to. When we try something new it never really lasts. It has added another ritual to our gaming nights, and additional event that brings us together. When we say, “Pizza West is the Best”, it doesn’t just mean we are hungry, or we appreciate the food we got, but it encapsulates the excitement of the whole night. Kind of like when people yell “woo!” in clubs and such.

The ritual we have of eating at game nights is similar to my lunch eating ritual. I often eat by myself because I usually work from home. I believe it is quite customary to keep your mind occupied while eating alone, whether that is reading a book or newspaper or watching something on television. I prefer to play a game or catch up on some blog reading while I eat.  In most cultures, eating has usually been part of a community ritual and we still see this today when family time is usually synonymous with dinner *- but that has been changing for a while now. While we sit and eat our pizza, the room is usually pretty silent. We catch up on our emails and social media or watch something on YouTube. We might try to find a guide for one of those champions what always kicks our asses, but when we try to play them we fail horribly. During game nights, a communal act then becomes something private. Food, instead of what brings us together, somehow becomes the thing that gets in the way of bringing us together.

This is common outside gaming too. The number of screens and entertainment often get in the way of actually connecting with  people over food. Cooking was a process that could take the whole day, and dinner was something to look forward to. Not just because of the food but also because of the company.  It is no surprise that things like the slow food movement exist, as our schedules and distractions make it harder and harder to sit down and enjoy a meal with people. At the same time, food is still important culturally. It is still a big part of identifying culture, celebrity chefs have enjoyed the spotlight for the last ten years, and the social “food picture” network Instagram has demonstrated that it is here to stay. Sharing pictures of our meals but not the people we are eating it with is a different kind of celebration of food. A more vain and individual one. Perhaps as our lives shift from a more personal one to a more digital one, our approach to food is more individual than communal.

Regardless, Pizza West is a staple of our game nights, and while I would never eat there when I wasn’t gaming, it’s the only place that will do when I am.

And Pizza West knows what’s up. One night, they gave us a free branded mouse pad with our order, totally unexpected.


(This was written for Critical Distance‘s Blogs of the Round Table. The theme of the month was “Food”. Check the site to see all of the other entrees, which are much better than mine.) 

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