Remember everything that was awesome in the mid-2000’s? Everyone reminisces about the 90’s, but there was a lot the 2000’s had to offer. It’s when the N64 was in the throes of its last gasp, technology was finally beginning to take off in a huge way, reality television was at its peak, and we were spending as much time on the computer as we did outside. PIZZA BOYZ by Spencer Scott Holmes takes us back to when times were slightly simpler. Holmes reminds us that, sometimes, it’s the smaller moments in life that create the biggest memories.

PIZZA BOYZ centres on four friends in their late teens/early twenties guys named Dunni, Kyle, Vince, and Cisco. The book focuses on their everyday adventures. From a summer job to trying to find the right way to talk to women, these dudes are just looking to have a good time. Our sponsored analysis will look at how Holmes uses the power of nostalgia to entice and entertain its readers while on these guys journeys. After all, is there really more to life than friends, video games, and lovin’ life?

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What are Friends for?

The dynamic of their group is fairly simple but it makes for a well-rounded ensemble. Cisco tends to have the most updated video games and systems. Vince is a video game genius, although some of his tactics to keep winning border on cheating. Dunni is the guy who tries too hard and always sort of falls short. Meanwhile, Kyle is sort of a dense jerk who is still oddly endearing.

Image courtesy of Old Man Orange.

The characters have a balance that is memorable because it is relatable. I’m sure that everyone has the one friend in the group who isn’t really the greatest at video games. It’s always fun to play with them because it’s not about the competition. Or the friend that always seems to have the most up-to-date systems or games. Hell, I still have friends that fit these categories. (I’m actually the jerk in my friend group, but that’s not the point.) That’s what I think makes this comic so fun. It gives us characters that we can easily point and say “hey, I know a guy like that.”

The group’s most interesting attribute is how it focuses on the smaller moments in their life. Each issue is sort of a quick look into their everyday lives. The overarching story does connect, but each issue feels well grounded at that particular moment in time. It’s nice to have a focus on a big story, but a lot of comics sometimes miss how the small moments are what make up a lifetime. PIZZA BOYZ does not miss the importance of these small moments.

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Video Games are the Thing

Video games are central to the story of PIZZA BOYZ. The main characters are video game nerds who are looking to make it big as podcasters. Holmes uses video games as a way of showing how these friends maintain their relationships. The video games they discuss and play help build their friendship dynamic and have major impacts on their lives.

Pizza Boyz
Image courtesy of Old Man Orange.

Off-Brand Controllers

When we first meet the characters, we see Kyle and Dunni playing video games. Vince convinces Dunni to use an off-brand controller, saying it works just fine. However, within the first couple of seconds, you can tell the controller does not actually work at all. When Dunni suggests an all-or-nothing bet, but the two have to switch controllers, Vince suddenly (and conveniently) realizes it’s time to leave.

If you’ve never had to use an off-brand controller, you’re probably the luckiest person in the world. I remember the first off-brand controller we had (which was for an N64). It was the worst controller of my life. But it was always fun to play when someone else was using that controller. Hell, my sister got really good at using it somehow. But it’s moments like these in the comic that keep readers engaged. We laugh because we know that off-brand controllers are absolutely the worst. It’s always funny to see someone else have to use them, though. And this moment is no exception.

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Kart vs. Party

The games the guys pick is also used to make readers reminisce about the good ol’ days. While podcasting about a date, the guys talk about the “Mario Kart method” of dating. They explain how Mario Kart is one of the best methods of dating, which isn’t entirely wrong. However, Dunni’s Mario Kart cartridge is missing, so he has to choose between Diddy Kong Racing or Mario Party. Both games are great, but they’re definitely not Mario Kart.

The decision between the two games is a classic choice. Mario Kart is an amazing game, bar none. It’s a game that brings people together or tears them apart, especially if you have a purple shell. Compared to Diddy Kong Racing or Mario Party, there is little competition. I remember playing all of the above games. They’re great games, but this comic nails the issue on the head. There is no substitute for Mario Kart. You’ll be hard pressed into finding one. And Dunni’s date reflects that there is no replacing Mario Kart.

First Jobs Always Suck

One of the things established early on is that the four guys are podcasters. Their podcast, Old Man Orange, is considered their primary source of income. However, they do end up taking a summer job as pool lifeguards. But lifeguarding isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and it’s nothing like their BAYWATCH fantasies. They have to work under Audrey, who has a full-time job at their beloved Pie in the Sky but wants some extra cash. Their coworkers are Christian cousins Stacy and Elisha. While Stacy is more docile and reminiscent of a “good Christian girl”, Elisha is a hard-ass bully who takes all her aggressions out on Vince.

Pizza Boyz
Image courtesy of Old Man Orange.

Holmes captures the true horror of being a summer lifeguard. Being just in your teens and having to watch children can be a nightmare. But the antics these guys face is fairly true to reality. There is a parent who gives their child a bunch of sugar then sets them loose in the pool area. There are kids pushing other unsuspecting kids into the pool. And the look of pure terror on Dunni’s perfectly captures what looking after someone else’s kid is like, especially if it’s your first legitimate job. But these experiences are important and make us who we are. It’s just nice and validating to see other people had to go through the same trauma.

PIZZA BOYZ and Nostalgia

Nostalgia is a powerful tool. It can entice people to listen to what you have to say. Spencer Scott Holmes utilizes nostalgia to remind readers of where we came from. As a video game nerd, it’s nice to see that other people did as many ridiculous and crazy things as I have with my friends. It wasn’t always easy getting a name brand controller or impressing girls with video games. Amazon hasn’t always been a thing.

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Overall, PIZZA BOYZ makes for a wistful story. It makes you miss the simpler times when the place that sold pizza also had video games. Although the games that are out now are amazing, sometimes it’s nicer to grab a beer and play an arcade game with friends. PIZZA BOYZ reminds us to take notice of the times we have spent with friends, even if they’re hard. Sometimes its these times in our lives that we reflect on and remember the most.

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