On the first and last Friday of every month, getting drunk and playing video games doesn't have to be a solitary pursuit. Or at least you can do it with other people around
A good portion of the crowd at Eighteen Twenty and Joystix Friday night did come alone -- and looked intent to stay that way as they nursed beers in front of pinball, Tron or Pac Man machines to a soundtrack of mostly 80s Rock. For $15 the bar (Eighteen Twenty) opens the gate to the massive arcade showroom (Joystix) next door, and you can play as much as you want from 9 pm until 2 am.
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Most of the better games -- Guitar Hero, Air Hockey, Big Buck Hunter, Street Fighter II, Mortal Kombat II and especially Ninja Turtles -- were regularly booked. But there usually seemed to be a vacant Paper Boy or Rampage machine to help with the wait.
Hair Balls tried and failed to find an NBA Jam or NFL Blitz and had to settle instead for an embarrassing loss in Madden 2003 or 2004 at the hands of a man preoccupied with fending off his aggravated girlfriend.
Eighteen Twenty itself is a pretty standard middle-of-the-road bar with a twenty-something clientele getting buzzed off moderately priced domestic beers, though there were some clearly older people trying to relive their gaming glory days -- the newer games catered to a different crowd than, say, Indiana Jones pinball.
The Zoltar fortune-telling machine, which makes Tom Hanks into a man-boy in the movie Big, was largely left untouched. So were the guys playing pinball.