With a beer in hand and three in the belly 

The Games People Play

The Recovery Room knows that happiness is a virtual gun

Reese Moore

The Recovery Room knows that happiness is a virtual gun

The bar scene has lost its luster. We're sick of having the same old conversations about who is going to get the top seed in the AFC (the Titans) or what is the funniest movie of all time (Monty Python and the Holy Grail) or whether Stephen Moyer or Alexander Skarsgård is more attractive (Joe Manganiello). We're tired of being hit on by popped-collar douche bags who probably can't spell "douche bags." We can no longer feign interest in the third inning of the same regular season baseball game played on 10 different screens. We need a little something extra to add spice to our nights of boozing. Luckily, there are pinball machines and video games to make the drinking experience easier.

Fans of classic arcade games should check out the Recovery Room (685 King St. Downtown. 843-727-0999). The beloved dive bar's throwback games match the throwback styles rocked by the hipster-boho clientele. Grab a cheap PBR and head to the back to find a standalone arcade system with 60 different classic games, including Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, and Galaga. Fifty cents will transport you back to the 1980s, not that anyone in their right mind would want to go there — the fashions were atrocious, global thermonuclear war was always a possibility, and Nancy Reagan wouldn't shut up about the dangers of drugs. If you get tired of playing classic games, the Rec Room also offers up Silver Strike, Big Buck Hunter, and two pinball machines, Ripley's Believe It or Not and Iron Man.

For bar-goers that like to use their brains while simultaneously killing brain cells, Manny's Neighborhood Grille (1680 Old Towne Road. West Ashley. 843-763-3908) offers up video trivia on Sunday and Thursday, starting at 8 p.m. Come early to grab a personal trivia machine or sit at the bar and follow the action on the big screen. The best part is that it doesn't matter if you don't know what the GDP of Zambia is or how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Pop. Just raise your hand and order another round.

At the Tattooed Moose (1137 Morrison Drive. Downtown. 843-277-2990), getting in a little physical activity is a must; after all, you're going to need something to keep you awake after downing their insanely decadent duck club. You can either throw some darts or you can play the most popular pinball machine of all time, the Addams Family. Try to hit the blue bookcase for a multiball or rack up the points bouncing around the graveyard. If you are lucky, you might even get a chance to see Thing in action. Just don't tilt the machine or he'll give you the finger. Just kidding.

Big John's Tavern (251 East Bay St. Downtown. 843-723-DIVE) is known for the bras that hang from the ceiling, but brush them aside and make your way to the back for Golden Tee and Big Buck Hunter. They used to have a killer Lord of the Rings pinball machine, but we hear that Gollum stole the damn thing and headed off with his Precious to challenge Saruman for the Middle-Earth pinball wizard crown.

For a side of fish and chips with your bar games, visit O'Brion's Pub and Grille (361 N. Shelmore Blvd. Mt Pleasant. 843-388-9733). The Irish pub is a great place to get a well-poured pint of Guinness and some bangers 'n mash. On Tuesdays, O'Brion's sports a pretty competitive trivia night that draws on the intellect of residents in the surrounding I'On neighborhood. For a more personal test of your mental might, try the Megatouch system. The machine has over 150 games in five different categories (puzzles, strategy, action, cards, and quiz and word) that will entertain and challenge. Play against the computer or challenge your girlfriend after she calls you a dumbass for not remembering her mother's name. Um ... Betty? Doris? Henrietta?

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