Best Place to Light One Up - 2004
Lyons Classic Pinball
Ding! Ding-ding! (Bump.) Ding! Ding-ding! If you ever walked into a pinball arcade going full-bore in the late '70s, you'd know the sound immediately, because there's nothing like it. Unlike the robotic Pacman and its cavalcade of increasingly sophisticated computerized offspring, pinball is a game rooted in physicality: You grind your hips into the machine, play rough with it, guide it with your hands like a horse, moving the silver ball -- ding, ding-ding -- from bumper to bumper, watching it elide like quicksilver through a mysterious maze, points amassing. The epitome of the age came on the edge of pinball's ruin: Bally's Xenon, a liquid being who cooed at you -- "Xenon" -- in a whispery, come-hither female voice, staring at you coldly yet salaciously from her bitchin' black-glass frame. Oh, to have her back again. The hell of it is, you can: Lyons pinball freaks Kevin and Carole Carroll have thirty pinball machines, including Xenon, at your disposal on any given Saturday night at their Lyons Classic Pinball, a smoke-free throwback arcade where you can share your memories with a new crop of kids -- your own. Unglue yourself from that computer screen and try it sometime. Bring quarters and an urge to get physical.