A rundown of some spots where players can refine their game

The reasons to want to pass the time playing pinball are manifold. It can be competitive, if you want. Or it can be purely a social exercise. In either case, it's a visceral experience in the real world, with gameplay that exists amid the vagaries of gravity, air and how level the floor is … while always providing enough flashing lights, alert sounds, successes and failures to keep those endorphins popping.

According to John Geiger, International Flipper Pinball Association State Representative for Ohio and one of the co-founders of Arcade Super Awesome, the number of people playing in leagues and in tournaments is growing.

Participation has doubled in the two-plus years since Arcade Super Awesome opened above Yellow Brick Pizza in Olde Towne East, and Geiger estimated about a quarter of the participants are active in one of the other pinball league around town, including at Level One Bar & Arcade on the North Side.

Even if you don't want to play in a league, but just enjoy a game or two of pinball while you're having a drink, there are plenty of places around the city to play the silver ball. Here's a sampling. (For a more comprehensive list, check out pinballmap.com/columbus.)

Arcade Super Awesome

892 Oak St., Olde Towne East


Level One Bar + Arcade

130 Hutchinson Ave., North Side


PINS Mechanical Company

141 N. Fourth St., Downtown


PINS Mechanical Company, Dublin

6558 Riverside Dr., Dublin


BrewDog DogTap

96 Gender Rd., Canal Winchester


Four String Brewing Company

985 W. Sixth Ave., Grandview


16-Bit Bar + Arcade

254 S. Fourth St., Downtown