Virtual Tailgating

Because of its presence at everything from backyard barbecues to Browns pregame parties, it seemed the snowy months were just about the only time people stopped playing cornhole in Cleveland.

Then we spotted an electronic version of the bag-tossing game popping up at local bars. Created by Incredible Technologies, the same folks who brought you those ubiquitous “Golden Tee” video game consoles, the “Bags” machines are being bought up by Ohio bar owners faster than anywhere else, says company spokesman Gary Colabuono. After feeding a few dollars into one, we understand why.

Here’s how it works: You get one point for landing on the wood plank, three points for getting the beanbag in the hole and five points for a perfect swoosh. A buck will get you six rounds with four bags each round, and you can face off against 15 of your friends in a single game (as long as they each throw in a buck too).

We first found the game at the Gateway neighborhood Panini’s and topped out with a meager score of 21 — nowhere near the “century club,” which includes just seven members. Much like “Golden Tee,” you’re locked in battle with a nation of players for top score.

The game has become popular among both customers and staff, says Dan O’Donnell, Panini’s assistant manager/server/cook/all-around guru. “One guy who plays cornhole all the time threatened to call off work when we got it just to keep playing,” he says. " style="background: #00B305" />Unlike real cornhole, though, the more alcohol we drank, the worse we got. Besides that cruel fact of hand-eye coordination (and the “Golden Tee”-style ball controller), it’s a heck of a lot like the real game.ItThe game " style="background: #00B305" /> even offers virtual buddies, who get just as annoyed as your real-life friends when you mess up. But, unlike playing in the parking lot, you can’t peg them with a hefty toss. (Yes, we tried.)

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