Ground Kontrol is the West Coast’s premier classic arcade. We preserve and celebrate video gaming’s “golden age” by operating over 60 classic video games and 27 pinball machines, feature a full-service bar after 5PM, host DJs, comedy shows, trivia nights, game tournaments, and Rock Band karaoke, and are available for public and private event rentals.
For a list of upcoming events, see our Events page.
Play a Show at Ground Kontrol!
Ground Kontrol is currently booking DJs only. If you’d like to DJ at Ground Kontrol, email email@example.com with a link to an original mix. We’ll check it out and contact you if we’re interested!
Please do not solicit us to play a live show! If and when we begin accepting live show requests, we’ll let you know!
Ground Kontrol was founded in 1999 by two record store employees who loved classic video games. In 2003, five lifelong pinball and video game fans joined up and purchased the arcade, moving it to bigger and better digs in Portland’s historic Old Town/Chinatown neighborhood the following year.
2011 Remodel – GK “3.0″
A few years ago we remodeled our interior to add a kitchen, a lounge area with lighted tables, and redecorated restrooms; see photos and a work diary on the “GK 3.0″ page.
Advertising and Solicitation Policy
Ground Kontrol’s mission is to provide a classic arcade experience in a comfortable, safe and fun environment. We ask that our patrons leave their politics at the door, and refrain from soliciting goods or services to or from other patrons. Any advertising, signage, flyers, clothing or visible accessories of a promotional nature must be approved by management and ownership, and submitted for review no less than 24 hours in advance of presentation or distribution in our facility. Ground Kontrol reserves the right to refuse service to anyone that refuses to respect our policy.
Art Santana, Promotions Manager
p: (503) 796-9364
News clippings from local, regional and national press.
Photos of some of the celebrities who’ve visited GK!
Frequently Asked Questions
Are minors allowed in your arcade?
All ages are welcome at Ground Kontrol Classic Arcade from Noon-4:50pm daily. We begin checking IDs at 4:30pm, and can only admit those 21+ with valid ID from 4:30pm-close. Our bar opens at 5pm for alcohol service.
Is there an entry fee? Do the games take coins or tokens? How much do they cost?
There’s rarely an entry fee, except for special events, our twice-a-month free play parties, and a small cover during peak hours on Friday & Saturday nights (usually 8PM-midnight, sometimes earlier or later). Most video games cost a quarter, most pinball machines and a few video games cost two quarters (US, not Canadian!).
How long has Ground Kontrol been open?
Ground Kontrol opened in mid-1999 at its original location on 610 SW 12th Avenue. A second location was opened on SE Hawthorne in April, 2000, but closed less than a year later. Ground Kontrol moved to its current location at 511 NW Couch St. in October, 2004.
Are you hiring? How do I get a job at Ground Kontrol?
We very rarely have job openings, because we have very low staff turnover. When we do, we like to hire people we already know. Your best bet is to spend a lot of time at Ground Kontrol, get to know the employees and owners, and let your love for arcades and gaming culture speak for itself.
Why don’t you open a chain of Ground Kontrols? I’m from out-of-town, and there’s nothing like Ground Kontrol in my home town!
If we could clone ourselves, we would! Ground Kontrol is a unique business, as you may have noticed, and it takes a rare and unusual mix of skills to keep it going. As such, it’s not a business that lends itself to franchising.
I want to open a business like Ground Kontrol – what advice can you give me?
Our CEO wrote this missive on the subject. Please read it.
Can I shoot photos @ Ground Kontrol?
Yes, as long as you don’t disturb other customers. If you need special lighting and/or staged scenes, Ground Kontrol can be rented for photo and movie shoots. Ground Kontrol’s original location was featured in The Comedians of Comedy!
How did you choose what games Ground Kontrol has? Why don’t you have my favorite game?
Ground Kontrol’s games are a mix of ones the owners love and ones our customers love and have requested. But we don’t have every game we love, for a variety of reasons. If we don’t have your favorite, then please leave a suggestion that we get one. If we get enough suggestions, we’ll make an effort to get your game!
Do you sell your arcade games?
Yes, we occasionally have games for sale. If there’s a particular game you’re interested in, leave your name and number with the attendant. Because it’s getting more and more difficult to find games in good condition, we may not want to sell the game you want. But it won’t hurt to ask. Please don’t ask for a price list, though!
Do you rent your arcade games?
Very rarely. Due to the difficulty and risk involved in moving games, you’d have to make us an offer we can’t refuse.
Who repairs your arcade games and pinball tables?
We do! Ground Kontrol’s owners have all been tinkering with electronics since they were teenagers. We also have employees who we’ve trained to repair games.
Can you repair my arcade game, pinball table, etc.?
Sorry, no. We’ve got our hands full keeping Ground Kontrol’s 90+ games in peak working condition. If you need help with your arcade game, contact the following:
- Arcade Games and Pinball Machines: Tom Peter, The Amusement Doctor – http://www.amusementdoctor.com/
- Pinball Machines: Curt Gardner, Portland Pinball Repair – http://www.portlandpinballrepair.com/
I don’t see my question here – how can I get it answered?
Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.