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Categories: Arcade News

Happy Birthday, Donkey Kong!

Donkey KongVideo gaming’s angriest ape turned hairy hero is 33 this month! On July 9, 1981, Donkey Kong stomped into arcades and challenged players with a seemingly simple question: “How High Can You Get?”

Turns out, advancing to the top of each deviously designed stage was not just about climbing ladders: Your protagonist, Jumpman (who later became Mario), also has to dodge rolling barrels, fireballs, wrenches and even more construction-zone chaos!

Donkey Kong’s at-times maddening difficulty inspired one of the most well-known arcade rivalries of all-time between Billy Mitchell and Steve Wiebe, documented in “King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters”. The documentary skyrocketed Donkey Kong’s popularity and boosted classic arcade awareness, too. Years later, Donkey Kong would receive another unexpected wave of recognition when Mike Mika hacked the original NES game to swap the roles of Jumpman and Pauline – now it was Pauline’s turn to rescue Jumpman from DK’s clutches!

Ground Kontrol’s Clay Cowgill took Mike Mika’s hack and applied it to the arcade original, enabling Ground Kontrol to become the first arcade to operate Donkey Kong: Pauline Edition! We’ve still got this special version on the floor today, so swing by and play it today!

Raiders of the Lost Arcade: Dragon’s Lair

Dragon's LairDragon’s Lair is an essential piece of arcade history, and a fond memory for anyone who ever played it. Upon its release, it was a very memorable game, to say the least. In a time when arcade games were the cutting edge of video games, everyone was used to the kinds of graphics you’d see in a Pac-Man or Defender-style game. But when Dragon’s Lair arrived, with its totally unique cartoon-that-you-play mechanic, gamers were blown away! Unfortunately, because of its laserdisc technology that allowed the hand-drawn graphics to spring to life, original cabinets of Dragon’s Lair did not have a long life span, and for most people Dragon’s Lair exists only in memory. Ground Kontrol figured out how to get one working, though!

The classic adventure sees players in control of Dirk the Daring, a chivalrous knight who always appears to have a bit of a headache. Using the single joystick and attack button, players take visual cues and time their moves just right to keep Dirk on the correct path, away from countless dangers. There is some amount of memorization involved, but being able to run through Dragon’s Lair without dying is a certain distinction few players can honestly brag about.

The Don Bluth Company is responsible for much of the game’s existence, and supplied all of the animation. Other great efforts from that company include the films “The Land Before Time” and “An American Tail”. That distinctive animation style is on full display here, with a fun, personality-filled medieval theme.

Whether you’re re-living precious Dragon’s Lair memories or stepping into Dirk’s shoes for the first time, this is a rare opportunity to play this important – and most importantly, FUN – game!

Indie Game Night: Hotline Miami Edition – Thursday 7/31

Hotline MiamiThis month, we pay tribute to the stylish and visceral action game Hotline Miami!

Compete in a high-score challenge, costume contest or both and you could win a FREE download key for the original game or the upcoming sequel, Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number thanks to Devolver Digital!

Hotline Miami and Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number were developed by Dennaton Games and published by Devolver Digital.

More on Indie Game Night:

We live in a golden age of independent game development and Portland needs a central event to showcase these games! Many games are being made to allow several people in the same room to face each other in a fun, friendly, inviting, and community driven way. Ground Kontrol Classic Arcade and musician/games writer Matt Hunter have taken up the call!

Each last Thursday of the month, Matt will host an event with the help of Ground Kontrol Classic Arcade which will showcase independently developed multiplayer games for folks to play for FREE with other patrons. Games include 2-4 player death-match, experimental, and high score races from developers from all over the world as well as local developers. We plan on hosting game-themed nights, tournaments, developer spotlights, and much more! A gaming community is far too important to let go stagnant and this is the hub we need to unify everyone who loves games of all kinds.

Above all else, we want a fun experience for those who are familiar with games as well as those who are interested in a welcoming introduction. The games we will be showing will be basic to learn but tough to master. Only the highest quality concepts get featured. We have the tough job of researching the best indie games out there and playing these games for hours to filter out what could work – and what doesn’t!

Come join us! It’s free and a great place to try out some new games while testing your mettle against other players!

Ground Kontrol serves a full bar and food menu nightly, and is 21+ only after 5pm.

WHAT: Indie Game Night: HOTLINE MIAMI Edition
WHEN: Thursday July 31st, 7pm-late.
COVER: FREE, 21+ only.

No Pun Intendo: Stand-Up Comedy Featuring Bri Pruett – Thursday 7/17

No Pun IntendoStand-Up Comics & Stand-Up Games! Every Third Thursday, No Pun Intendo brings fantastic comedians to our lounge! Plus – video game competitions between teams of audience members with fabulous prizes!

This month, we’re featuring…

Daniel O’Connell
Andie Main
Sean Jordan
Caitlin Gill
Bri Pruett

Hosts: Raishawn Wickwire and Steven Wilber

Just $3 at the door to support local comedy at your favorite arcade-slash-bar! Show starts at 9pm. It’s 21+, so bring your I.D.!

We’d like to thank our sponsor The Devastator – The Comedy Magazine For Humans – featuring writers and artists from Adult Swim, The Onion, The Daily Show and Marvel Comics. You can get an issue at your comic book shop of choice, Amazon or direct from devastatorquarterly.com.

WHAT: No Pun Intendo – Stand-Up Comedy Night!

WHEN: Thursday, July 17th at 9:00pm.

COVER: $3, 21+ only w/ I.D.

Categories: Arcade News

New in the Arcade: Time Crisis 2

Time Crisis II FlyerNamco broke ground and really innovated with the original Time Crisis. Though there have been gun games as long as there have been arcades, the ideas in Time Crisis really introduced some new, entertaining elements to just plain shooting at stuff. As implied in the name, the player is under a bit of time constraint, as a countdown timer makes everything a hurry. More time can be earned by clearing checkpoints and accomplishing missions quickly. But the real trademark to Time Crisis gameplay is the foot pedal at the base of the cabinet. With it, players can duck behind cover or hide behind corners to avoid enemy fire, choosing when to jump out and shoot. Time Crisis II introduced two player game play, with a cooperative mode so friends can enjoy the bullet-ridden mayhem!

The aesthetic of the Time Crisis series is notoriously cheesy, but embraced among fans. The action movie tropes at play here are quite deliberate, and well-suited to the theme. Time Crisis II sees a pair of secret agents firing away in an effort to stop an evil corporation from launching a military satellite. For an action game, it’s rather plot heavy, and the players are treated to cinematic cutscenes and rough dialogue.

Time Crisis II is one of the best arcade shooters ever released, and we’re proud to finally add this massive cabinet to our lineup. Take a break and play it today, and bring a friend – with two players, it’s even better!

CLOSED For Independence Day – Friday 7/4

Ground Kontrol Classic Arcade will be CLOSED for business Friday July 4 so our staff can celebrate the holiday and our games can take a break, too!

We’ll be open late Thursday night and we’ll resume normal hours Saturday July 5 at Noon, so come on down and get your pinball fix before you spend a (well-deserved) day off with family and friends!

We hope you have a safe and happy Fourth!

pictured: Pac-Man Sparkler Art by Carlton Torpin

Categories: Arcade News

New in the Arcade: World Cup Soccer Pinball

World Cup Soccer“GOOOOOAAAAAALLLL!!!!”

World Cup Soccer is a sought-after, entertaining machine from the always-inspired designer John Popadiuk. Popadiuk is also responsible for such greats as Tales of the Arabian Nights, Theatre of Magic, and Cirqus Voltaire. In World Cup, the 1994 soccer championship games were well-commemorated with an accessible, rewarding table that just about anyone feels comfortable playing.

Right away, the player will notice the giant spinning soccer ball, just to the right of the main playfield. Contact with this object will cause the ball to veer off unpredictably, and adds an element of randomness to the game. At the back of the field is a goal, guarded by a moving goalkeeper, and the player can repeatedly land this satisfying shot for big points. The trademark Magna-Save feature allows the player a chance to rescue a ball doomed for draining, by quickly hitting the separate Magna-Save button. Doing this requires the lighting speed of a goalie, but is an excellent way to keep a good ball going. In addition, the ramp game in World Cup is particularly epic, and really pits the player against gravity.

Beautifully arranged with custom green and purple lighting, Ground Kontrol’s well-maintained copy of World Cup plays particularly well, good enough for the most discerning pinhead! Kick it at Ground Kontrol with a game or two today!

Spaceteam Admiral’s Challenge Tournament – Sunday 6/29, 6pm

Sleeping Beast Games has launched a new campaign to release two follow-up games to the smash iOS/Android hit Spaceteam and they need your help!

Take part in the first-ever worldwide Spaceteam tournament, the Spaceteam Admiral’s Challenge, and compete for global high scores while unlocking special bonuses – and help spread the word about the new Kickstarter campaign!

Get down to Ground Kontrol by 6pm to sign up for this FREE tournament. Bring your iOS or Android device fully charged and get ready to stave off your untimely demise as long as possible. We’ll be giving away Ground Kontrol gift certificates and other prizes TBA to the top players of the evening!

Stick around after the tournament for Ground Kontrol’s Video Game Quiz Show, the only trivia night in town that’s exclusively about video games – and win more stuff!

Good luck!

Ground Kontrol serves a full bar and food menu after 5pm, so this is a 21+ event. Check out the Spaceteam Admiral’s Club Kickstarter and support the relaunch.

Special thanks to Mink, Kyle Jones, Will Lewis and Portland Indie Game Squad!

WHAT: Spaceteam Admiral’s Challenge Tournament

WHEN: Sunday, June 29th at 6pm. Stick around for Ground Kontrol’s Video Game Quiz Show at 9!

COVER: No cover! 21+ only.

Portland Beer Week: Ninkasi Presents SLEIGH’R Rock Band – Tuesday 6/10, 8pm

Ninkasi-SleighrAnother awesome Portland Beer Week event at Ground Kontrol!

We’re partnering with Ninkasi Brewing to bring you the extremely limited, extremely delicious Barrel-Aged Sleigh’r Dark Doüble Alt Ale along with the summer favorite IPA, Maiden the Shade!

These beers pair perfectly with classic metal tracks like Slayer’s “Raining Blood” or Iron Maiden’s “Run To The Hills”, which will be available to play along with thousands of other songs in Ground Kontrol’s massive Rock Band library!

Once these beers are tapped, they won’t last long, so get down here early to get your fill and put in a song request for Rock Band Tuesday. It’s just $1 to register and $1 per song!

WHAT: Ninkasi Presents SLEIGH’R Rock Band

WHEN: Tuesday June 10, 8pm-late

COVER: $1 to register for Rock Band and $1 per song request. 21+ only!

Portland Beer Week: Oakshire Brewing Arcade Tournament – Thursday 6/5

Oakshire BrewingCome to Ground Kontrol for a special Portland Beer Week event with Oakshire Brewing!

Oakshire’s inviting you to compete in several arcade game tournaments to win Oakshire swag and Ground Kontrol credit!

Pac-Man, NBA Jam, Mario Kart Arcade GP 2, and Pac-Man Battle Royale will all be featured. Choose one or more than one, just be ready to show your skills. Toast your wins or ease your pain with special Oakshire brews available in cans and on draft tonight only!

Sign-ups start at 7pm, and we’ll kick off tournaments as we reach enough players for each game. We’ll hold raffle giveaways, too, so everyone has a chance to win!

WHAT: Oakshire Brewing Arcade Tournament – part of Portland Beer Week

WHEN: Thursday, 6/5 – Starts at 7pm.

COVER: No cover! 21+ only.