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Author: Art

Raiders of the Lost Arcade: Rally-X

Rally-XSimple yet colorful, addictive and fun, Namco’s Rally-X first hit Japanese arcades in 1980. Race your lone car through city streets and rack up points, all while avoiding the mounting number of enemies who are out to wreck your car! The game is deceptively easy at first, but it quickly escalates into an adrenaline-filled race against a dwindling fuel tank.

In Rally-X, players use a 4-way joystick to steer a car around a street maze while attempting to gather scattered yellow flags. All flags must be collected before the car’s fuel runs out in order to complete each level. Enemies working against the player are crash-determined red cars, parked cars and rock piles; all of which can cost the player a life! A smoke screen button can be used to temporarily stun the enemy cars, but utilizing it will cost the player valuable fuel. There is a handy radar display that shows the positions of flags and enemy cars, but NOT the rocks, so try to keep your eyes on the road! Naturally, the game is over when the player runs out of lives. Your ultimate goal is to beat the high score, so accumulate points by collecting flags and having leftover fuel at the end of each round!

Rally-X was introduced at the 1980 Amusement Machine Operators of America, amongst a plethora of other hard-hitting arcade games as a title licensed by Midway for American release. Video game experts had predicted Rally-X to be the most popular game at that event, however, Namco’s other maze game had upstaged it all. That game? Pac-Man. Pac-Man’s overwhelming reception and popularity left Rally-X in its shadow, unfairly so!

Give Rally-X another shot at success and play it today at Ground Kontrol!

Bonus Round Free Play Party – Tuesday 8/16, 10pm-close

Bonus Round Free Play Party - Tuesday 8/16 10pm-closeClose out your Tuesday night with Bonus Round Free Play!

From 10pm-close on Tuesday August 16, every arcade game and pinball table at Ground Kontrol will be set to free play. Over 90 games spanning decades of arcade history from the vector classic Asteroids to the indie game Killer Queen, all for one low $3 cover!

Feel like you’re not quite good enough at pinball to sacrifice crucial coinage? Can’t crack the high score on Frogger without a practice game or ten? This is the perfect opportunity to play anything and everything – no quarters necessary!

As always, we’ve got a full bar and food menu with plenty of vegan and gluten-free options, so you can come up with your perfect pairing. Tequila Sunset and Sunset Riders, anyone?

Bonus Round Free Play · Tuesday 8/16 · 10pm-close · $3 cover · 21+ only

Categories: Events, No Pun Intendo

No Pun Intendo featuring Becky Braunstein – Thursday 8/18, 9pm

No Pun Intendo - August 2016Stand-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!

Each month, we feature fantastic comics from Portland & beyond. This month’s lineup:

Becky Braunstein
Neeraj Srinivasan
Harry Riley
Natalie Holt
Maddie Downs

Hosted by Portland’s Funniest Person, Nariko Ott!

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 – Funny Books for Humans – the only all-comedy publisher featuring writers and artists from Adult Swim, The Onion, The Daily Show and Marvel Comics. Pick up their books at your comic book shop of choice, Amazon or direct from http://devastatorpress.com/

Categories: Arcade News

Back in the Arcade: Tempest

TempestNightmare-inspired, unrelentingly difficult, and Lemmy’s favorite game: The 1981 Atari classic Tempest has finally returned to Ground Kontrol!

Considered one of the top 10 arcade games ever released, Tempest stands out in arcades even today. This artistic, highly stylized game is also intelligent and engaging, not to mention appropriately difficult. It was created by acclaimed game designer Dave Theurer after a particularly bad dream in which he envisioned monstrous creatures crawling toward him from a deep hole below. From this, he created the world of Tempest, turning wire-frame shapes into believably unsettling monsters you’re more than happy to send back to whatever portal they crawled out from!

Each level finds you facing down a linear corridor that seems endless, as monsters of various degrees of complexity move towards you, often shooting deadly weapons. The monsters range from the easier “Flippers” — red bow-like shapes that can visibly flip back and forth — to the more dangerous “Flipper Tankers” and the difficult green-spiral “Spikers”. Touching any part of the monsters or their weapons will kill you instantly, so you must avoid all parts of the creatures and try to destroy every foe in order to advance to the next level. Using a rotary controller instead of a traditional joystick, Tempest demands you learn how to navigate the levels quickly, making it another arcade game that only feels right in its original cabinet. The game featured sharp-looking graphics thanks to Atari’s Color-QuadraScan vector technology, and the sound of each laser blast and portal warp further immerses you in this bizarre world.

Originally conceived as a 3D Space Invaders clone called “Vortex”, Tempest’s early prototype wasn’t a hit with Atari’s engineering team, so it was revised. When Dave Theurer came up with the design we know and love today, no one quite knew what to make of it – but they played it anyway, and Tempest became his proudest achievement and a game that’s probably inspired another scary story or two.

Stop in today and play this legendary game today – if you’ve got the nerve!

Clash of the Classics: Smash TV VS Forgotten Worlds

Fans of musclebound men with unlimited firepower and the ability to shoot in any direction, take note: You’ve got a tough decision to make during this month’s Clash of the Classics! One game stays, one game goes, and only your quarters can truly decide.

We’re pitting the 1990 Williams shoot ’em up Smash TV against the 1998 Capcom shoot ’em up Forgotten Worlds! Similar in concept but different in design, both games feature endless waves of enemies, shirtless protagonists, and 360-degree aiming to keep you on your surely-muscular toes.

Smash TV is quite possibly the perfect distillation of action movie excess and game show greed. Obviously inspired by semi-satirical sci-fi classics The Running Man and RoboCop, designer Eugene Jarvis brought the twin-stick-shooter gameplay of his 1982 classic Robotron: 2084 to the 90s with this game that dropped you in a twisted TV experience where you fought for your life in addition to big money and big prizes (“I love it!”). Set in the then-semi-distant future of 1999, up to 2 players were challenged to make their way through a labyrinth of rooms filled with increasingly dangerous (and plentiful) enemies, while collecting as much loot as possible.

Just like Robotron, the controls in Smash TV were deceptively simple for the level of difficulty you’d quickly face. Moving your hero with the left joystick in any direction and firing your weapon with the right joystick in any direction made you feel nearly unstoppable at first, but the first second you’re swarmed, you realize it’s not that simple! Fortunately, power-ups litter each room along with prizes, and playing with a friend not only makes it less difficult but more fun, too. Completing the game wasn’t enough of a challenge for gamers of the 90s – the fabled “Pleasure Dome” teased by the game had to be added after the fact once Williams got word that their game had been conquered but players were still seeking the ultimate reward.

Forgotten Worlds offers less humor and more complicated (arguably better) gameplay. Two soldiers equipped with jetpacks set out to traverse the crumbled remains of the planet in search of the evil god Emperor Bios to give him a piece of their mind (and about a million laser bullets). Blending fantasy tropes and sci-fi stereotypes, you’ll use high-tech weapons to take on all manner of mythical monsters, with five stages and eight bosses to conquer. Along the way, make sure you collect every glowing blue coin you see – it’s Zenny, and you’ll need it to buy power-ups, armor and more at the shops you’ll encounter in your quest!

Capcom made a concerted effort to stand out with the controls for Forgotten Worlds, forgoing traditional attack buttons or joysticks for a unique puck-shaped spinning controller. As with Smash TV, you move your player character with the left joystick. When it comes time to send a flying lizard man to its spectral home, you press down on the button/joystick to fire. Continue to hold down while you rotate, and pressing it rapidly will “megacrush” every foe on the screen, at the cost of precious hit points.

So, which is it: Entertaining television audiences for fortune and freedom in Smash TV, or saving what remains of the world in Forgotten Worlds? You’ve got a week to play your favorite as much as possible and make your choice known. Can’t decide? Play both and see where the coins fall! After Wednesday August 10, we’ll see what game stays and what game goes!

Raiders of the Lost Arcade: Forgotten Worlds

Forgotten Worlds“Emperor Bios, the god of destruction and creator of evil. Eight evil gods he created were destroying every civilization. Destroyed cities turned into ruins called the Dust World. But aura of people’s angry mind created two super warriors to fight against evils.”

A strangely worded narrative from the 1988 promo flyer sends us into straight into the action of Forgotten Worlds! Originally crafted in Japan (thus the slightly lost-in- translation game description and title), this game was the third and last of Capcom’s “Jet-Pack Hero” shooters (following Section-Z and Side Arms Hyper Dyne) and the first to use Capcom’s “CPS1” arcade system that would power dozens of their titles from the late 80s through the early 90s.

Forgotten Worlds can be played by up to two players simultaneously, with each player controlling a futuristic, nameless Marine. The Marines are armed with muscles (lots of muscles), jet-packs and rifles containing unlimited ammo. Player 1’s soldier is equipped with a long-range automatic rifle, while Player 2’s soldier has a short-range wide shot, and your task is to guide the flying space Marines through 9 stages of fast-paced action. Killing an enemy will result in gaining Zenny (Capcom’s in-game currency that appears in several games). Players use Zenny to purchase armor, health, weapon upgrades and tips throughout the game. Weapon power-ups are crucial, with several different effects available to choose from, so don’t miss a chance to enter a Shop! As you traverse the wastelands of Earth now known as the “Dust World”, you’ll encounter daunting battles against evil gods, with the last being none other than the all-powerful Emperor Bios!

This game features a traditional joystick to control your character and a roll-switch spinner that rotates your character in any direction. This allows for incredible multi-directional shooting, a necessity with enemies swarming you from all sides. Pressing down on the roll-switch will fire your weapons; rapidly pressing the roll-switch will result in a Megacrush attack that wipes out all enemies (and sadly, some of your vitality!).

Forgotten Worlds is one of the more creative arcade shooters, standing out at a glance due to its unique controllers and eye-catching graphics featuring detailed sprites and a style that melds more traditional fantasy with futuristic sci-fi. Don’t miss your chance to play this hard-to-find classic in its original form!

Clash of the Classics: Centipede VS Millipede

Clash of the Classics - Centipede VS MillipedeWe’ve given our games a bit of a break from our semi-regular Clash of the Classics challenge, where two games compete to earn the most quarters, with the winner earning a spot on our arcade floor and the loser exiled to storage. Now it’s time for another tough decision: Do we keep a well-known classic, or its more complicated sequel?

Centipede (Atari – 1980)

Centipede is widely considered to be the first arcade game developed with the female player in mind, as well as an all-time top-10 classic. Donna Bailey, one of the only women in the games industry at the time, specifically wanted to develop a game that not only stood out from the crowd, but drew a new group of players to the arcade. Both ladies and gentlemen took to the insect-inspired adventure, with the game’s success continuing from its 1980 arcade debut to ports for Atari’s line of home consoles.  Known for its distinctive pastel graphics, its turbulent soundscape, and the top-notch side art, Centipede is a well-known classic for good reason, and deserves every bit of its enduring fame. Not many trackball games were quite so fast-paced at the time, as Centipede’s control scheme depends entirely on twitch movements and high-speed button mashing. And, while it takes after Space Invaders a little bit, the gameplay here is considered entirely original, spawning clones of its own.

The action starts slowly with the titular centipede descending down the vertical playfield. Any time it hits one of the many mushrooms scattered about it, it turns around and continues towards the player, who is shooting up from the bottom of the screen. The centipede splits when fired upon, and each segment destroyed adds more mushrooms to the playfield, further complicating matters. Additional flea and spider enemies take aim on the player, who must employ speed and accuracy to last any amount of time in the increasingly fast levels! NOTE: Centipede was recently moved upstairs at Ground Kontrol, so don’t worry – it’s not gone yet! Simply head upstairs, take a left, and you’ll find it near Aliens Armageddon.

Millipede (Atari – 1982)

Sequels were as unavoidable in the early days of arcade gaming as they are in modern gaming, and Atari worked fairly quickly to deliver a follow-up to their smash hit Centipede. Employing similar graphics and gameplay as its predecessor, Millipede is noted for being the far more difficult of the two games. One or two players use Atari’s “Trak-Ball” to control the Archer at the bottom of the screen. A single fire button is used to shoot the Archer’s ammo toward the approaching Millipede and its posse of bugs. Careful! One enemy strike and the Archer loses a life. Players must avoid and destroy all segments of the Millipede and other enemies in order to score as many points as possible.

The arrival of Millipede introduced new enemies and features not seen in Centipede. Additions included: inchworms that can slow time, DDT bombs that clear all nearby enemies, swarm waves as bonus rounds. Despite the additional features and more intense gameplay, Millipede did not achieve the same fame as Centipede. However, popular opinion today regards Millipede as one the most challenging and overlooked arcade games of all time!

It’s an age-old debate – what’s better, the sequel or the original? It’s up to you to decide! Each quarter dropped in both games will contribute to its success at remaining in Ground Kontrol’s library. You’ve got until Wednesday 7/20 to play one or both games as much as possible. In a week, we’ll weigh both coin takes and see who stays, and who goes!

CLOSED For a Private Event – Monday 7/11, 6:30-10:10pm

Ground Kontrol Classic Arcade will be closed during the following period for a private event:

  • Monday 7/11, 6:30pm-10:10pm

We’ll re-open at 10:10pm. Please remember, Ground Kontrol is 21+ only after 5pm.

Ground Kontrol is a fantastic place to bring your company for a holiday party, to celebrate a milestone birthday, or throw your wedding reception. If you are interested in renting Ground Kontrol for an event, get more info at our rentals page!

No Pun Intendo featuring Anthony Lopez – Thursday 7/21, 9pm

No Pun Intendo - July 2016Stand-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!

Each month, we feature fantastic comics from Portland & beyond. This month’s lineup:

Anthony Lopez
Shirley Gnome
Timmy Booth
Henry Russell Stoddard
Josh Chambers
Brandon Lyons

Hosted by Nariko Ott!

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 sponsors:

The Devastator – Funny Books for Humans – the only all-comedy publisher featuring writers and artists from Adult Swim, The Onion, The Daily Show and Marvel Comics. Pick up their books at your comic book shop of choice, Amazon or direct from http://devastatorpress.com/

Woodchuck Cider – featuring Gumption™, which pairs the fresh juice of common eating apples with dry cider apples to bring you a bold and unique drinking experience.

CLOSED For Independence Day – Monday 7/4

CLOSED Independence Day - Monday 7/4Ground Kontrol Classic Arcade will be CLOSED for business Monday 7/4 so our games (and our staff) can take a break!

Of course, we’ll be open regular hours Sunday 7/3. We open at Noon and welcome all ages until 4:30pm. At 5pm, the bar opens with happy hour until 7!

We’re also hosting a Killer Queen Monthly Mixer Tournament on Sunday 7/3 at 7pm.

Have a safe and happy Fourth, and we’ll see you soon!