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Categories: Arcade News

Raiders of the Lost Arcade: Sinistar

Beware! Sinistar lives!Raiders of the Lost Arcade: Sinistar

Fast-paced, gripping and utterly ahead of its time, the 1982 Williams outer-space shooter Sinistar is an early example of what would become known as a “twitch” game. You pilot a lone fighter ship, initially blasting away at drifting planetoids to mine Sinisite Crystals to create Sinibombs while contending with agile Warrior ships.  Meanwhile, Worker ships work to construct a Sinistar nearby.  When the Workers complete the Sinistar, it comes to life with a frightening “Beware, I Live!!”, and comes after you!

Sinistar represented a number of firsts in game design. It was the first game to use stereo sound (in the sitdown version), with two independent left and right sound boards for this purpose. It was also the first to use the 49-way, custom-designed optical joystick that Williams had produced specifically for this game.

Perhaps one of the most challenging Raiders of the Lost Arcade games we’ve featured, Sinistar is here to wreak havoc and put your reflexes to the test if you want to get on the high score leaderboards! Give it a shot at Ground Kontrol today!


• Short-range Sinibombs automatically targets the Sinistar when fired, but can be intercepted by a collision with an enemy Workers, enemy Warriors, or a planetoid.

• A completed but damaged Sinistar can be repaired/rebuilt by the enemy Workers by gathering more crystals, extending its “lifespan” if the player is unable to kill it quickly.

• Your ship can hold up to 20 Sinibombs at a time, a total of 13 bombs are required to destroy a fully constructed Sinistar!

Clash of the Classics: Robotron: 2084 VS Phoenix

CotC: Robotron 2084 vs Phoenix

October has arrived and it’s time for fans of truly classic hardcore games to help us make a tough choice here at Ground Kontrol! This month during “Clash of the Classics”, the relentlessly difficult 1982 Williams action game Robotron: 2084 takes on the 1980 Centuri outer space slide & shoot classic Phoenix!

Many have tried to master Robotron: 2084, but few succeed in beating even a few levels. Created by Eugene Jarvis (Defender, Smash TV) and Larry Demar (Stargate, Blaster), Robotron’s world is one where humans have all but been eradicated by evil robots. You’re humanity’s last hope, fighting seemingly endless waves of enemies while trying to rescue innocent humans before they’re turned into mindless “progs”. The twin-joystick gameplay was not only revolutionary at the time, but it returned in Smash TV and created an entirely new genre of “twin-stick shooters”, recently seen in dozens of console and PC games including the hugely popular Geometry Wars series. Now, the time has come to ask Robotron fans old and new to step up and show us if they want this game to remain fully operational!

Recently introduced as part of our “Raiders of the Lost Arcade” series, Phoenix is an outer space “slide & shoot” similar to Taito’s Space Invaders and Namco’s Galaxian. The original developer of Phoenix is unknown. According to Centuri’s Joel Hochberg, the game was licensed from “a smaller Japanese developer.” Amstar Electronics (which was located in Phoenix, Arizona) licensed the game to Centuri for manufacture in the United States in 1980. Phoenix took the “slide & shoot” concept further than its peers at the time with the introduction of progressive stages of play instead of simply repeating a single playfield over and over with an increasing difficulty level. The Phoenix mothership is one of the first video arcade game bosses to be presented as a separate challenge, before the term “boss” was coined. Phoenix provides a tough challenge to newcomers of the game, but once you’ve taken down your first mothership, it’s easy to get hooked!

Once again, your quarters tip the scales: Choose your favorite game to support, or play them both as much as possible over the next week. Spread the word and invite your friends, too – we want to create new fans for both games and let the people have their say! On Thursday, October 13th, we’ll announce the winner and give a fond farewell to the runner-up as it returns to storage. So, what are you waiting for? October’s Clash of the Classics starts now!

Raiders of the Lost Arcade: Phoenix

Phoenix Ad Art

Rising again from the ashes for the first time in 10 years, look at what we’ve had incubating for all of you space shooter fans…

Phoenix is an outer space “slide & shoot” similar to Taito’s Space Invaders and Namco’s Galaxian, but takes the concept further with the introduction of progressive stages of play instead of simply repeating a single playfield over and over with an increasing difficulty level.

The original developer of Phoenix is unknown. According to Centuri’s Joel Hochberg, the game was licensed from “a smaller Japanese developer.” Amstar Electronics (which was located in Phoenix, Arizona) licensed the game to Centuri for manufacture in the United States in 1980.

The Phoenix mothership is one of the first video arcade game bosses to be presented as a separate challenge, before the term “boss” was coined. Phoenix holds the dubious honor of being one of the most bootlegged and cloned games of all time. The Apple ][ clone was called Falcons, and was one of the most faithful ports of an arcade game to the platform.

We’re proud to present you with a beautifully maintained original Phoenix cabinet for your enjoyment. Play it now before it returns to its incubation chamber once again!

Killer Queen Monthly Mixer Tournament – Sunday 10/2, 7pm

Killer Queen Monthly Mixer TournamentOur monthly Killer Queen Arcade League Night has evolved! We’re hosting casual “mixer” tournaments that are a great opportunity for new players to learn the game and seasoned veterans to mix it up with new teams.

Mixed up teams of five will compete in matches in a Round Robin style. Winner of a coin flip will choose their pick of map or cabinet, and the loser will then make their alternate choice. Maps will alternate every game.

Registration is from 7pm to 8pm SHARP. No names will be taken after 8pm. Once the list is full, team captains will privately pick and meet with their teams. We will allow ~15 minutes for everyone to get situated and organized before the first game will start.

This tournament is designed for people to make new friends in the KQ community! Competition is certainly encouraged, but this is a bit more of a social event. All skill levels are welcome and encouraged! Best of all, playing is completely free.

Special thanks to our sponsor, Not Your Father’s Root Beer from Small Town Brewery!

Killer Queen Monthly Mixer Tournament · Sunday 10/2 & Every First Sunday · 7pm · FREE · 21+ 

RSVP on Facebook!

Categories: Arcade News

Open Regular Hours Labor Day – Monday 9/5

Ground Kontrol Classic Arcade will be open regular hours on Labor DayMonday 9/5. 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.

If you’ve got the day off, come on down! We’re also open late Sunday evening 9/4 and we’ll be featuring Black Sunday with Nate C. spinning the best in heavy music from 9pm-late and our Killer Queen Monthly Mixer at 7pm!

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: 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!