• Open Noon-2:30AM Daily
  • All Ages Admitted Until 5PM
  • 21+ & I.D. Required After 5PM

No Pun Intendo – Stand-Up Comedy Night & MFNW Giveaway – Thursday 8/20, 9pm

No Pun Intendo - AugustStand-Up Comics & Stand-Up Games! Every Third Thursday, No Pun Intendo brings fantastic comedians to our lounge! Plus – tonight, we’re giving away free passes to Musicfest NW and copies of hilarious books from The Devastator!

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

Ben Harkins
Jason Van Glass
Scoot Herring
Caitlin Weierhauser
Anthony Lopez

Hosted by Portland’s Funniest Person 2014, 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 – 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/

All Ages Free Play Party – Back to School Blast! Wednesday 8/26, 11am-5pm

It’s almost time to go back to school, but not before one more All Ages Free Play Party!

Bring the entire family down for a day of Classic Gaming 101 with an A+ lineup of arcade and pinball games, all set to play with no quarters necessary. Our full food menu will be available, too, so take a break with a hot dog, nachos or grilled cheese fixed just how you like it, and cool off after an intense bout of DDR with a root beer float.

We know back-to-school shopping can be expensive, so all we’re asking at the door is $5 per person – and gamers 3 years or younger get in FREE with their parent or guardian’s paid admission!

Refresh your puzzle-solving skills with Tetris Plus, enroll in Xavier’s School For Gifted Youngsters with 6-player X-Men, or travel the world while defending the human race from marauding Martians in Attack From Mars pinball. There’s plenty to learn at the arcade!

Over 90 arcade games and pinball tables, delicious snacks (with vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options), cold soft drinks and house-made cold-brew coffee: It’s a crash course in arcade gaming!

WHAT: All Ages Free Play Party – Back to School Blast!

WHEN: Wednesday, August 26. Doors open at 11am. Minors are welcome until 4:50pm.

COVER: Just $5 at the door! Gamers 3 years or younger get in FREE with their parent or guardian’s paid admission. Access depends on capacity: If we’re full, we’ll have to hold a line at the door, so arrive early!

Raiders of the Lost Arcade: Congo Bongo

Congo BongoThis month, we’re featuring a rarely-seen Sega classic: 1983’s Congo Bongo!

Each of the four levels in Congo Bongo provides some variety to make up a fun, interesting title. While obviously influenced by Donkey Kong, Congo Bongo also draws from Sega’s own Frogger, and arranges it all in a 3D type platformer, with a perspective similar to a game like Marble Madness.

When starting the game, the player is treated to a short cinema of a mischievous monkey pranking our hero with a “hot foot.” This kicks off the gameplay where a vengeful explorer must ascend a mountain ridge, dodging coconuts hurled by the gorilla foe. Smaller monkies, snakes and rhinos join the fray, each of them difficult to dodge. By the fourth stage, the Frogger influence is very obvious, where our hero must traverse a busy stream, populated by logs and hippos. To finish his journey, the player gets revenge, returning the fiery favor from the opening screen.

Difficulty increases as the game progresses, bringing us back to the first screen to start the adventure all over again. Congo Bongo is a playful, amusing title that was early to utilize the isometric perspective, in a time before such a scheme was more common. Fans of Donkey Kong, Frogger, and the colorful classic appeal of Sega’s arcade titles should feel right at home in this wacky jungle adventure!

Categories: Arcade News

New in the Arcade: Run and Gun

Run and GunOnce in while, we have to unexpectedly pull a game from the floor at Ground Kontrol for some much-needed R&R. This week, NBA Jam suffered an on-the-court injury that’s going to take some special attention, so we called in a substitute: The rarely-seen Run and Gun!

The “other” arcade basketball game released in 1993, Konami’s Run and Gun obviously wanted to capitalize on the success of NBA Jam with its American localization of the series known as “Slam Dunk” in Japan. Sure, many gamers grew up with Arch Rivals or Konami’s previous title Double Dribble, but from ‘93 on, it was all about four-player basketball in the arcade!

Run and Gun differs from the more widely-known NBA Jam in a variety of ways while sharing some key similarities. The first and most obvious difference is the camera angle – instead of viewing the court from the side, you’re right in the center looking down toward the hoop, with a 3D effect that immerses you in the action more than the side-scrolling featured in NBA Jam. Sprites are large and detailed, with more complex animations. And, of course, this game is not officially licensed by the NBA. Sure, you can pit convincing facsimiles of the Bulls and the Pistons against each other, but they’re only known as “Chicago” and “Detroit”, respectively. Finally, there’s a hilarious half-time show featuring the “Cheer Girls”!

Then there are some familiar features. Not only is the game fast-paced and straightforward, you’ll hear some strikingly similar sound bites as you land threes and “heat up”, and the music doesn’t stray far from the synthesized R&B or hip hop beats that saturated most everything in the 90s. Rather than feel like a cheap ripoff, Run and Gun has a ton of charm and stands out as an underrated sports game that had no realistic chance against the massive Midway title here in the States, but deserves a handful of quarters all the same.

Pump up your kicks, adjust your mouthguard and step up to Run and Gun while it’s on our arcade floor. You don’t get many chances to drive the lane on Konami’s court, so if you’re a fan, bring some friends down and play this as much as possible!

Categories: Events

LIVE: Random aka Mega Ran, Bag of Tricks Cat, Tonight We Launch & Mark Dago – Thursday 8/27

The mighty Random (aka Mega Ran) returns to Ground Kontrol! We’re helping everyone get ready for Penny Arcade Expo Prime with the official Portland Pre-PAX Party, featuring Random and an amazing group of guests LIVE in our lounge.

One of LA Weekly’s “Five Rappers Who Will Be Big in 2014″, Random’s well-known to both video game fans and fans of independent rap. The first musician officially licensed by Capcom, Random’s “Mega Ran” album unexpectedly became a new moniker for the rapper when it tore through the Internet with its clever rhymes and solid beats inspired by one of the greatest video game franchises of all time, Mega Man. Random hasn’t slowed down, touring consistently, recording tons of songs, playing festivals, and still finding time to smash an arcade here and there!

Random will be joined by Bag of Tricks Cat, Tonight We Launch and a special guest set by Mark Dago. Surrounded by classic arcade games and fueled by a full bar, this is sure to be an all-too-appropriate kickoff to one of the biggest gaming events in the Pacific Northwest: PAX Prime!

WHAT: LIVE – Random aka Mega Ran, Bag of Tricks Cat, Tonight We Launch & Mark Dago

WHEN: Thursday August 27, 8pm

COVER: $5 cover, 21+ only w/ ID

Categories: Bar News, Events

2 Towns Ciderhouse Made Marion Release Party – Monday 8/10

2 Towns Made Marion Release Party

Ground Kontrol Classic Arcade is partnering with 2 Towns Ciderhouse for a seasonally special release night with giveaways from MusicfestNW and Red Bull Sound Select!

Try the limited-release Made Marion marionberry cider, made with fresh-pressed Northwest apples and plenty of Oregon-grown marionberries. Ripe berry flavors and a crisp apple bite combine with a rich ruby color to make this cider a delicious way to celebrate the bounty of Oregon!

After you’ve enjoyed a bottle of Made Marion before they’re sold out, we’ll also have the easy-drinking OutCider. Like the rugged outdoors of the Northwest, the OutCider is raw and unfiltered. Fresh-pressed Northwest apples become a crisp, refreshing drink!

Friendly faces from 2 Towns will be on hand for a raffle and surprise giveaways, including a pair of 3-day passes to MusicfestNW​ and VIP tickets to Red Bull Sound Select​ shows! You’ll want to get here early to snag a cold Made Marion, and stick around to see if you’re a winner. Plus, at 8pm, DJ Nate C. will step behind the decks to spin 80s hits, anthem rock, hair metal, movie soundtracks and good time retro fantasy fun!

Local craft cider, classic arcade games, 80s hits and free prizes – Monday nights don’t get much better than this! Join Ground Kontrol and 2 Towns and beat the Monday blues with the delicious ruby-red Made Marion marionberry cider!

Clash of the Classics: Return of the Jedi VS. Metal Slug

Just when you thought it was safe to put away your quarters, a new challenger arrives!

We’re asking you to decide the fate of two arcade icons in a head-to-head battle in what’s surely one of our toughest Clash of the Classics yet.

In previous COTC challenges, we’d typically see a well-known game up against a lesser-known title. The odds generally favor the game with the bigger name, but of course there’s always room for a surprise. This time around, though, we’ve got two big games from two very different eras: The 1984 Atari sci-fi shooter Star Wars: Return of the Jedi and our custom Metal Slug multi-game cabinet, spanning 4 titles from SNK’s over-the-top military action game, from the 1996 original to 2003’s Metal Slug 5.

While Return of the Jedi was obviously based on the third film in the original Star Wars trilogy, it was actually the second Star Wars game released in arcades by Atari, beating The Empire Strikes Back by a year. Return of the Jedi is also a unique entry in that trilogy with its detailed raster graphics and isometric gameplay. At first glance, it’s more recognizably a Star Wars game than the super-stylized vector shooters that attempted to capture the experience of piloting an X-Wing through iconic Star Wars moments. However, the gameplay isn’t quite as intuitive, and “Return…” demands precise timing to navigate quick-moving levels where you’re blasting away while avoiding obstacles like fallen trees or conduits atop the Death Star. The sights and sounds do a great job of enhancing the experience, and it’s a game that draws you in with colorful graphics and recognizable audio cues, then challenges you to keep up with the action!

It’s hard to imagine an arcade post-1996 without Metal Slug: Produced by SNK for the Neo-Geo arcade system, it was easy for arcade operators to drop the cartridge in a cabinet, but tough to justify taking it out. The appeal was immediate – combining refined run ‘n gun gameplay with detailed sprites, usable vehicles, endless waves of enemies and plenty of humor; Metal Slug is like a love letter to 80s American action b-movies with a decidedly Japanese flavor. Designed to reward skill with less cheap hits than many quarter-consuming shooters and plenty of power-ups, players kept the quarters dropping to see what the game could possibly throw at them next. And when the action’s maybe too intense, a technical limitation offers a bit of relief – if there are too many enemies on screen, things slow down just a bit while you carefully clear a path to the next hostage, prize-containing crate or high-powered tank. One of SNK’s most successful franchises ever, Metal Slug’s has eight arcade entries and several console spinoffs and ports in the chamber. It’s a blast, but it’s even better with a partner!

Two great games that made an impact over twenty years apart, and they’re still going strong at Ground Kontrol today. Which one will reign supreme, and which one will return to storage to await its next shot at glory? There’s only one way to find out: Play your favorite as much as possible, and invite your friends to join you. The latest Clash of the Classics is on!

All Ages Free Play Party – Wednesday 7/29, 11am-4:50pm

All Ages Free Play PartyHere at Ground Kontrol, it’s important for us to preserve the classic arcade experience for all ages. Even if you didn’t grow up with them, classic arcade games like Ms. Pac-Man or Galaga are still a lot of fun! Since we’re a bar at night and most younger gamers go to school during the day, our twice-monthly free play parties typically exclude those under 21. But it’s summer, so what the heck: We’re setting all of our games to free play all day long on Wednesday, July 29!

Come down to Ground Kontrol on the last Wednesday this month and play over 90 arcade games and pinball tables, all set to play with no quarters necessary. We’ll also have our entire food menu on offer, so you can take a break for a fully-loaded basket of Killer Nachos, or reward yourself after conquering The Simpsons arcade game with an ice-cream sundae with your choice of toppings. Be sure to gather some friends and try the world’s only 10-player arcade game, Killer Queen Arcade, sure to become your new favorite multiplayer arcade experience!

The doors open at 11am, a full hour early, and we welcome all ages until 4:50pm. Why 4:50pm? Well, we need to be ready to open our bar at 5pm and kick off the evening Free Play Party, so we’re allowing time for the transition. The entry fee is just $5 at the door, so you’ll be able to pack in a ton of gaming value for a single Lincoln!

WHAT: All Ages Free Play Party
WHEN: Wednesday, July 29. Doors open at 11am, minors welcome until 4:50pm. The 21+ evening free play party starts at 5pm.
COVER: Just $5 at the door! NOTE: Separate entry fee for both Free Play Parties. If you’re in the arcade before 5pm and wish to keep playing, you’ll need to exit, pay $5 and show valid ID proving you’re 21 years of age or older!

Indie Game Night: Duck, Duck, Minesweeper Edition – Thursday 7/30

Dhttp://groundkontrol.com/wp-admin/edit.phpuck GameManaCollectHere at Ground Kontrol, we’re obviously big fans of making gaming a social experience. Even if you’ve got your eyes solely on the Ms. Pac-Man high score or you prefer to play pinball solo, being around other fans of arcade gaming is essential to the experience. To that end, we try to feature some games that you can absolutely play at home, but are more fun with friends and a few drinks! This month, Indie Game Night focuses on two recent releases: The fast-paced feather-flying Duck Game, and the Minesweeper-inspired puzzle battle ManaCollect!

Duck Game (Landon Podbielski / Adult Swim Games)
Enter the futuristic year of 1984, an age where ducks run wild in a frantic battle for glory. Blast your friends with Shotguns, Net Guns, Mind Control Rays, Saxophones, Magnet Guns, and much, much more. Think Adult Swim does Smash Bros.!

ManaCollect (Tagizen Clock / Fruitbat Factory)
ManaCollect is an action packed take on the classic Minesweeper as an action/puzzle game. Two contestants compete on a grid based arena to collect hidden mana by following numbered hints and unleash special attacks to drain their opponents mana.

Join us in our lounge as we explore the often retro-inspired world of independent games with your host Rich Lau! As always, it’s totally free to play – you might just find a new favorite game, and make a few friends while you’re at it!

WHAT: Indie Game Night – Duck, Duck, Minesweeper Edition

WHEN: Thursday July 30, 7pm-late.

COVER: No cost to play! 21+ only.

Raiders of the Lost Arcade: Metal Slug Multi-Cabinet

multislug-IG-promoThe fantastic Metal Slug series is one of the highlights of the Neo-Geo platform, and one of the best run and gun games around! Metal Slug has a distinctive style to it, mixing a fun, cartoonish flair with some surprisingly graphic violence, and a persistent sense of military parody. There are seven entries in the lineup, with a few remakes, console and handheld ports mixed in for good measure. Ground Kontrol has arranged the best four Metal Slug titles into a Neo-Geo cabinet filled to the brim with comical warfare! Below are some details for each of the games available in our rapid-fire collection:

Metal Slug (1996): This is the original title, and the one that introduced most of the Metal Slug tropes that would stick around for the rest of the series’ run. Players run and gun through a classic jungle war setting, rescuing POWs and upgrading weapons along the way. The ability to jump in a tank (the titular Metal Slug) was introduced here in the very beginning, and is an awesome addition to the action!

Metal Slug X (1999): Metal Slug 2 was a good game, but far from perfect, suffering from some slowdown issues (that admittedly can give you a chance to breathe while the screen is full of enemies and action). Metal Slug X is a remake of 2 that fixed these problems, and upgraded that good title into a truly great one. Here, we’re introduced to a science-fiction influenced theme, along with a few new weapon upgrades and a ramped-up difficulty. Also introduced in this title are special status effects a player can be afflicted with – certain items will afflict the player with the detrimental “mummy” or “fat” modes!

Metal Slug 3 (2000): The military from the original title and the martians from the 2nd team up for another wacky installment of Metal Slug, this one a true favorite among fans. Introduced here are a host of new vehicles, some updated weapons, and a system of branching paths that really adds to the replay value. Each path has its own difficulty level, and coming back to try them all is a great way to take on the variety found in Metal Slug 3.

Metal Slug 5 (2003): Metal Slug 5 pits the heroes against the Ptolemaic Army, who have stolen a disc containing secrets of the Metal Slug project. You can take them on with three new vehicles, including the Slug Gunner, a mech-like vehicle that can even punch enemies in close-combat or transform into a tank! The tone of Metal Slug 5 is less humorous than the rest of the series, with an emphasis on challenging gameplay. But don’t worry – even when you’re facing a steady stream of bullets, try the new slide-dash maneuver, allowing you to travel under many projectiles while shooting in a move that would make John Woo proud.

Get down here and give ’em heck in one or all of these action-packed arcade shoot ’em ups!