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

Special Hours During Portland Pinbrawl – Sunday 4/27

Just a few things you should know about our hours on Sunday 4/21 during Portland Pinbrawl:

  • We’ll be closed to spectators until 3pm. If you’re not playing in the tournament, we may not be able to admit you entry until then!
  • Ground Kontrol will be 21+ all day – no minors will be admitted. Sorry, but in order to serve from our bar during the tournament, we have to be 21+ only. If you’re hoping to visit Ground Kontrol on this weekend during all-ages hours, come by on Saturday April 26 between Noon-5pm!
  • Only Portland Pinbrawl tournament players will be admitted upstairs into the pinball mezzanine during the tournament. If you need your pinball fix, you’ll have to wait until the tournament’s over (generally not until later in the evening) or come by Saturday April 26 (or Monday April 27 for Metal Monday!)

If you’re not playing in the tournament, we appreciate your understanding on these few tweaks we have to make in order to host the biggest & best pinball tournament in Portland!

Thanks everyone!

Categories: Arcade News

New in the Arcade: Mario Kart Arcade GP 2 – A Shell of a Good Time!

mario kart gp 2 flyer 1Mario Kart Arcade GP 2It’s a natural fit for the exciting races of Mario Kart to end up in the arcade. Mario Kart game play makes so much sense for the arcade; it’s a wonder why we didn’t see a sit down version sooner!

In any case, when Namco Bandai and Nintendo finally teamed up to release a Mario Kart game for the arcades, it immediately became one of the best racers to hit the scene. While folks are familiar with Nintendo’s kart racing series on home consoles, the action translates perfectly to a competitive, immersive and most of all fun racing experience in the arcade!

Players choose from 13 racers, which include a lot of the classic Nintendo characters and also a few from Namco’s stable, like Ms. Pac-Man and Blinky the ghost. Each track has several power-ups scattered throughout the level, with varying effects. Boost your speed with a Dash Mushroom or a Thunder Cloud (but be careful to pass it on before lightning strikes!), strike your opponents with a Green Shell or a Needle Bomb, or trip them up with a Banana Peel! And if you’re lucky enough to find a Star, it’s easy riding while you’re invulnerable to any attack. The player can also take their picture with Mario Kart GP 2’s on-board camera, and display it onscreen while racing!

The classic Mario Kart game play is intact here, with the heavy item use and course interaction. Each of the game’s 16 racetracks is a colorful, themed experience, showcasing myriad Mario locations. Some of the favorites return such as a Boo’s Mansion course, WaLuigi Stadium, and the dreaded Rainbow Road. Each level is accompanied by commentary relevant to the action, which simulates a live broadcast of the race.

This is the second edition of an arcade Mario Kart racer and only improved on the first! Sitting down with a friend to compete in tried-and-true kart racing is an awesome arcade experience, and not one to be missed!

Indie Game Night: Indie Game Night: Towerfall, Gang Beasts, Speedrunners, Starwhal – Thursday 3/27

UPDATE: Thanks to Hopworks Urban Brewery, we’ll also be serving their limited Galactic Imperial Red Ale during Indie Game Night! Come down and try this ale that features robust caramel malt flavors with NW Centennial and Cascadia hops. Get down here early, because it won’t last long!

Indie Game Night is back! This month we feature four NEW titles!

Towerfall: Ascension [Matt Makes Games]
Gang Beasts [Boneloaf]
SpeedRunners [Double Dutch Games/tinyBuild]
Starwhal: Just The Tip [Breakfall]
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 featuring Towerfall, Gang Beasts, Speedrunners, Starwhal: Just The Tip
WHEN: Thursday March 27th, 7pm-late
COVER: FREE, 21+ only.

Portland Pinbrawl 2014

Portland Pinbrawl 2014

Ground Kontrol’s 6th Annual

Pinball Tournament!

Portland Pinbrawl 2014 - Art by Lee Zeman

Sponsored by Portland Mercury!

On Sunday, April 27th 2014, 128 of the best pinball players from Portland and beyond will once again gather at Ground Kontrol Classic Arcade for Portland’s biggest pinball tournament!

PRE-REGISTRATION IS OPEN! Register NOW! Portland Pinbrawl is capped at 128 players and it usually fills up well before the day of the tournament.

Portland Pinbrawl 2014 takes place Sunday, April 27th. On-site registration (if any slots are available) begins at 10:00am. Tournament begins at 11:00am and ends “when it’s over!”


Ground Kontrol Classic Arcade

511 NW Couch St. Portland, OR 97209

(503) 796-9364

For directions, click here.


Ground Kontrol Classic Arcade is the premier arcade in the Northwest, featuring 26 of the most exciting pinball games and nearly 90 classic video arcade games in a two-level game room.


Our grand prize winner will take home their very own pinball table: Stern’s 1980 classic, Flight 2000!


Cash prizes will be awarded to top finishers!


Players can pre-register online, or register on-site the day of the tournament. Pre-registration is strongly suggested! Read on for further details.


There is a $20 entry fee per participant (plus $1 service charge for online pre-registration). Registration is capped at 128 players. One entry per person is allowed, and no re-entries are allowed after elimination. On-site registration will begin at 10:00am Sunday, April 27th and will close at 10:45am or once we reach the maximum number of registrants. Cash is the only accepted form of payment for on-site registration. An ATM will be available on-site, but we recommend you come prepared with cash. 


Pre-registration guarantees you a spot in the tournament bracket without the hassle of waiting in line. As an added bonus, pre-registrants will receive priority for first-round byes. All remaining first-round byes will be randomly assigned to players with same day registration.


Pre-registrations will be accepted until 12:00pm PST Saturday, April 26th 2014 or until we reach the maximum number of registrants. To pre-register, click here!



As a reminder, all players and spectators must be 21+ years old with a valid ID (valid state driver’s license with photo; valid DMV ID card with photo, name, DOB & physical description; valid passport or valid U.S. military ID card.)

Any player or spectator that does not have valid ID will not be permitted entry.


The tournament will be limited to 128 participants, and spectator entry will be limited by Ground Kontrol’s maximum capacity of 130 persons. Registered participants are guaranteed entry to Ground Kontrol, provided they are 21+ with valid ID. Spectators will not be permitted between the hours of 10:00am and 3:00pm. After 3:00pm, spectators are encouraged to come down and watch the final matches! Admission to the pinball mezzanine will be limited to tournament participants, and play on the pinball machines will be limited to tournament games only.


The full list of tournament rules will be available online soon and will be available for viewing at the registration desk the day of the tournament.


The tournament will be a random bracket placement head to head best two of three double elimination tournament.


This list reflects Ground Kontrol Classic Arcade’s pinball lineup as of March 17th 2014. Games on this list are subject to change at any time and are not guaranteed to be included in tournament play.

On The Floor

  • Addams Family, The
    Attack From Mars
    Champion Pub
    Cirqus Voltaire
    Doctor Who
    Dr Dude
    Indiana Jones: The Pinball Adventure
    Judge Dredd
    Lord Of The Rings
    No Good Gofers
    Pirates of the Caribbean
    Scared Stiff
    Shadow, The
    Simpsons Pinball Party
    Sopranos, The
    South Park
    Star Trek: TNG
    Star Wars Episode 1
    Tales Of The Arabian Nights
    T2: Judgment Day
    Theatre of Magic
    Twilight Zone
    White Water


Need a place to stay? We recommend these nearby hotels who have graciously offered room discounts to Portland Pinbrawl players!

JUPITER HOTEL - 800 East Burnside Street, Portland, OR - (503) 230-9200

From the Jupiter Hotel:

The Jupiter Hotel is a proud supporter of the gaming community and offers a uniquely Portland experience.  Our mid-century hotel with a modern twist offers complimentary wireless internet, complimentary Water Ave Coffee every morning to our guests, unique wall art murals in each room and full chalkboard doors to unleash your inner artists.  The Doug Fir Restaurant and Lounge is on property and is considered one of the tastiest places in Portland for breakfast and happy hours.  Please note that on some summer weekends we do have a two night minimum stay.  We look forward to having you!

To book your room at the special discounted rate starting at $99:

Go to:  res.jupiterhotel.com

Enter : GEEK  into the promo code slot

Book your room!

ACE HOTEL - 1022 SW Stark St, Portland, OR - (503) 228-2277

Simply call and mention “Pinbrawl” when booking your room for a 10% discount! No other discounts or commissions can apply.


From I-5 North: After entering Oregon…

  1. Take exit 302A toward Rose Quarter/City Center
  2. Turn right at N Broadway
  3. Turn left at NW Broadway
  4. Turn left at NW Couch St

From I-5 South: After entering Oregon…

  1. Take exit 299B on the left for I-405 W toward US-26 W/City Center/Beaverton
  2. Merge onto I-405 N
  3. Take exit 2B for Everett St toward I-405 N/Seattle
  4. Merge onto NW 14th Ave
  5. Turn right at NW Everett St
  6. Turn right at NW Broadway
  7. Take the 2nd left onto NW Couch St

Directions provided by Google Maps. To route your own trip, click here.


Street parking and paid parking lots are available. Street parking is metered from the hours of 1pm-7pm on Sundays. If you plan to drive to Ground Kontrol, we recommend you park in the paid lot next to Ground Kontrol or the paid lot on NW Couch Street between 4th and 5th Avenue. Rates vary, but are typically around $5 for all-day parking on Sundays.


Ground Kontrol is located near several public transit lines, including bus and light rail. For schedule and route information, visit TriMet’s website or call (503) 238-RIDE. If you need a cab, call Radio Cab at (503) 227-1212.


All questions regarding Portland Pinbrawl 2014 can be sent to: pinbrawl14@groundkontrol.com. Please allow 24-48 hours for a response.


See you there! Let’s make this great! – Portland Pinbrawl 2013 Organizers and Ground Kontrol Owners & Staff

Categories: Portland Pinbrawl

Pre-Register for Portland Pinbrawl 2014 – And Pre-Order Your Shirt!

Pre-register for Portland Pinbrawl 2014 today! Registration is expected to fill up, and pre-registration is a guaranteed way to ensure you’re on the bracket without having to show up early (or risk missing out altogether.)

Add an awesome limited Portland Pinbrawl 2014 shirt for just $20! We’re printing a small run of commemorative shirts illustrated and printed by Lee Zeman of Mad Pakyderms. If you don’t pre-order your shirt along with your registration you may not get one – so don’t miss out!

Registration package options:

Registration ONLY: $20

Registration and limited-edition t-shirt: $40

NOTE: There is a $1 service charge for online pre-registration.

T-shirts are printed on high quality American Apparel stock in sizes S-3XL. For sizes 4XL, alternate high quality stock will be used. 

To register and order your shirt, complete the below form.

NOTE: All players must be 21 years of age or older.

Registration Only

Full Name

Registration & T-Shirt

Portland Pinbrawl ’14 Registration & T-Shirt – Select Size
Full Name

WHO: You! Portland Pinbrawl is open to players of all skill-levels! (Players must be 21 years of age.)

WHEN: April 27th, 2014. On-site registration and check-in start at 10am, and the tournament kicks off at 11am.

WHERE: Ground Kontrol Classic Arcade in Portland, OR.

WHAT: Pinbrawl is Portland’s biggest pinball tournament. It is held annually at Ground Kontrol, the West Coast’s premier classic arcade, which operates over 60 classic video games and 26 pinball machines.The tournament format is a double elimination bracket and there is a 128-player cap. These spaces always fill up right away, so get there early!

WHY: You like to play pinball, you want to rub elbows with the pinball elite, you are a secret pinball genius and it is time to unleash your skills on the world, or you just like to have fun in a cool place with rad people. Check out coverage of past Pinbrawls in the Willamette Week and the Portland Mercury.

HOW: Show up at Ground Kontrol at 10 am on April 27th. Find an official Pinbrawl tournament organizer (they will make themselves pretty obvious), give them your 20 dollars for registration or check in if you’ve pre-registered, and compliment their haircut and/or sense of fashion. Sign up for Brackelope live to see real-time tournament results and keep track of your and your favorite players’ rankings.

Hope to see you there!

Categories: Events, No Pun Intendo

No Pun Intendo – Stand-Up Comedy Night! Thursday 3/20, 9pm

No Pun Intendo - Art By Brennan ThomeStand-Up Comics & Stand-Up Games!

Join us in Ground Kontrol’s lounge for comedy from some of Portland’s funniest people – and an occasional out-of-town guest or two!

This month, we feature…

Lewis Sequeira
Adam Pasi
Craig May
Zak Toscani
Anthony Lopez

Hosted by Jen Tam!

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 March 20, 9pm.

COVER: $3 at the door. 21+ only.

Indie Game Night: Samurai Gunn Tournament Edition! Thursday 2/27, 10pm

Samurai Gunn TournamentIndie Game Night returns to Ground Kontrol! During our first event last month, one game dominated the evening: the 2D-slash ‘em up, Samurai Gunn. This month, we’re challenging retro Ronin to enter the 8-bit battlefield for our first Samurai Gunn tournament!

Get down to Ground Kontrol at 10pm to sign up. During the sign-up period, we’ll play some casual matches of Nidhogg, the deceptively deep fencing game from Messhoff. We’ll plan to kick off the first Samurai Gunn match around 10:30, depending on number of sign-ups. It’s FREE to play and the top 3 Samurai Gunn players will receive Steam codes for Samurai Gunn from Maxistentialism plus Ground Kontrol gift cards! We’ll also give away 3 codes for Samurai Gunn to random winners, just hang out with us in the lounge to be entered to win.

Special thanks to game wizard Matt Hunter aka Mechlo for sponsoring and helping organize this event and to Maxistentialism for prizes!

WHAT: Indie Game Night: Samurai Gunn Tournament Edition!
WHEN: Thursday February 27 at 10pm. NOTE – Ground Kontrol will be closed for a private event until 10pm.
COVER: There will be a $2 cover for entry to Ground Kontrol as all games will be set to free play. Tournament entry and casual play is FREE. 21+ only, please bring ID!

Categories: Events, No Pun Intendo

No Pun Intendo – Stand-Up Comedy Night! Thursday 2/20

No Pun IntendoStand-Up Comics & Stand-Up Games!

This month’s heartwarming lineup features…

Jordan Casner
Nic Goans
Sean Jordan
Christian Ricketts
Bri Pruett

Hosted by Jon Washington!

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 February 20, 9pm.

COVER: $3 at the door. 21+ only.

Game Over! Football-Free Free Play Party – Sunday 2/2

Want to escape the Big Game but don’t know where to turn? Ground Kontrol’s got you covered! We’re setting all of our amazing arcade games and pinball tables to FREE PLAY for a special event – with no commercial interruptions!

During Game Over: Football-Free Free Play, one flat cover will grant you unlimited gaming across dozens of arcade classics and the biggest and best-maintained pinball selection in the Northwest. Starting at 9pm, DJ Nate C. will spin classic metal tunes. We’ll also be running happy hour food and drink specials at the bar until midnight!

We know many of our customers and fans will be parked on a couch enjoying Super Bowl XLVIII, but for those of you looking for something else to do, park your car or bike on Couch Street and join us!

WHAT: Game Over! Football-Free Free Play Party
WHEN: Sunday, February 2nd. Doors at 5pm.
COVER: Just $5! 21+ only w/ ID.

Categories: Arcade News, Events

Indie Game Night featuring Gravity Gods (First Look!), Samurai Gunn, Nidhogg, Spelunky – Thursday 1/30

Gravity Gods · Samurai Gunn · Nidhogg · SpelunkyGround Kontrol is excited to announce a new night dedicated to indie games! We’re kicking things off with some of our favorite recent indie games along with a hands-on preview of the upcoming game GRAVITY GODS with creator Arman Bohn!

Grab a drink and join us in the lounge for retro-inspired game play with these new classics:

SAMURAI GUNN [Teknopants/Maxistensialism]
More: http://maxistentialism.com/samuraigunn/

NIDHOGG [Messhoff]
More: http://www.nidhogggame.com/

SPELUNKY [Mossmouth]
More: http://spelunkyworld.com/

And get your first chance to play the upcoming game GRAVITY GODS! Creator Arman Bohn will be on hand demonstrating his 4-player Pong-like game inspired by the classic WARLORDS.

It’s FREE to play, so come show your skills or try something new. If you want to see more indie nights at GK, we need you to

show up in full force! With each game supporting 4 players, this is guaranteed to be a night of hectic & hilarious game play that will be a blast to watch, too.

We’ll kick things off at 7pm on Thursday January 30 – see you there!

Special thanks to game wizard Matt Hunter aka Mechlo for sponsoring and helping organize this event!