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

YAS (Killer) QUEEN: Free Play Party & Charity Event – Sunday 11/29, 5pm

YAS (Killer) QueenGround Kontrol is teaming up with 2 Towns Ciderhouse for a special free play night and Killer Queen tournament featuring their limited Prickle Me Pink cider and benefiting Outside In!

With cold, crisp weather settling in, it’s the perfect time to enjoy a craft-brewed cider while warming yourself in the glow of your favorite arcade games and pinball tables. While we host two popular free play parties every month, the chance to feature 2 Towns’ limited-edition Prickle Me Pink cider and raise money for Outside In was too good to pass up!

Prickle Me Pink is a brand-new, super-limited seasonal cider selection crafted from 100% fresh-pressed NW apple juice and California whole Prickly Pear. The cider leads with aromas of fig nectar, watermelon, and an unbelievable fuchsia color derived solely from the prickly pear. The cactus fruit’s flesh is naturally bright pink, with a spiny exterior that makes it tougher than most fruits, and the result is a cider that tastes like fresh watermelon without too much sweetness at a 6% ABV. We’re lucky to get some of the last bottles around for this event, so don’t wait to try it!

This event will feature a special tournament on the world’s only 10-player arcade game, Killer Queen, honoring the true queens of our local scene. The game has a strong following in Portland and beyond, and this tournament will be organized and run by some of the most dedicated KQ ladies in Portland! All are welcome, but both casual and veteran female players are strongly encouraged to enter this free tournament and win prizes from Ground Kontrol, 2 Towns Ciderhouse and The Hollywood Theatre! Those who aren’t feeling competitive but perhaps are feeling lucky can also enter our charity raffle for just $1 per ticket!

Getting in is easy: Show up wearing predominantly pink and you’ll only pay $5 plus you’ll get a special raffle ticket, free! If you’re not in pink, it’s still a good deal at $10. Keep in mind we’ve got a full bar, so Ground Kontrol is 21+ after 5pm.

A portion of the evening’s proceeds will benefit Outside In, who has been providing much-needed services to homeless youth and other marginalized people in the Portland area since 1968. Outside In helps provide housing, employment, counseling, meals, medical care and creative outlets along with much-needed medical care with over 21,000 visits each year from the most vulnerable members of our community. $2 of every cover, $1 from each sale of Prickle Me Pink cider and every raffle ticket sale will benefit Outside In and help them provide services, especially during the colder winter months.

Free play on every game, a delicious limited-edition cider, and a tournament all for a good cause: YAS (Killer) QUEEN is the perfect excuse to extend your holiday weekend just one more night!

YAS (Killer) QUEEN – Free Play Party & Charity Event · Sunday 11/29 · 5pm-close · $5 if you’re in pink, $10 if not · 21+ only

CLOSED for Thanksgiving – Thursday 11/26

Ground Kontrol Classic Arcade will be CLOSED Thursday 11/26 so our staff can enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends, and our games can take a break!

We’ll re-open Friday 11/27 at Noon for regular business. All ages are welcome Noon-4:50pm, and we’re 21+ only with full bar service after 5pm!

We wish you a safe and happy Thanksgiving holiday!

Raiders of the Lost Arcade: Astro Blaster


Astro BlasterPilot your lone Blaster through enemy sectors shooting down wave after wave of glowing, shifting alien ships in the rarely-seen Sega/Gremlin classic, Astro Blaster from 1981!

Answer the game’s call for fighter pilots, and put your quarter in to save the galaxy. Don’t hesitate! You must quickly destroy several formations, fly through the outer asteroid field and dock with the mother ship before fuel reserves run out. Aim carefully, too: your ship’s laser temperature increases with each firing and can temporarily overheat after too many wasted shots.

To aid you in battle, your ship is equipped with Warp drive that temporarily slows down enemies and their weapons for easier targeting, and a speaking computer that audibly updates you on fuel status, laser temperature, seconds of Warp time remaining and other conditions throughout play. Earn secret bonuses by meeting conditions like not wasting a single shot, destroying all enemies before they leave the screen, or docking with the mother ship without using movement controls. There are more hidden bonuses to find, too!

Astro Blaster is one of the earliest shoot ’em ups, coming out after Space Invaders and Galaxian but predating Galaga. It scored “best video game speech” in several gamers’ magazine polls of the time, and its sound effects and synthesized speech are still impressive today! Atari gamers may remember a stripped-down version called “Megamania”, but this cabinet is the only way to experience this underrated shooter in its original form!

Clash of the Classics: RoadBlasters VS. Bust-a-Move

This month, two very different games face off in our “Clash of the Classics” competition for a spot on our arcade floor: The post-apocalyptic action-racer RoadBlasters, and the bright & bubbly puzzle game Bust-a-Move!

The action is simple in Atari’s 1987 classic RoadBlasters: Step on the pedal, don’t crash, and keep your tank full of fuel as you blast enemies in your way. Set in a distant future, your racer continues down a path towards the horizon as enemy vehicles attack, and cannons fire at you from the sidelines. Floating green and red orbs give you fuel, adding to your main tank and your reserve tank. You can crash and burn over and over, but you’ll lose precious fuel (and time), and if you run out before you cross the finish line, it’s game over. Halfway through each level, a checkpoint will refill your main tank to its starting level, to help you make the final push. Occasionally, a mysterious ally will fly overhead with a weapon power-up, and you must steer to collect it. A well-designed Atari System 1 title with graphics that are still impressive, RoadBlasters is a great game evocative of Spy Hunter, and it even spawned a Matchbox toy line that tried to add a bit of story and character to its world!

Fans of Bubble Bobble will immediately feel at home with Bust-a-Move, the 1994 puzzle game that brought Bub and Bob’s bubble-bursting to a new genre. Players are faced with a screen full of colored bubbles, and they must clear the playfield as quickly as possible by shooting them with matching colors. Another game that appears pretty straightforward upon first glance, Bust-a-Move (originally released as Puzzle Bobble in Japan) offers deeper strategy once you get the hang of it. Bounce bubbles from the walls to hit ones you can’t strike straight-on, and try to knock bubbles down by bursting clusters they’re hanging from — you can clear a level in seconds with just a couple of shots! Taito created a successful franchise with this unassuming game with Bust-a-Move appearing on many platforms, but nothing’s as satisfying as the arcade experience!

So, do you prefer to drive Mad Max-style into the digital sunset, or do you want to pop bubbles with a pair of prehistoric pals? From Thursday November 5 through Wednesday November 11, drop quarters in your favorite game and help us decide which game stays, and which game goes! After the end of the competition, we’ll announce the winner and give you a few more days to play the one that’s making an exit. Clash of the Classics starts… now!

XRAY Night – Sunday 10/25, 7pm-1am

XRAY.fm Night at Ground KontrolXRAY is invading Ground Kontrol for a night of pixels, drinking, and music. Come meet the people behind the station, pick up your member keytag, and get down to the sweet stylings of XRAY DJs Keegan, DDDJJJ666, and Magnolia Bouvier!

This night is a benefit for XRAY.FM, with drink specials and a portion of proceeds going to the station. Bring your friends!

Poster art by Lulu Martinez (http://lulumartinez.us/)

Ground Kontrol at Portland Retro Gaming Expo – Saturday 10/17 & Sunday 10/18

Portland Retro Gaming Expo 2014 - Photo by DestructoidPortland Retro Gaming Expo is the most important time of year for Pacific NW retro gaming fans: Thousands descend on the Oregon Convention Center in the name of classic games, and Ground Kontrol will be there in full force!

Each year, Ground Kontrol organizes the massive free play arcade with the support of the local arcade community, and this year’s lineup is impressive! Over 150 games will be on hand the entire weekend to play for free, and the arcade feature will stay open until midnight on Saturday evening.

In addition, we’ll have a booth with merchandise specials, including some brand-new highly-limited items and great prices on everything!

Also, it’s worth noting that we are not closing Ground Kontrol during PRGE! We’ll be open regular business hours the entire weekend, except for a private event on Sunday 10/18 from 4:30-7:30pm.

Grab your Portland Retro Gaming Expo passes now – online sales are up through October 16, and weekend passes are only $27 if you act fast!


Categories: Arcade News, Bar News

Special Event: Xipiter BSides After Party – Saturday 10/17, 6-9pm

Xipiter is inviting BSides attendees to hang out with them at Ground Kontrol this Saturday! From Xipiter:


You’ve nerded out at BSides during the day, come nerd out with us even more at Ground Kontrol with awesome vintage games! After you’ve had fun at BSidesPDX, join Xipiter at Ground Kontrol! On Saturday 10/17 from 6pm-9pm hang with folks from our team!
* First 50 to show their BSides Badge at the door will have waived door cover
* The first 50 people get FOUR drinks courtesy of Xipiter!
* A short walk (~15mins) from the conference venue, or a even shorter cab ride!


Please note that access to Ground Kontrol depends on capacity. If there’s a line at the door, our staff will work to get everyone in as quickly as possible!
Brought you you by: http://xipiter.com

Raiders of the Lost Arcade: Bust-A-Move

Bust-A-MoveBub and Bob from the arcade classic Bubble Bobble take their bubble-bursting action to a new game with Bust-A-Move, the 1994 puzzle game from Taito that kicked off a successful series.

Bust-A-Move actually debuted earlier in Japan as Puzzle Bobble (a title that actually makes a lot more sense), but when it hit US arcades as a Neo-Geo title, it sported a new title and the requisite “Winners Don’t Use Drugs” message. The game play is simple: Bub and Bob are at the bottom of a playfield full of colored bubbles with a cannon that shoots, you guessed it, bubbles! Your goal is to clear the playfield by strategically shooting bubbles to match colors. Attach three or more colored bubbles and they’ll pop, taking all of the bubbles hanging from them along. As the level progresses, the ceiling lowers, heightening the pressure to make the right shots. Let the playfield overfill with bubbles and it’s game over! Don’t think for too long, either – the game will automatically shoot the next bubble if you don’t make a decision quickly enough.

Once you’ve got the basic bubble bursting down, get creative and try to clear more bubbles by dropping, not popping. Dropped bubbles (the ones that fall down along with matching popped bubbles) are worth more points, and try to beat a level in 5 seconds or less for the maximum time bonus! Of course, you can play a competitive 2-player game as well. Clear a large group of bubbles and you’ll send more to your opponent’s screen, making it even tougher for them to win!

Bust-A-Move’s addictive gameplay led to several sequels and spin-offs, and you can certainly see its influence in modern hits like Peggle. The arcade cabinet’s artwork also proudly advertises the imminent Super Nintendo and Game Gear ports, unsurprising considering console gaming was coming on strong as near arcade-perfect ports were possible in the 16-bit era. Fortunately, the charm of playing a classic game in its original form still holds true to this day, so don’t just stand there – Bust-A-Move!

Giga-Fright: Halloween Free Play Party & Costume Contest! Wednesday 10/28, 5pm

Giga-FrightGet your Halloweekend started early with Ground Kontrol! Our Last Wednesday Free Play Party has mutated into something spooktacular for the Halloween season: It’s the return of Giga-Fright, our costume contest party!

Shuffle, slither, fly or crawl down to Ground Kontrol for a night of free play on every single arcade game and pinball table in our house, killer food and drink specials, and a terror-ific costume contest with a $100 cash grand prize! Don’t forget to spin the Hall-O-Wheel for a special challenge and win bonus prizes, too.

Those of you that are Giga-Fright veterans know that we get some shockingly good costumes every year, so don’t slouch – spend some time in the laboratory and show up in your frightful, freakish finery!

WHAT: Giga-Fright – Ground Kontrol’s Halloween Free Play Party & Costume Contest

WHEN: Wednesday, October 28. Doors at 5pm. DJ set by Logical Aggression at 9pm. Costume contest judging at 11pm.

COVER: $5 at the door if you’re in costume, $8 at the door without!

Clash of the Classics: Tetris Plus VS. Tetris: The Grand Master 3 – Terror-Instinct

Tetris Plus VS. Tetris: The Grandmaster 3 – Terror-Instinct? Our first Clash of the Classics for the autumn season might seem a bit redundant, but read on and you’ll learn why these games offer very different experiences!

Tetris Plus (Jaleco, 1990) offers a clever twist on the classic Tetris game play with the introduction of “Puzzle Mode”. Instead of just dropping blocks and clearing lines to score points and keep the level from topping out, you’re helping an intrepid explorer get to the bottom of the level and escape certain doom from the slowly lowering spiked ceiling. How? By dropping blocks and clearing lines, of course! Clear a path for the professor through four worlds, and you’ll reach the final stage, Atlantis. Of course, you can compete against a friend in “VS. Mode” as well! Tetris Plus’ Puzzle Mode is a great choice for anyone looking for a new Tetris challenge, and its cute and colorful graphics make it very approachable.


Tetris: The Grandmaster 3 – Terror-Instinct (Arika, 2005) has a lot going on beneath the surface. Again, you can start off with a pretty straightforward Tetris mode with “Easy” mode. Dig in deeper with “Sakura” mode, where you must focus on clearing special jeweled blocks in order to succeed. “Master” mode offers classic Tetris with the chance to become promoted (or demoted) with occasional challenge trials. You can try to make it to Grand Master, but don’t forget about the uniquely difficult “Shirase” mode, where the blocks appear almost immediately at the bottom of the screen, giving you mere moments to react and place them properly! Tetris: TGM3 is not often seen in the U.S., and it’s got quite a reputation among serious Tetris players.

So, when it comes to dropping blocks, there’s more than one difference between these two entries in the most successful puzzle game franchise ever. Which game do you prefer: The world-traveling action of Tetris Plus, or the intense strategy of Tetris: TGM3? You’ve got from today through Wednesday