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Categories: Arcade News

Available Now: Art of Atari Deluxe Edition (Signed!)

Art of Atari Deluxe EditionAtari fans rejoice! We saved some copies of the Deluxe Edition of Art of Atari from our book signings at PRGE a couple of months ago, and we even got a few of them signed by the author Tim Lapetino, former Atari artist Steven Hendricks and industrial designer Barney Huang! A very limited number of these out of print Deluxe Edition copies are available at GK now, signed copies for $125 and sealed unsigned copies for $100 (MSRP)!

In addition to the beautifully crafted book itself, the Deluxe Edition of Art of Atari features special packaging that captures the original design of Atari games, includes an Atari Vault Steam key for 100 Atari games on PC and a limited edition print featuring new artwork by Atari artist Cliff Spohn. Whether you’ve been trying to track down a copy for yourself or you’ve been looking for a holiday gift for your favorite retro gaming fan, swing by GK and grab one while they’re still here!

Clash of the Classics – Aliens VS Shinobi

Clash of the Classics: Aliens VS ShinobiThere’s a tough choice to make for fans of side-scrolling action games during this month’s Clash of the Classics! We need your help in deciding who is most worthy of a spot in the arcade: Aliens or Shinobi?

Aliens is a side-scrolling shoot ’em up game developed and published by Konami in 1990. Players can choose to face the deadly Xenomorphs solo or cooperatively with another player as Ellen Ripley or Corporal Hicks. In order to survive the onslaught of aliens, players must use the a variety of iconic weapons from the films such as the M56 Smartgun, pulse rifles and flamethrowers. Some levels even feature power loaders that the players can control and inflict extra heavy damage with. Although the majority of the game is played as a side-scrolling shooter, certain sections feature vertical shooting (similar to some levels in Contra), adding more variety to the action. Aliens is considered to be one of the goriest arcade games of its time, with well animated creepy graphics that did justice to the well-loved movie series in the arcades.

Shinobi is a side-scrolling hack and slash action game released in arcades by Sega in 1987. The player controls the ninja protagonist Joe Musashi with an eight way joystick and three buttons to attack, jump and use ninjutsu techniques against the evil criminals that lie between him and his captured students. An unlimited supply of shurikens can be used to attack enemies from a distance, but the player can also punch and kick enemies at close-range. Rescuing certain hostages will grant the player attack upgrades in the form of a powerful gun for long-range attacks and a sword for close-range encounters. There are also 3 ninjutsu techniques (also called “ninja magic”) at the player’s disposal: a sandstorm, a tornado and a doppleganger attack. Although Shinobi was not the first ninja video game when it was released in 1987, it remains one of the most popular and highly acclaimed ones from its era, and the original arcade version of Shinobi is still widely considered to be the smoothest playing, finest version of the game.

While Aliens and Shinobi are both great games that deserve the attention of all side-scrolling action game fans, the time has come to give one of them a break from the arcade floor and allow room for a newcomer. You have until the end of Wednesday, December 7th to vote, so grab some quarters and head over to Ground Kontrol to play your favorite today!

No Pun Intendo featuring Bri Pruett – Thursday 12/15, 9pm

No Pun Intendo 12/16

Stand-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:

David Mascorro
Mohanad Elshieky
Katie Nguyen
Brandon Lyons
Bri Pruett

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

New in the Arcade – Captain America and The Avengers

Captain America and The Avengers

One of the things that we love doing at Ground Kontrol is buying an old video game that’s been converted to a crummy game, and restoring it to its original glory. Last year we purchased a cabinet that we quickly realized was originally a Captain America and The Avengers. After peeling away the old artwork, filling various holes, cutting a new control panel on a CNC machine, installing new artwork and new controls, and replacing the circuit boards, we have this game looking and playing like it did when it rolled off the factory floor!

1991’s Captain America and the Avengers was Data East’s only foray into the 4 player beat-em-up genre dominated by Konami. Luckily for fans of the genre and Marvel fans alike, the game was a thrilling success. Players team up as Captain America, Hawkeye, Iron Man and Vision to battle against Red Skull’s assembly of supervillains in metropolises, a secret underwater base and even the moon! The heroes fight through hordes of enemies by utilizing hand-to-hand combat, throwing select items, using ranged special attacks, or by employing their unique “Avenger Attack.” Special power ups are also available throughout the game to summon help from other Marvel superheroes. The heroes must complete a total of five stages while battling mega-foes like Klaw, The Living Laser, Whirlwind, The Grim Reaper, The Wizard, and The Juggernaut.

No one should group the arcade game in with the poorly ported home console versions; the original Arcade version is widely considered to be one of the best classic, co-op beat’em up games of all time! The game provides a TON of Marvel cameos that are surely to excite any comic book fan. The game can be a bit too difficult if you go it alone, so bring along a friend or three to help defeat The Red Skull and his gang!

 

Did You Know?

• The arcade cabinet is visible in the 1994 comedy Airheads.

• Captain America and The Avengers was the second most successful game for the now-bankrupt and gone Data East (first being RoboCop, 1998).

• There is a special ending if the game is beaten using just one credit.

Categories: Arcade News

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles In Time

Turtles in Time

Our TMNT: Turtles in Time game just got better! We had a spare generic black Konami cabinet that had seen better days, so our tech team bondo’ed the rough edges, installed new artwork and new controls, and made it look as good as a 25 year old game can. Most people would put it in a museum behind velvet ropes, but we want you to play it!

Turtles In Time is the 1991 sequel to the 1989 arcade hit TMNT, pushing the classic 4-player beat ’em action to new heights with improved gameplay, graphics and sound. Each playable turtle has his own unique special attack and strengths and weaknesses that add to the simple yet satisfying cooperative combat. The game takes place in past, present and future settings as the turtles are sent through a time warp while chasing after their nemeses Shredder and Krang. The turtles must face Shredder’s army, the Foot Clan, and a variety of enemies and iconic bosses from the TMNT universe along their time traveling adventure.

TMNT: Turtles in Time is a true fan favorite, commonly considered to be the best TMNT game of all-time and even one of the best games in the beat ’em up genre. With our newly refinished cabinet fresh on the arcade floor, there’s never been a better time to team up with some friends, select your favorite character and travel back in time with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!

Raiders of the Lost Arcade: Shinobi

Raiders of the Lost Arcade: Shinobi

Destroy anyone that gets in your way!

An evil organization of ninjas and outlaws known as “Zeed” have captured ninja children and taken them hostage! It’s up to Ninjutsu master Joe Musashi to venture into Zeed’s headquarters and single-handedly rescue his students while wiping out the opposing villains!

Shinobi is a side-scrolling hack and slash action game released in arcades by Sega in 1987. The player controls the ninja protagonist Joe Musashi with an eight way joystick and three buttons to attack, jump and use ninjutsu techniques against the evil criminals that lie between him and his captured students. An unlimited supply of shurikens can be used to attack enemies from a distance, but the player can also punch and kick enemies at close-range. Rescuing certain hostages will grant the player attack upgrades in the form of a powerful gun for long-range attacks and a sword for close-range encounters. There are also 3 ninjutsu techniques (also called “ninja magic”) at the player’s disposal: a sandstorm, a tornado and a doppleganger attack. The ninjutsu techniques vary depending on the stage, but they all have the same effect of clearing the screen of all enemies.

The game features 5 missions, each consisting of 3-4 stages in which the player must rescue all hostages to advance. In the final stage of each mission, the player must face off against a challenging boss. Defeating a boss advances the player to a bonus stage, where the player must fend off a horde of enemies by throwing shurikens from the first-person perspective. If successful, the player will earn an extra life.

Although Shinobi was not the first ninja video game when it was released in 1987, it remains one of the most popular and highly acclaimed ones from its era. After its original arcade release, Shinobi was ported to the Sega Master System and eventually the Nintendo Entertainment System, PC Engine and several home computer systems and downloadable emulators. Despite many of the ports featuring minor tweaks to the gameplay, the original arcade version of Shinobi is still widely considered to be the smoothest playing, finest version of the game.

Pro Tips

• Activating “ninja magic” will clear the screen of all enemies and can be used only once per stage. If used against a boss, it will inflict a great amount of damage.

• Bonus points are awarded based on how quickly the player clears each stage, along with additional bonuses if the player clears the stage without using “ninja magic”, or using only close-range attacks.

• Extra lives are awarded by achieving certain scores, completing the bonus round, or upon rescuing a special hostage.

Clash of the Classics – Bubble Bobble VS Sinistar

Clash of the ClassicsThis month, Bubble Bobble faces a rather “sinister” opponent in Clash of the Classics. Yeah, we went there! Bubble Bobble is going up against Sinistar and it’s up to you to decide who keeps their spot on the floor!

Taking after some established platforming tropes, Taito released Bubble Bobble in 1986 with a mechanic new to the genre. Playing as a pair of adorable dragons Bub and Bob, the players use their bubbly breath weapon to trap enemies and pop them away. A stage is complete when all of the baddies are dealt with, and Bub and Bob spelunk further to do it over and over again. There is of course, much more to it than that. Players can unlock secret caverns (with really spooky music!), obtain powerful items, and gain points by eating tons of cool-looking food items. There are also a lot of clever hacks to earn plenty of extra points – it really is a game that one can become quite skilled at.

Noted for its widely-appreciated NES edition, Bubble Bobble is an even better experience in the arcade. That calm addictiveness is just as much a part of the game in cabinet form, and it’s also easy to get your quarter’s worth; one quarter can last several stages. The funny part is, as soon as you finally beat that last level, and find yourself back at the beginning, you’ll have no problem starting all over, and taking the plunge another time.

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.

One thing that Bubble Bobble and Sinistar have in common is that they both have hardcore fans. So, we’re counting on you guys to show your love for your favorite game and use your quarters to battle it out until the end of Wednesday, November 9th in this month’s Clash of the Classics!

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!

Pro-Tips

• 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!