Home

Ground Kontrol: To Funland

Leave a comment

I have recently returned from a much needed retreat. We trekked halfway across the continent of North America to visit the fabled land of Portland, Oregon. Its good to be home, but at the same time I wish I did not have to leave so quickly. I got the chance to visit two arcades on my trip, some nice places to game that are severely lacking where I live! Close to where I stayed is a fairly big tourist town near the beach, and there’s a pizza place that has a big arcade attached to it. Sounds just like the pizza place on the corner we all grew up with doesn’t it? The difference is that this one had a lot of cabinets, with a lot of newer games! The second one is the already well known location in downtown Portland, Ground Kontrol.

Funland

http://www.funlandseaside.com/

The first arcade is called Funland, and its attached to a Fultano’s Pizza. They claim to have been around since the 1929, which would likely make them one of the oldest, continuously operating arcades in the entire United States, probably high in the running for North America as a whole. This makes this arcade a bit of a relic, but there is a distinct lack of video games actually from the 80s or earlier here. The earliest game I saw was a Galaga/Ms. Pac Man combo cocktail. Other than that the oldest game was Street Fighter II. This place is the definition of the modern arcade, gone are the money changing machines where you pop a bill in and get a bunch of quarters in return. Instead you load your money onto a card, and then swipe the card through a reader at every machine.

There are a lot of machines to enjoy in Funland, with multiple rooms to peruse and explore. The back room is where all the fun lies. Pinheads might feel a bit left out as there are only four tables at this place, and they’re all newer Stern games. I did enjoy the Tron table though. There are plenty of light gun and racing games here at this location, and there are a lot of cabinets hailing from the mid-late 90s to enjoy and get nostalgic over.

The problem during my visit is that many machines were out of order, even some that were turned on said “Out of Order” on the card scanner. They have 3 full Daytona USA units on the floor, but every one of them was out of order! There was a Sega Super GT next to it, and even that one only had one half of the machine turned on and in working order. The big attraction here was getting to play these brand spanking new arcade games, Time Crisis 5 and the 2 Star Wars Battle Pods they had here are so new that they haven’t had time to get all arcade sticky!

Ground Kontrol

http://groundkontrol.com/

Those looking for a nostalgic arcade trip will highly enjoy Ground Kontrol. You’ll pop quarters into machines all night here, both arcade machines and pinball tables! There are some newer Stern tables here as well, but the selection is dominated by classics from Williams, Bally, along with a handful of other companies like Sega. The arcade games include many classics that you’ll just have to pop a few quarters in, even a fully stocked Playchoice-10 is available. I visited this location with our very own member, Nupoile! He even brought his wife along for the ride.

Keep in mind that there are adults consuming alcohol at this location, and there is some stickiness as a result. That’s about the only downside to the experience I had there. I was going to play Nightcrawler in X-men and having a big puddle of sticky goop right next to my joystick was not the best. Smash TV’s movement stick was almost dead as well, but that was the only technical issue I experienced there. Everything else worked well and there was plenty of choice on both the lower floor, and upstairs.

Downstairs is all arcade, all day. There’s a bar down there as well. We’re all here for arcade first so we’re going to leave our glass in the convenient cupholders attached to nearly every machine in the entire building, right? There is plenty from the old school here, but not much from the new. More old school arcade cabinets are found upstairs, but they’re not quite the star of the show there. Expect to hear some people trying to form full 6 player X-men groups, along with teams of Simpsons and Turtles in Time players! Four player Blitz is a must have, and both arcades delivered that fix. Nothing beats elbow dropping your opponent after throwing him to the ground.

Upstairs is as close as you can get to the Heavenly Gates if you’re a pinhead. Classic pinball tables line the walls on the second floor, with a couple of newer Stern’s poking their head in as well. There were plenty of excellent games on the floor. A few favorites here include Scared Stiff (two multiballs on my first blind play!), The Addams Family, Theater of Magic, South Park and Tales of the Arabian Nights. Of course like any good arcade their selection of games on the floor changes from time to time as well.

Ground Kontrol is a must visit location if you find yourself in the Portland, Oregon area. If you’re a fan of arcade video and pinball games you find a nice corner to relax in here, and plenty of beer to quench your thirst. Unlike most bars and restaurants I visited in the area this one had few beers on tap in comparison, but more in line with what I’m used to. Everywhere seemed to have at least two dozen beers on tap, while Ground Kontrol was getting by with six, the red ale I tried was quite delicious.

Psychotic Reviews: General Chaos

Leave a comment

Now its been overdue for a nice nostalgia trip. Playing Saturn games was nice for a spell. I remember seeing the games on a shelf as a wee lad, and had no idea what the system was but thinking the big cases were the coolest thing I had ever laid eyes on. I did not know anybody with a Saturn though. I did know multiple people with a Sega Genesis though, and one of them had our game today, General Chaos. General Chaos was developed by Game Refuge Inc. and published by Electronic Arts.

General Chaos is a real time action game that can also be said to be an early RTS game, without the base building aspect of the modern genre though. This game focuses on micromanaging a squad of soldiers against another squad of soldiers, its much more tactical and the real time battle system sets it aside from many turn based games of the time like X-Com and is closer to playing like Syndicate. It was developed by Game Refuge Inc. This company’s founders, Brian Colin and Jeff Nauman, were well known as arcade developers for Bally/Midway, developing classics such as Rampage and Arch Rivals, and later followups such as Rampage: World Tour.

The art style is cartoony and the style is definitely going for completely whacked out and crazy. My friend did not have the box and manual for some reason though, so my recent purchase was glorified by flipping through the incredibly cheesy comic book right at the front of the manual. The graphics are quite good, and there is plenty of action on screen at any one time. There are multiple types of soldier, and each one has their own weapon, range, strengths, and weaknesses. How you move in the game and what type of squad you decide to go with can have a massive impact on your success in the field of battle! While the AI is rather stupid there is a two player option, and that’s what I remember playing the most at my friend’s house. We would blow the crap out of each other in this game and have a blast while doing it.

Playing the AI is a rather interesting affair. At first your opponents are quite stupid and just run into your fire, and winning Close Combat sections are quite easy. Its not too difficult to win outright and storm General Havoc’s capital city on this first round. You then have a choice to play again, and this time the AI ramps up the difficulty. It may take a few tries to best this medium difficulty. There is then a third tier of difficulty that’s even harder. This is it though. You can only play three rounds, for a nice gradient from easy, medium and hard.

This game is a cult classic now, and its quite easy to see why. This is a game that occupies a nice niche on the Genesis, it is almost completely unique on the system. The animation is quite smooth in the game, and during battle you are graced with nothing but the sound effects of gunfire and explosions. The music is nice when it shows up, and is some of the higher quality audio for the system. With a multitap you can have up to 4 people playing at the same time, so this game is definitely made for couch multiplayer. The multiplayer is what I remember enjoying the most as a kid, and its just as fun now as it was back then.

A sequel was posted on Kickstarter, but this was a complete failure. General Chaos II: Sons of Chaos was asking for $125,000 to create a high definition, hand drawn sequel of this game. It only managed to get just shy of $16,000 in the month it had.

Gaming Dramatic Read 2: Rampage World Tour

Leave a comment

This is a series where I read the story and sometimes the character section of the manual of some random video game, in a dramatic fashion. The main goal is to bring attention to how good or bad some of the manual stories can be, and also how well they can prepare a player for a game.

Of course sometimes the dramatization ends up being completely uncalled for, and that’s where the real fun begins.

Check me out on Twitter and Facebook!
https://twitter.com/SirPsychoPlays
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Why-Did-I-Play-This/277098909016440

%d bloggers like this: