Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Save The Arcades 2

I was going to post another Street Fighter video today, but this is actually important and needs to get out to more people. I just saw this over on Twiiter, so I had to post it here.

Stride Gum has started their second annual "Save The Arcades" promotion. Just like last year, you can go to their website, play a flash game and donate your points to the arcade of your choosing. This year three arcades are up for the $25,000 prize, down from four last year. I was hoping that 8 on the Break was going to be included, but I guess they missed the cut.

The three arcades you can help out are,

Ground Kontrol Classic Arcade in Portland, OR

Arcade Infinity in Rowland Heights, CA

Rocky's Replay in Winter Park, FL

The game this time is called Cowbots, a clone of Robotron 2084. I gave it a play tonight and it's a lot better then the previous one. So when you get the time, make an account, play the game and donate your points! The winner will be announced on June 16th. I would like to thank the people over at Stride for doing this again and I hope they they will continue to do this as long as people have the drive and passion to keep arcades alive in America.


  1. The Save the Arcades campaign was initiated to bring attention to arcades in general disappearing, not that the participants are necessarily having financial problems. In fact, one of last year's arcades opened up a second location after the campaign without the money from Stride. At least Cowbots 2010 is based upon a real, classic arcade game, unlike Zapataur. Too bad flash player games are so easy to cheat, especially this one. Stride and their advertising company know this, too. Want to save an arcade? Go to a real arcade and play! You can find many locations at The name of the campaign should be "Save AN Arcade, that doesn’t really need saving." Interesting how there are only three arcades, compared to four last time. At least one is a bar, and while I have nothing against bars or bars with video games, this does not seem like the “classic” arcade that Stride is hyping. There are plenty more true arcades around that could use the publicity and money. Also, why only one winner instead of tiered awards? Seems like anyone wanting to help would do so for as many arcades as they could. Don’t just save the arcades, celebrate the arcades and be social in person.

  2. I'm fortunate enough to have visited two of the three arcades represented in this year's Save The Arcades contest. Arcade Infinity is the import game lover's dream. They are always trying to get the latest and greatest arcade games from Japan. When I was there a few years ago, most of their games were music/rhythm style games like Beatmania, Dance Dance Revolution, and Para Para Paradise. Fighting games are also a big part of their arcade. They were one of the first (and only) places in the United States to import a Street Fighter 4 cabinet. While it's cool that they try to cater to the younger audience, the place just doesn't feel like a REAL arcade.

    Now, I may be a little bit biased since I LIVE in Portland, but Ground Kontrol is probably the best arcade that I have ever been to. For those who have never been there, and only have seen their website, they appear to be just a regular old "barcade". This could not be farther from the truth. Ground Kontrol does serve beer after 5:00PM, yes. However, the arcade is owned and operated by employees who not only LOVE video games, but love to work on them as well. At least two of the owners are trained electrical engineers, and they do their best to make sure that every game they acquire is restored to the best possible working condition. If anything, they should be considered an "Electronic Amusement Museum" rather than "Just Another Barcade."

    The employees at Ground Kontrol will go the extra mile to ensure that their games are presented in the best possible condition. Check out the work they did on the restoration and customization of their 6-player X-men cabinet.

    As far as the atmosphere goes, Ground Kontrol takes many inspirations from the movie TRON. This place is about as close to Flynn's Arcade as you can get. Their arcade is separated into two levels. The main floor hosts the majority of their arcade games ranging across every genre. Fighting, Driving, Action, Platforming, Classic, and Shooting. The main floor is also where the bar is located. At the bar you can buy snacks and a variety of bottled beers.

    All of their Pinball Machines (around 25 or so) are located on the second floor. Each pinball table is well maintained and about 98% of the time play flawlessly. The contacts are cleaned often, and the playfields are always silky smooth. There are a few normal arcade games on this floor as well, but they can sometimes be a pain to get to as the space upstairs is very limited.

    Ground Kontrol also welcomes and hosts many performances by DJ's, Chiptune artists, and video-game related musicians from all over the world. (Anamanaguchi, The Minibosses, BitShifter, and Nullsleep have all performed there.)

    If Ground Kontrol wins the contest, they plan on using the prize money to expand their second floor. Right now, it's pretty much a balcony that only covers about 1/3 of the length of the first floor. With the extra floor space, they will be able to pack more games in.

    Oh, I almost forgot to mention my second favorite part about Ground Kontrol. (The first being just how friendly and knowledgeable the staff are) On the last Wednesday of every month, they host a "Free Play Party" $5 will get you in the door, and all of their machines are set to free play.

    As much as I loved my visits to Arcade Infinity, my points will be going to the hometown heroes at Ground Kontrol.