Games See What Condition My Gameworks’ Condition Was In
posted by October 29 at 10:59 AMon
Why do I keep going back to the Gameworks downtown? The place is a dead zone. The arcade games are ancient—most so old, their screens are burnt in. The staff seems to outnumber patrons on a given night. All but one of the bar areas are typically roped off, making the place feel even creepier.
I like Gameworks’ Thursday night special—pay $10, get all-you-can-play access from 10 p.m. on—but the rest of the week gets nothing. Per-game prices have dropped, but mostly for older games that you can play on an Xbox by now. I haven’t noticed any drink specials. And about two months ago, a Gameworks room was cleared out to make a dining hall with an eye toward (relative) elegance and a sign asking for companies to rent the space for their next major luncheon. Trouble is, that fancy room is pushed up against the shoot-basketballs kiosks. Who are you targeting, the PR department for Gymboree?
But I have reason to return, beyond my stupid arcade nostalgia: I’m still rolling with $60-ish in credit on their proprietary swipe-cards. Fricking drunken birthday party… So I stopped by last night on my way back home and noticed, again, the place looked barren. But the dozen people last night weren’t spread thinly over the place’s zillions of square feet. They weren’t spazzing on the DDR machines. They had piled upon a Street Fighter 4 cabinet.
Sadly, this photo is not of Seattle’s Gameworks
Big deal? The new game’s Japan-only right now… and is ridiculously fun. I had been planning a pilgrimage to Tacoma to play SF4 with friends, as some bowling alley owner down there had imported the game a few months ago (just in time for PAX), but scratch that.
Street Fighter has been redone in 3D to look like a living cartoon, and the mix of 3D models and paint-brush effects is striking. More importantly, SF4 takes out the clutter of the zillions of Street Fighter clones, returning to the series’ simpler fightin’ glory. Tighter pacing; fewer moves; rebalanced characters; blah blah. The important thing was the feeling: its gravity, speed, and whallop of hits had a believably cartoony quality that was welcoming and instantly fun.
But the best part was the line. Players old and new to this version rapped about tweaks to moves, SF4 changes they liked, the way they were gonna get each other next round, and on and on. Mixed into that conversation was old-school arcade admiration; whether a guy was racking up a seven-win streak or finally getting his after a newbie’s ridiculous comeback, I couldn’t help but get into the game by proxy as this scraggly gang of 20-somethings cheered each other on. This is how Street Fighter 4 should be consumed; don’t wait for the 2009 Xbox version.
I should also mention Rambo. There’s a new Rambo gun game from Sega at Gameworks, and it puts you in charge of an oversized machine gun with nearly endless ammo that rattles like a bastard. Clips from the original movies pop up between hundred-man murder sprees for good measure—and just like the movies, somehow Rambo barely ever gets shot. America!
Those were the only new machines I saw in my full venue run-through, sadly. But it’s a good start—those two serve up more fun than a lot of stuff around Pacific Place. Now, can we get more new cabinets, Gameworks? Or at least some drink specials?