Slog News & Arts

Line Out

Music & Nightlife

« Can It Just Be Tuesday, Alread... | Savage Love Letter of the Day »

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

See What Condition My Gameworks’ Condition Was In

posted by on October 29 at 10:59 AM

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?

RSS icon Comments


Gameworks is a fucking joke. Even the ability to walk around with a beer doesn't help the fact that the game selection blows and--like you said--almost all of the screens are burnt in. Every time I've been there I get drunk enough to just start pouring beer on the buttons for a cheap laugh. That actually makes it worthwhile, knowing I'm fucking everything up even more than it already is.

Posted by Mr. Poe | October 29, 2008 11:07 AM

$10 Thursdays used to be accompanied by $2 Jaeger and tequila shots. It was rad. I find it hard to get excited about Gameworks now that the balloon game is gone.

Posted by Aislinn | October 29, 2008 11:12 AM

at least gameworks lasted a fairly long time (god only knows how that make their money),
Wizards of the Coast used to have a big arcade type thing on the Ave that turned into a head shop or somthing.

Posted by G$ | October 29, 2008 11:12 AM

The only way Gameworks can be fun again is if they replace EVERYTHING. And please get rid of ticket games.

Posted by prizes are dumb | October 29, 2008 11:12 AM

i don't know what "burnt in" means. sounds bad.

Posted by max solomon | October 29, 2008 11:22 AM

@3: "Wizards of the Coast used to have a big arcade type thing on the Ave that turned into a head shop or somthing."

When WotC (sadly) left the Ave, the main space (but not the basement) was eventually converted into Tower Records. Off the Wall, the t-shirt/head shop was next door and was not impacted by WotC's departure. Tower Records left after the company went bust and an Urban Outfitters moved in. Off the Wall also closed down (after being open forever) and has been replaced with a clothing boutique/store of some sort.

Posted by stinkbug | October 29, 2008 11:49 AM

The last time I was there (5 months ago?) They had happy hour prices ($3 Stella pints!) all night long on Fridays...even old games can be fun after a few cheap beers.

Posted by Mittens Schrodinger | October 29, 2008 12:42 PM

Does Gameworks still have Prop Cycle?

Posted by stinkbug | October 29, 2008 12:43 PM

"bowling alley in tacoma" Heh, I'm pretty sure I know the place. (How many Tacoma bowling alleys with a good spread of import games can there be?) Kind of sad that it takes a bowling alley tucked down south to bring in the good games. Here I thought Seattle was supposed to be a geek town.

Posted by K | October 29, 2008 1:07 PM

I'm only going to play SF4 if it still has that bitchin' move from SF2 where Dhalsim's hands go all crazy-like in a wall of fury. One of my favorite fighting game moves ever, and the first combo move I ever figured out.

Posted by Jessica | October 29, 2008 1:07 PM

I fucking hate gameworks. The "bar" is one of the worst in the city, hands down. I've been there several times when they were out of rum, tequila, or vodka. Seriously, tear the shit down and put in a McDonald's. It'd draw the same crowd and make more money.

Posted by Original Monique | October 29, 2008 1:25 PM

Previous to the WoTC arcade there actually was an old school arcade in that spot that had one long dedicated row of machines just featuring Street Fighter-based games. That was pretty cool.

I haven't seen Prop Cycle in a long while, but it's not something I've been looking out for. :)

And Poe can DIAF. :)

Posted by zachd | October 29, 2008 1:29 PM

Wait a minute. Wait a minute. What if we took it over for a day? Sure the games suck, but I've been to a couple parties there and it can be a fun place when you're with a big group.

Thursdays are all-day happy hour, and can be fun.

You know what else happens on a Thursday?

SLOG Happy.

Oh, yes. This could be rad. I challenge Fnarf to a game of Golden Tee 2004!

Posted by Matt Fuckin' Hickey | October 29, 2008 1:37 PM

I'd be pro-Gameworks Slog Happy, if only for the fact that there will be a sufficient number of other adults there to avoid feeling like a skeeze, as I do every other time I go there. Also I hear a real pedophile works at their semi-abandoned bar!

Posted by Lara | October 29, 2008 1:44 PM

Gameworks was sooooo disappointing.

Posted by Tyler | October 29, 2008 2:33 PM

Mr. Poe, if I catch you doing that shit while I am there I am knocking you the fuck out.

Posted by Mixmaster | October 29, 2008 2:57 PM

Whoa, Gameworks has SF4?

News to me, I'm there.

Posted by Elliott | October 29, 2008 3:33 PM


Try it.

Posted by Mr. Poe | October 29, 2008 5:01 PM

Mr. Poe: I'm pretty sure nobody wants to see you at any arcade. Since you already said you don't enjoy them, please don't go to any of them. (DIAF)

Alternatively, I commend you to take one of the tough guys up on their offer and see how well you fare.

Posted by Grant | October 30, 2008 2:00 AM

Mr. Poe the bitch ass,

Please come and do that shit while I am there thursday night. Pretty please?

It is one thing to be a bitch, but it is another deal when you try to fuck up the experience for everyone else just trying to have a good time in the only arcade left in Seattle.

Posted by Mixmaster | October 30, 2008 8:36 AM

I happen to be a tech at gameworks and If I catch you vandalizing a machine in any way shape or form I'll have you arrested and trespassed by the Seattle Police we have on duty. Oh, and an FYI you're pic is going to be posted on the cork board in the main office so the whole crew will know who to watch out for.

Posted by GWtech | October 30, 2008 11:51 AM

Comments Closed

Comments are closed on this post.