When “retro” goes “video” everyone’s akid again

I can remember the blurry-eyed euphoria of staring into a flat, two-dimensional screen, fighting vast minions of alien invaders and saving the civilized world from destruction. I even had the warrior calluses to prove I was one of the few, the proud, the new breed of escapist – I was a video game junkie.

Thankfully, through the use of beer and sex, I was able to kick my habit.

Occasionally, when that familiar desire (my tolerance to beer and sex increasing with age) to do heroically mighty deeds in the land of mini-pixels posses me, I have to journey to a special, magical land. That land sits in the murky mists of the past, of a youth long, long gone.

The first step to the past is by simply walking through the doors at 610 S.W. 12th. This is the bastion of classic video games, forefathers to Cruisin’ U.S.A., Virtua Fighter and Area 51, this is Ground Kontrol Retrocade.

Ground Kontrol is a perfect mix of retro and street grunge. Games packed side by side in a semi-dark space – a perfect synergy for optimal game playing.

As their name suggests, Ground Kontrol Retrocade has all the classics.

Name it they’ve got it – Joust, Defender, Centipede, Asteroids, Donkey Kong, Frogger, Missile Command, Paper Boy and Tron just to name a few.

So whether you want to climb tall buildings as a gorilla or be a knight riding a flying ostrich(?), Ground Kontrol’s got the game for you.

They also don’t just carry the fabulous retro video games, they’ve got pinball too, the classics of course.

And for the true fanatic, or a large group of them, Ground Kontrol can be rented. Prices are $375 a night weekdays, $575 a weekend or $150 hour anytime during the week.

They even have a stage and sound system, so if you’re a band that wants to crank it up over some hot video action, this might be the spot for you.

If you need to take something home to remind you of the time when you had the high score on Missile Command, they’ve also got a full range of games and music for sale.

For information about games or renting the facilities call 503-796-9364. Store hours are Sunday through Thursday noon to 10 p.m. and Fri/Sat noon to midnight. There’s another Ground Kontrol Retrocade located at 3409 S.E. Hawthorne, 503-235-3729.