Keep the Change: The Best Arcades in Portland

Where are the best arcades in Portland?

Best arcades PortlandA good quality arcade can provide hours of fun. Groups of friends can go head-to-head in a fighter or racer, or gather around their nominated champion as he or she attempts to beat the highest score on PAC-MAN.

While some arcades explicitly bump up the cost of games or artificially inflate the game to take as much money as possible from customers, that type of game center is a dying breed in the modern world. Instead, gamers flock to affordable arcades that offer more “bang for their buck,” a sort of restoration service to the gaming community.

Portland isn’t short on quality arcades, with many scattered throughout the metro area. Ground Kontrol and Wunderland offer fantastic deals on the traditional arcade model, while Hour to Midnight – Room Escape Games tries something new by putting players into the game room.

Wunderland has arcade games in Portland for only a nickel!

With many modern arcades charging upwards of a dollar per playthrough and continually increasing costs, Wunderland has decided to do the opposite. There are enough entertainment options to spend time from open to close inside on a budget, and Wunderland’s business model has been a phenomenal success as they have grown from a single location to five over the years.

Wunderland Portland

  • Games are cheap. While some games only cost a single nickel, the majority are three or four per play. This is still substantially cheaper than paying one dollar per play for the same game elsewhere. Wunderland is able to have games so cheap by charging an entrance fee for spectators and players alike. Admission is still cheap at $3.25, but this can often be waived by joining the email club, where they send out at least one coupon every month.
  • Earn tickets to win prizes. Some arcades don’t include ticket games when they offer free play options, but Wunderland doesn’t discriminate. Ticket-earning games are similarly cheap and include Skee-ball and much more. These can then be cashed in at the prize counter up front for candy or various toys and electronic gadgets.
  • There’s more than arcade games! The primary draw to Wunderland is the cheap arcade games, but they have other entertainment options, as well. Each of the locations has a movie theater, too. Some play first-run movies while others offer a discounted price for movies at the end of their theatrical run. And a couple of the locations even have laser tag!

Ground Kontrol is an arcade in Portland specifically for adults

Who says arcades are just for kids? Ground Kontrol certainly doesn’t believe that. This adult-friendly arcade targets the people who grew up playing arcade games and want to relive those days. With dozens of games ready to play and some exclusive to them only, there’s plenty of fun to be had. If you’re hungry because you decided to forgo dinner at one of Portland’s great pizzerias, don’t sweat it! There’s food here, too!Ground Kontrol Portland

  • The games are original. Ground Kontrol prides itself on not changing the functionality of their classic games. This means that all games have original gameplay and the original prices. They also claim to have the largest collection of pinball machines open to the public in the entire Pacific Northwest! With a combination of old favorites and new delights, players can challenge each other or the high score.
  • They have free play days. On the less busy days of the month, specifically the 2nd Thursday and Last Wednesday, Ground Kontrol lets you play all games for free! For a mere $5 entrance fee, you can stop by at 5 p.m. for unlimited gaming. These events combine an open bar with video games, so entrants must be 21 or older to attend.
  • There’s plenty of food. Gaming is known to bring on the appetite. And Ground Kontrol is prepared for this. With a comprehensive menu of snacks and small meals such as grilled cheese, corn dogs, loaded nachos, and ice cream, you don’t have to play on an empty stomach. Along with the food, there are plenty of drinks served at the full-service bar, as well.

Room escapes in Portland are a new take on arcades

While not an arcade in the traditional sense, room escapes are one of the fastest growing entertainment trends in the country. At Hour to Midnight – Room Escape Games, players are locked inside of a room with all the tools they need to get out–if they can figure out the clues. While no one is in danger–an extra exit is given in every room for emergencies–it’s a good opportunity to put the knowledge from Portland’s quality museums to work while becoming a true escape artist!

Hour to Midnight Portland

  • They’re a great way to build teamwork. Teams of up to ten work together to solve all of the puzzles in order to earn the key they need to escape. Bring nine of your friends or coworkers or be matched together with strangers on the spot. Either way, you’ll need to combine your wits to succeed!
  • Choose from several themes. Currently, Hour to Midnight has only one venue to try out, but there are several more in the works. These will include deciphering agent artifacts, escaping from a crafty assassin, piecing together a Pharoh’s tomb, and figuring out how to get back to normal size after being accidentally shrunk into a computer.
  • Reserve the entire experience. Want a company getaway that’s different but promotes teambuilding and working under pressure? Try an escape room! It’s a great way to see employees strengths and weaknesses and see how everyone functions in an unfamiliar environment. Try to work out the puzzle, then spend time in the banquet room to discuss what you learned.

Directions from Hour to Midnight – Room Escape Games to Moving Forward Restoration LLC

Hour to Midnight – Room Escape Games
11525 NE Halsey St, Portland, OR 97220

Head west on Ne Halsey St toward NE 114th Ave
4 sec (174 feet)

Turn left onto NE 114th Ave
2 min (0.5 mi)

Continue on NE Glisan St. Take Exit 19 and US-26W/SE Powell Blvd to SE 73rd Ave
12 min (4.1 mi)

Turn left onto SE 73rd Ave
2 min (0.5 mi)

Turn right onto SE Holgate Blvd
8 min (2.5 mi)

Moving Forward Restoration LLC
2528 SE Holgate Blvd, Portland, OR 97202