by Greg MacDonald
For students of the University of La Verne, it all started with Atari. Then Nintendo and Sega took center stage. Now video games have taken a new turn with Gameworks, a souped-up, state-of-the-art arcade, perfect for Gen X-ers that have preferred this pastime since pre-school.
GameWorks, a mega-arcade and cafe, has visions of becoming as successful and well known as the Hard Rock Cafe.
With Steven Spielberg as its imagineer and the corporation of Sega Inc., Universal Studios and Dream Works Pictures, GameWorks developed three locations currently in business and over a hundred other sites are planned. Seattle, Las Vegas and Ontario house the three locations that provide fun for children and adults. A new location has just opened in Grapevine, Texas.
“We have a retail store with everything: shirts, hats, wristwatches, lunch pails, everything,” said Christie Tyus, trainer and door greeter for the Ontario location.
GameWorks offers a full range of games, from the most technologically advanced to the most traditional. The games are motion simulated and networked multi-player. All-together, 250 games are in GameWorks.
On one side of the bottom floor of the arcade, eight Indy race cars are lined up with a game screen, so a miniature Indianapolis 500 race can be held. Other games on the first floor include a group of wave runner games, motorcycle games and a simulation ski game, to name a few.
The top floor is the place to find the sports selections. An interactive baseball game, in which the player actually swings a real baseball bat, highlights the area. Football, basketball, soccer, air hockey and bowling games are also on the top floor.
The signature games for GameWorks are Vertical Reality and Game Arc.
Vertical Reality is a game that has the rider moving up and down a span of 24 feet per level, strapped in a seat. It has four levels with the rider moving up when 10 enemies are killed. Four players can ride at once.
Game Arc is a networked game with a state-of-the-art video display and sound system. It allows eight players to fight at one time in the most intense arena possible.
Not only does GameWorks have games, but it also has food and beverages.
A full range bar with a variety of drinks and alcohol is on the second floor. An Internet lounge, where a user can log on to the World Wide Web, and a cafe featuring blended coffee drinks are available.
“We offer a restaurant with pizza, salads, chicken, soups, sandwiches, which is very gourmet, so everything you get is very unique and quality,” said Tyus.
SmartCards are the way to play the video games, buy food and drinks and anything else in GameWorks. They work similar to the way an ATM card works. Any dollar amount can be purchased from the SmartCards machines throughout the arcade.
More than 325,000 guests have visited the Ontario location since its opening this past summer.
“We are delighted by the Inland Empire’s outstanding reaction to GameWorks Ontario,” said Steve Murphy, GameWorks general manager. “On our first day of opening we had a turnout of more than 17,000 people.
“The crowds have been continuous, and everyone’s having a great time. We have a wonderful team of enthusiastic crew members who really keep the GameWorks energy buzzing.”
“The key point of GameWorks,” said Tyus, “is we try to make it where people can interact and make it a very friendly atmosphere.”