Chaos flashing and beeping of an arcade is a welcome sight after months of doldrums just around the corner from Seventh and Pike. “All games are still the same,” former GameWorks COO Darren Des Roches said during a presentation last week at new, but clearly the same old, GameWorks.
The giant entertainment center is aiming to reopen on Wednesday afternoon after a Covid-induced shutdown. Its parent company, which was created in 1997 by Sega, Universal Studios and DreamWorks (Steven Spielberg’s studio), closed all of its locations just before Christmas 2021. But the passion for the chain’s home site in Seattle has leads Howard Brand and the former CEO of GameWorks. Greg Stevens to revive the gaming center that has occupied a significant portion of downtown real estate for over a quarter of a century.
Des Roches, who is helping with the relaunch, says the next few weeks will be a smooth reopening to resolve the issues; no matter how prepared you are, he says, “something is going to break.” By mid-September, the place should be buzzing.
Visitors will find a familiar array of retro machines – think Pac-Man-interspersed with advanced technologies, such as the virtual reality rhythm game station beat the saber in the center of the first floor. A popular esports lounge with PlayStation 4s, Xboxes, and rows of comfy Cougar chairs overlooks the first-floor bar.
dance dance revolution is now in the window over there; Skee-ball and pinball machines will attract nearby customers. The street-level bar has traditionally drawn a happy hour crowd, Des Roches says. But parents might be more inclined to hide in a dining room and drink on a second-story balcony, where they can watch their kids wander downstairs.
Des Roches hopes the return of GameWorks will bring a little more normalcy to this part of downtown. At the very least, it will provide plenty of distraction.