May 9, 2013 / Review
Review | Game-X Restaurant & Arcade in Downtown Atlanta
By some stroke of serious luck (since we never seem to win anything no matter how many random things we enter), we actually won one of those Facebook contests! To celebrate the new opening of a restaurant here in Downtown Atlanta, Game-X was giving away a $100 food gift certificate and 1000 game credits! We also won a free night at the Hilton Garden Inn, which we’ll use for a stay-cation later since the hotel is literally within walking distance. Speaking of walking distance though, that’s one of the reasons we were looking forward to checking out the newest restaurant/bar/arcade here in Downtown as Game-X was opening up next to the Georgia Aquarium. The contest was perfect for us Downtowners and we are really thankful for the management staff of putting it together!
Linda was in town for her current consulting project, and spent part of the day with us, so what better way to end the day than with checking out Game-X together and putting these certificates to good use! Since this isn’t a sponsored review I guess I’ll give it my totally honest opinion of the good and bad… maybe that’s why no one ever asks me to do any sort of product reviews =). A lot of positives but this is still a brand new restaurant, so I think it could be improved.
We didn’t totally know what to expect going in here, as the place seems to cater to the professional after-work crowd or the conventioneers heading back from the GWCC which is only a few blocks away. The owners of this place are the same group as a couple other bars/restaurants on Marietta Street (Lukie-Marietta) strip next to GWCC and the Philips Arena.
I’ve only been to STATS before an Ice Hockey game so I can’t really comment on how they run their other restaurant establishments (though I do want to give Der Biergarten and Max’s Pizza a try one of these days). Why I say we didn’t know what to expect is because a lot of the pre-opening press talked about “Game-X plans to offer a more adult-oriented experience, rather than trying to appeal to parents as an arcade for their kids” but then I saw that had some “Mommy Blogger” event recently so maybe that has changed. Also, I need to become a Mommy/Daddy Blogger as apparently that has a bigger market than wedding photography of companies trying to woo you with their products? Haha, I think I’ll stick to wedding though and do this for fun whenever I have time =)
We checked out some of the games at first, and yeah they are mostly adult-oriented games such as driving simulators, ticket games, and crane games. Nothing wrong with that I guess, as the other patrons in the place at the same time as us (6pm-ish on a weeknight) were all guys in suits and looked like they just got off work or from a convention, and they were all having a blast on the larger interactive games that you can do in a group (as opposed to a solo experience such as say, Mrs. Pac-Man).
The menus are made out of video game cases, but opening them their was nothing inside, you’re just supposed to read the outside of them. Even Miles was trying to open the case though, I guess it’s human nature to want to open something that is closed?
The food and drinks were okay, decent enough but not mind-blowingly good. Betty got a “Hemingway” cocktail which between her and Linda didn’t finish more than 3-4 sips of. She asked for an off-menu margarita instead for something a bit sweeter, and after coming back a bit too strong the first time they added some more fruit juice to it and she enjoyed the rest of it. I picked a beer from their extensive (20 or so) craft beer list, which is always great to see more than just Coors or Heineken besides American staples like Bud Light.
On the food side of things, we all agreed that the hot wings were really good, more of a fried and crunchy texture as opposed to super-soft or overly breaded. The fries were an interesting decision to go with skinny string fries instead of the common big fat “steak fries” that most restaurants seem to offer. Miles appreciated the smaller fries. Betty got the double cheeseburger which was again ok, nothing mind-blowing. Linda and I both had hot dogs which were more like maybe a Bratwurst instead of what you think of an all-beef meaty hot dog? They were interesting and not what we were really expecting at first. I had the hot dog with Sriracha which did go well with the lighter style hot dog meat instead of an all-beef Ball Park style hot dog. Since the restaurant sort of caters to this after-work quick bite crowd of drinking some beers while challenging your buddies to a game, you would think the appetizer menu would be a little more extensive but only 5 choices besides the “main courses” which are salads, tacos, hot dogs, and sandwiches. See the STATS menu for comparison, but since they are all owned by the same restaurant group I guess they don’t want to compete with each other? Just a theory…
Back on the subject of games, we did have a lot of fun playing them even with a 2-year-old as our main subject of entertainment. As someone who has spent his fair share of hours/days/weeks in arcades as a kid growing up and as a college student, I was hoping for slightly more variety. I know their are a few other arcades around that would have an old-school Ultracade or other nostalgia machine with games like Mrs. Pac-Man on it, but with their emphasis on interactive “barcade” style games I was expecting at least one music rhythm game like Dance Dance Revolution. Even on our way over Linda and I were planning on a dancing match on the DDR machine as we sort of just assumed one would be there, but alas not even an In The Groove machine or even a Pump It Up! machine to be seen. I know these types of machines also tend to draw crowds of repeat college-age customers who may not drink quite as much as the after-work crowd, but even if they stuck it off in an unseen corner I think they could draw some of the GSU college crowd (and other late-teen kids from the Aquarium while their parents grabbed a drink) as the place is walking distance to school. Just my two-cents on the gaming line-up from someone who drove to the arcade or further every single weekend to play DDR in college. Not even sure if it’s as popular as it once was, but DDR and even the other music rhythm games like Guitar Hero would have been a welcome sight.
We found most of our entertainment in the ticket games like Skee Ball, that never goes out of style! The interactive driving/racing games are of course a lot of fun to play against a friend sitting next to you, as also evident by the other patrons who were doing the same thing. Also, we spent waaaaay too many credits at the crane arm game, but we did finally win something to show for it, so it is possible! The emphasis at Game-X is definitely on interactive games were you are out in the open and encouraging “help” from friends to do some fun task for tickets, or competing against each other shooting robots on the Terminator machine or driving race cars. It would be interesting to see what this place is like on a busy night and what other people gravitate towards. We were there on an early weeknight from around 6:00pm-8:30pm so we only saw maybe a small slice of who their customer base is.
We’ll be back, I mean the place is in walking distance from us after all and we are at Centennial Park almost every single evening anyways with Miles at the playground so it seems a logical stop to just pop in for a quick appetizer and to play some more skee ball with Miles. I’m still holding out hope that the game lineup will change slightly as the place matures, as will the quality of the food to match the offerings from the other restaurants in the Legacy portfolio. And since one of my New Year’s resolutions was to do more video blogging, and I really haven’t done all that much in 2013 so far, surprise, here is a video from our visit!
Thanks for watching/reading! I know this isn’t part of your regularly scheduled programming here on the FengLong Photography blog of wedding and engagement photography. More of those posts to come for sure =)