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You've walked by it. I've walked by it. We're going to walk by it again.

Jim McGinley, Blogger

February 24, 2011

4 Min Read

GDC 2011 Pre-Show: Metreon - that weird place beside Moscone

While googling for arcades in San Francisco,
I stumbled across "The Metreon"
aka. The giant building beside the Moscone centre

You've walked by it.
I've walked by it.
We're going to walk by it again.

Until this week, I never realized:

  • It's not part of the Moscone centre

  • It's not a transit hub

  • It's legendary and scary

According to the wiki entry, it was an "entertainment centre" built in 1999 by Sony for 85 million. If the Internet can be trusted, Metreon is the greatest mall ever built.

"The Metreon is really kind of a ghost town at this point in 2009. There's three shops now - literally. The rest of the mall is a handful of higher-end restaurants, the Tilt Arcade, the Walk of Game, and a movie theater that has basically been the lifeline of the mall since forever as it does some of the highest volume of business in the country."
Note: Tilt closed last month
"So now the restaurant is bringing its Eisenhower-era menu with its petrodollar prices to fill the top floor of the Metreon, maybe the phoniest, most soulless and artificial retail complex in the city. The Metreon experience is the equivalent of taking all the annoying cell phones and IPods that bother you on BART and packing them into one monstrous box intruding on what was formerly a pleasant part of the city."

The Perpetually Closing Arcade
The Metreon launched with a giant Moebius themed arcade "The Airtight Garage". It eventually closed and reopened as "Portal One", which closed in 2007. It reopened under the name "Tilt", which >just< closed. If Yelp can be trusted, Tilt was the greatest arcade of all time.

"There were two rooms in this empty, quiet arcade."

"The worst air hockey table I have ever used."

"The entire second floor is like some self-sabotage business suicide SECRET from the endless droves of pedestrian traffic washing through the Metreon."

"By and large, the games are awful."

"Bonus points for the completely surreal and even-more-desolate claw-grab prize parlor area. It is like something straight of Kubrick."

"It's now blatantly clear the claw machines are rigged and the employees don't even care. "

"Not good for kids, too many hobo's and lurks."

The Walk of Game

Somewhere within the hallowed caverns of the Metreon lies the Walk of Game. One day, I hope to join John Carmack, Sid Meier and Lara Croft on that walk. One day, I might venture inside to find it.

Bit.Trip Runner has nothing on this guy

Not many malls have a crime section on their wiki page.

In 2001, a 23 year old with a history of mental problems was shot and killed by police. He was studying computer programming. They shot him at least 26 times.

In 2007, a 15 year old leaving the arcade shot and killed a man for standing on (and not walking down) an escalator. Gamers representin'

In 2007, a 27 year old man was shot and killed just outside the Metreon. Specifically, in front of Jillian's, a very nice restaurant/bar housed in an outside corner of the Metreon. The Canada Networking Event is always held at Jillian's. If I get shot, hopefully my murderer won't pee on the bag.

Final Thoughts
Sony built my field of dreams, but no-one came.

What's a lurk?

Washing the hands also removes gunshot residue.

I'm replacing my mouse with a bowling ball.

Who Will Be Next?

Toronto's trying to build a Metronome.

Even with 25 more years experience walking the planet, I've never needed to get somewhere as quickly as that 15 year old.
Am I moving too slowly?


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