GameWorks: eat, drink, and play

I concentrated on the tall screen in front of me as I guided my bowling ball through rows of trees and across a creek. I was almost distracted by the butterflies gliding overhead, but I managed to curve my ball into the triangle of pins on the other side of the forest. I watched the pins roll around in the grass as my bowling score popped up in front of me. All around, people were playing pool and video games, while others sat at the bar watching television. I was at the Newport on the Levee GameWorks, which beckons you to “eat, drink, party and play.” Taking these suggestions, I started my visit at Jax Bar and Grill, the restaurant attached to GameWorks. We were seated and waited on immediately. The dining area was nicely spaced out with large tables and comfortable chairs. The service was excellent; our waiter even told us how long we had to wait for our food (12 minutes). Both of us ordered sandwiches, which cost about $8 each. The restaurant was small, but very spacious and clean. The cooks prepared food in an open-air kitchen and every now and then the flames would jump from the ranges. Our food was very good. I had a buffalo chicken sandwich served with Bleu Cheese dressing. My friend had a Philly Cheese Steak that was so big she couldn’t finish it. Our whole meal, with a Corona added on for flavor, cost $20.63. After dinner we went into GameWorks’ main section, which is basically a giant arcade. To play games you have to buy a rechargeable game card for $1 and fill it up with credits. The math breaks down like this: $1 buys four credits and games cost between one and 20 credits. $10 buys $10 worth of credits, $20 buys $25 worth of credits and $25 buys $35 worth of credits. There are different deals, though, if you go to GameWorks during certain times of the week or day. On Sunday through Thursday an hourly plan can be purchased. Unlimited gameplay for one hour costs $20, two hours costs $25 dollars and three hours costs $27. Unlimited gameplay during the first two hours of any day costs $20. The same deal during the last two hours of the day costs $15. GameWorks is open Monday through Wednesday and on Sunday 11 a.m. to midnight and Thursday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. We opted to buy one card and pay $20 for credits. Our card was activated and ready to go. GameWorks is divided up into different “zones”. Each section features racing games or sports games or games where you can win tokens or tickets. The tickets can then be traded in for prizes. (One of the best prizes is the Mr. T bobblehead doll, which costs 1,050 tickets.) There are also two bars, the Arena Bar and the Hopscotch Lounge. The Arena Bar is located right in the middle of GameWorks. It’s slightly loud, but you can still have a conversation over the music. The Hopscotch Lounge is sectioned off and is a little less hectic if you need to get away from the flashing lights and video game noise. GameWorks offers a good mix between big, interactive games like “Indy 500” and other, more traditional games like skee ball. There’s even a Pac Man machine in one corner. The lines to play games were not very long, even though there were a few times when kids jumped ahead of us. (After 10 p.m. this isn’t a problem since guests must be over the age of 18). We were able to play just about everything we wanted to play, though. Our card lasted us a little over an hour, which was pretty good since both of us were using it. We eventually whittled our points away playing skee ball for tickets. We ended up with 84 tickets, just 966 shy of a Mr. T bobblehead doll.