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1995-2000
GamesFirst! Magazine

Shaken, Not Stirred
Seattle Quake Rattles Game Companies

Seattle, WA (March 1, 2001)A strong earthquake hit the Seattle area which has resulted in extensive damage to downtown buildings and early reports of countless injuries and widespread property damage. No deaths have been reported at the time of this posting, but many have been taken to area hospitals for treatment.
    Reportedly, some area bridges have had expansion joints pop up, though none of the structures seem to have failed. The Seattle/Tacoma airport closed right after the quake, with early reports indicating that there are problems with the control tower, namely windows blown out as a result of the quake.
    The shaker was originally estimated at a magnitude of 6.2, but within a couple of hours, it had been upgraded up to 7.0, then down to 6.8 by seismic experts. According to the National Earthquake Information Center in Golden, Colo., the epicenter of the quake was 35 miles southwest of Seattle, near Olympia, and occurred at a depth of about 30 miles. Seattle-area media accounts said that the powerful tremor lasted as long as 20 seconds.
    The Seattle area is home to a number of game companies, including Microsoft Corp. and Nintendo of America Inc., both located in Redmond, which is northeast of Seattle, and therefore a bit farther from the quake’s center. Early reports indicate that the companies experienced some minor damage and frayed nerves, but no reports of injuries or structural damage.
    A Nintendo spokesperson said that the company staff is well-trained at emergency procedures, and indicated that everyone started acting on those “about three seconds after the quake began.” She also noted that existing cracks in the building have widened as a result, some pictures fell off the walls and light fixtures opened up. Within two hours, the company seemed to be back to relatively normal operation.
    “There were no injuries,” she said, “and everyone’s back to working now—though a little more tense than normal.”
    The situation at Microsoft’s campus was similar, with a spokesperson saying that “the building shook a great deal.” However, there was no significant damage reported, power stayed on throughout and after the quake, and the company returned to “business as usual” in short order.

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