Friday, December 27, 2013

Nelson Charity Tournament, Christmas hell, and Super Arcade's status

So its the now December 27th, the morning after we just held our so-called Special Edition of The Runback tourney, and for many reasons I cannot sleep and just feel completely horrible.  I originally wanted to use this blog to discuss the importance of arcade social life and the amazing competitiveness that comes from our great community, but now I am sitting here at 10am writing my thoughts because my stress levels are too high and my moral is officially at rock bottom.  It's really hard to put into words how torn I feel to be a failing arcade owner who's literally done anything and everything in my power to keep Super Arcade alive.  I have actually done more than even I expected and to have this place not generate enough income to support itself has truly become a huge burden on me.  Originally this problem wasn't all that bad because I believed I had enough to work with to get through the slow days and bad months, but when these days and months start becoming the norm then the problems and the bills start piling up.  I am not sure if I mentioned this in my previous entries, but I have literally not paid myself a single cent since May of this year.  That's almost five months of work without pay.  For a person not living under their parents roof, and don't get me wrong to those of you who do, it's just an example, just imagine what it's like to have to pay your all your bills and not have any income.  I have had to juggle money left and right just to keep Super open and put aside everything else just so I could pay the electric bill, the lease, the bill for internet service, and also provide a very meager wage to keep my last employee.  I told myself I would never discuss my struggles publicly but I am at the breaking point and if not for myself and a release of stress, I owe it to our loyal customers and the people who helped out previously to just be in the know of what's going on.

Over the past week many things have happened, things including the Christmas holiday, the unfortunate death of a very loved member of the FGC, Nelson Reyes aka EMP_Remix, and some personal issues I had encountered.  I will first discuss nelson's passing out of respect and importance because there is obviously nothing more important than a person losing their life.  I won't turn this into a full blown eulogy but I will say his death has definitely woken me up and made me ask myself the question, what am I doing here?  I won't sit here and be a poser and claim me and Nelson were best friends, or even close to good acquaintances, but we definitely had our interactions and I can say he was a very animated and positive person and I will never forget meeting him.  Even during my own rough times and the during what's truly a down time for the arcade, we will be hosting a charity tournament in his honor in hopes of raising more money for his funeral costs.  I was originally approached with this idea from a gentleman by the name of Shankar and with his efforts along with my crew here, we are hoping this event will do it's job and Nelson can Rest In Peace.  The tourney will be held on Saturday, January 4th 2014 and will include both Marvel vs Capcom 2 at 5pm, and Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 at 7pm.  I hope many people will attend this not only to show support for the community, but also during times like this many bonds are made and good deeds overshadow bad times and hopefully a sense of happiness will fill the room.  I don't have a clue as to how I can transition over to my next issue cause in a sense I feel like I'm changing the subject and swaying from what matters most.

So this year's Christmas has been an extremely difficult one for me to swallow.  I don't think I realized exactly how tough it was until last night when people just asked me casually how my holidays were going and if I enjoyed Christmas.  I'm not sure if people were surprised with my answers or not but I don't think I even replied once in a very positive manner and I guess that's the time I truly realized that I am tearing myself up.  This Christmas has absolutely, positively, and without a doubt been the absolute low in my life.  I can honestly say I bought zero presents for anyone in my family and I did this out of respect.  I didn't mention this before but I have had to borrow money from friends just to keep Super Arcade open.  I have literally gone into debt just to keep this place alive for the community while making sacrifices in every other part of life.  These sacrifices are fine if you are only taking away from self wants and needs, but when they start to affect people around you, and you are taking away from them too, now we have a very serious issue.  It brings a serious tear to my eye as I type this but since I'm keeping everything completely honest I want the readers to know how bad it is.  So I wound up not getting anything for even my wife and my eighteen month old kid, but that's not to say I didn't try.  I made one of those half ass last ditch efforts and went online to pick something out, but guess what?  My credit cards were all maxed out........  Now tell me this, how bad can things possibly be when you cant even charge $150 on your credit to buy a Christmas gift for your own immediate family?  I have literally spent everything I have, sold personal items including jewelry, watches, and even pawned a family heirloom just to keep an arcade alive.  And for what?  So I can see a dwindling turnout week in and week out?  So I can see my investment crashing and burning right before my own eyes?  Don't get me wrong, we do have some extremely loyal customers here and these guys make an unquestioned effort to support as much as possible, but, these rare people are far too few to keep things running.  I do want to take the time to say thank you to this small group and tell you guys that you have honestly motivated me and just in effort alone helped me work harder to keep this sinking ship afloat.  I honestly want to pop off at the fake people out there, the one's that always come around when it's too late, the people that are always first to say things like "oh man, it's so sad this place is gone," or "wow, I can't believe this place is closing."  The list goes on and on and but you know what?  The people who were here week in and week out, you know who you are and just know you have done as much as you could possible to help out here.

Super Arcade is 100% without a doubt on thin ice right now.  I cannot and will not sugarcoat this so if you really do care you better start doing it now.  There were a couple instances where I was really close to just shutting it down for good and walking away.  Right before the Ultra SF4 location test I told a couple people that I had a goal in terms of money brought in for that weekend, and if I didn't reach it I was done for good.  This was probably the first time I had set anything like this and it was serious enough that for the first time the people surrounding me took notice that Super Arcade might really be closing.  See, the whole thing with this place is that this community has a huge place in my heart.  It's comparable to that notion of first love, and we all know you never ever forget your true first love.  I have poured my heart, my soul, and everything I own into Super Arcade but now it just feels like I am not receiving the love back and I'm trying to hard to force things to happen.  What else can I do at this point?  A couple weeks ago for our Thursday tourney, the turnout was so low that I was five minutes away from telling people to come get their money back and I would be closing early that night.  Around 9:10pm we had something like 15 people for Marvel and like 3 or 4 for Killer Instant, BlazBlue, and Guilty Gear.  I was not going to stay open till 3am and run a tourney for such a poor turnout, and being as it may seem selfish this was definitely a time where I felt I had to put my foot down and set an example for these guys.  If you do not want to come support, then there is no reason to have a place for you to play.  Fortunately for everyone in the next 5 minutes the turnouts doubled for every game........ amazing right?  And there's another story of how TRB survived that week and just how close everything is to crumbling.

And just in case some of you can't read between the lines, if you want to support the arcade please show up consistently.  Whether it be once a week to our WNF or TRB tourney, or Friday for our console casuals, or even for our weekend tourneys, just show some support, that's all we ask.  I normally don't like being specific on names or singling out people in general because I feel its unfair to others and causes issues, but in this case I want to thank the 2 most loyal customers we have here and let the community know how outstanding their dedication is to our local scene.  First I would like to thank Team Seaslug, as I know for a fact he comes to almost every single Wednesday Night Fight, every single Friday Night Casual, and just about every Saturday tourney we host for SF4.  Hell, he even started coming to some of our anime game tourneys, now that is some major dedication and you sir are greatly appreciated.  I would also like to thank Infrit for his ridiculous support too.  This man shows up almost every Thursday for TRB and attends just about every Friday Night as well.  Our tourneys end very late and I know both these guys have real jobs and work the morning after so to question their drive would be foolish.  Both of you have my utmost respect and you set an example that very few can follow.  So what's everyone else's excuse?  And like I said before, I really don't like singling out people and there are definitely a few more guys that haven't gone unnoticed, but these two really take the cake and I just wanted to publicly thank you.

This post has really taken a lot out of me and I do have a final plan I will be announcing that will hopefully turn things around, but until then thanks for reading and more to come soon.  Next post will definitely include future plans and more updates on the current status of the arcade.

13 comments:

  1. i try to spread the word, but people do not want to listen and hang out at the arcade, they are frauds

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  2. If only I lived nearby, New York native :/

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  3. i want to pay $20 a month to show my support. that would be the equivalent of attending one wnf, trb, etc a week. link?

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  4. America doesnt deserve Super Arcade, most of they think that online can be a substitute of the arcade ambient. Old gamers knows is not the same, a good friend in the arcade is a good friend forever, an online friend is just a friend for a couple of months. How many actual FG players started on arcades? Like 80%!! Without arcades drawing the attention of young players, in ten years fighting games will be a pretty small niche, even Capcom would not take interest in fighting games outside of Japan. May be that day we will say "Do you remember Arcades??"

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  5. OK, I want to add, wheres the paypal donation button!!!

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  6. Seconding the paypal donation button request.

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  7. I may not have been to an arcade in years, But reading this has hit the spot, I for one enjoy the atmosphere that only an arcade can produce, I would be willing to donate if there is a paypal account avalible

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  8. This is why I feel that arcades should offer memberships where people pay monthly for a few bonus privileges that are also given at no cost to you.

    Like for example, start closing the arcade earlier for non-members, allowing members to stay for an extra hour in a designated area which retains power, and the rest of the building is shut off for the night.

    Or a designated area specifically catered towards membership owners.

    A small discount on snacks/drinks that's measured/calibrated to still earn you a bit extra.

    Stuff like that.

    Either way, I hope you can make it through and improve from here on out. Arcades are a necessary thing, I feel, for the competitive fighting game culture.

    Without what this cultures grant us, things like EVO will be affected negatively as well. :/

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  9. Mike has my absolute respect and admiration for doing what he does... I live in Colombia and if he sets a paypal donation thingy, I will donate (not much, of course, but with all my good will). People that don't support super arcade (or the arcade/offline tournament scene/culture in general) and call themselves FG fans are basically morons and posers. How could you not support what this guys is doing for the community? I just wish there was a place like that here, run by a player and having that amount of events and gatherings for everyone.

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  10. If i lived in LA, i would show up all the time. Livivng down here in SD, all the good arcades have gone down, and if there is one, it doesnt have enough money to market its existence, and i dont know about it, sadly.

    Best of luck to you man. If I had the time and money, I would come up every wednesday.

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  11. You need a consistent support but that doesn't have to come from the people down in the ground. If you offer incentives for donations, stream monsters will support you. Talk to gootecks about what you can do from the online point of view to bring in new revenue.

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  12. I was watching a DayZ streaming from a player called Sacriel, he just play the game with a friend, talk nonsense, answer questions, sometimes he uses memes or gifs as jokes, etc. He have a $4.95 subscribe fee in his twich stream, so people can wath the stream at 720/1080 (instead of the free 360p/480p) and used especial gifts for chat and other bonuses. In two hours he made more than 50 subscribers, so I was guessing if the WNF or any stream from super arcade events have this option. I were looking and just found "Capcom Fighters streaming from super arcade", I dont know if is the same people. I live outside of US and I want to help Mike, if SA doesnt have a streaming channel with subscribe option I would donate through paypal.

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  13. Mr. Watson, this idea might piss you off, but how about shutting down Super Arcade to take over the now closed Japan Arcade, which is in a better location in the heart of LA. The plaza the arcade is in is also going through a major renaissance.

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