Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Why We Left Our Location And Some Questions To Be Answered pt 2

As promised I am back and would like to speak about a few conversations I have had with people over the past few months regarding both our kickstarter campaign and our renovations.  For those of you who dont know, I actually spend a lot of time looking at social media in regards to feedback for the arcade and although its impossible to please everyone, I do make a genuine effort to try.  So I would like to set the record straight about an issue that seems to linger to those who arent fully informed and for those who havent actually taken the time to read through some of the blogs I have posted previously. 

Lets get into the matter of keeping the promises made through the kickstarter.  I promised to remodel an arcade and provide a place for people who love arcades somewhere to go.  This has not changed, and although there has been a change in location, that does not affect the fact that there will be a physical location that people can attend as soon as possible.  Also, there was a grand opening party promised, but due to many things going wrong we were stuck in a sort of stand still in terms of progress being made to complete the remodeling process.  A stage and stream area was never finalized and also the truss beams were never installed due a few factors.  But back to the main point.  The plans to have a fully remodeled arcade are still being worked on and that will not change.

Now onto a subject that has bothered me for some time and recently talking to a few people that used to attend our events, I have had a chance to try to put myself into their shoes to get their perspective on things.  I was told that the way I went about saving the arcade was in sense a "guilt trip" and set a negative tone towards people.  They didnt like the idea that I was blaming the community for their lack of attendance and stating that this was the cause for the downfall of the arcade.  This is where things can get sticky although this person has claimed to respect me for always being honest, he lost all respect for me an a business owner.  This is where I can start explaining myself and hopefully people can understand my personal view on this matter.  A typical business owner normally goes into business with the plan of making money.  I was basically handed an empty arcade overnight and left with a decision to either keep things going, or let the place just fade away.  This was back at the end of 2012 when Ralph decided to shut down operations.  So I stepped in and with the help of some people we ran a very large raffle that generated roughly $11,000 and gave away prizes somewhere in the retail worth of maybe $3,500.  The money gained from this raffle/donation drive was used very carefully to fill the arcade with machines and keep things going.  At that time I also had some savings I used to keep scraping by every month to keep the arcade up and running.  With all that, I managed to keep the shop running for about a year with no hiccups and people seemed to enjoy our events hosted there.  But just like any other business, the seasons change, business starts to slow down, and eventually financials do become a big issue.  This is where the idea of a kickstarter came about and how it all went down.

Now mind you, I work a ton of hours at the arcade just to keep it in decent condition.  There is a lot of things that are very time consuming when running a place that serves the public and when it comes to being clean, that is not a customers first priority.  Even just including the 3 nights a week where we are open till 3am to accommodate our customers, its not a simple task to work till that late a time and maintain a normal sleep schedule.  Regardless, youve heard it a million times, yeah yeah yeah, we work hard, we work long hours blah blah blah.  Thats really not the issue here though.  The real issue is, if people are not going to show up, then what is the point of continuing on with the arcade?  So as usual I spoke my mind and told the people that the arcade is dying due to a lack of attendance.  If it was a case of people not showing up and it was taking away my steak and lobster dinners, no problem, we can downgrade to McDonalds all day.  The problem is, we rely on each and every person that steps through that door to barely make it by every month, and when the attendance dips, money comes out of my savings to keep the shop alive.  So basically the kickstarter was a last ditch effort to either have the fans and patrons help out and rebuild the shop, or we could just close down and not have wondered what might have been.  The FGC showed its support and our kickstarter was fully funded, allowing us to move on and build a better Super Arcade for everyone to enjoy.  But here lies another problem.  Now all of sudden what seemed to be an achievement was somehow twisted into Watson was begging for money.  Let me say this, I was always a person that kept to myself and just worked hard to gain what I wanted in life.  This arcade put me in financial turmoil and I asked the people if they wanted to keep the arcade around, then they would have to pay for it.  I never begged for money from anyone and I even had to stoop down very low and borrow money on many occasion just to get by.  People dont see what really happens behind closed doors and only see the nights where we are packed and think we are raking in the big bucks.......  dream on.....

So as things stand now, I really hope people dont feel like I was trying to guilt trip them into attending our shop and events.  I never had the intention and only complained publicly because you always here people say, "I wish I went more before they closed" or "I shouldve hit up more tourneys," and then when they dont, the business shuts down and you are left with no where to go.  I simply stated the obvious that people werent showing up and if they wanted the doors to stay open they needed to make an effort.  If I was wrong for doing so, Im not sure how to explain it because I dont feel as though I have wronged anyone.

My job now is to continue searching for a better location and gets things up and running as soon as possible.  We are looking at our options locally for now but if nothing pans out we will still pursue other surrounding cities who will grant a business license for an arcade.  This is a tougher task than many people can understand, but its not impossible either.  Anyways, its 5 minutes before the new years kicks in, hope all of you have a safe time and heres to a brighter year ahead.  Happy New Years Everyone.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Why We Left Our Location And Some Questions To Be Answered pt 1

Hello everyone.  This year didn't close out exactly as expected but I do feel making the choice of finally changing locations is the only option in moving forward with Super Arcade.  I know many people have complained about this scenario, and to some extent they have their right to.  I actually went on stream as soon as things were panning out to explain everything so if you care to watch our "press conference," here is the link. YouTube Link

Basically the video just sums up the major questions of why we are relocating, how much money was wasted at the current location, and whats next.  The main reason we are relocating is because the rent is $6,000 and even with the upgrades and new tourney schedules, it just doesn't make any sense.  My month to month lease was also canceled as of December 4th and I was being forced to either leave or sign a long term lease.  For anyone who thinks it's easy to pay $6,000 over and over and over, regardless of the turnout we have here, please think again.  When business is slow, the bills do not stop.  I have kept the place open for 2 years regardless of what was going on as there was always slow weeks just like any other business.  The arcade business is definitely not profitable but I continued to do it because it is my passion, and I will continue to do so because this is what I live for.  As of this moment I do not have an exact location picked out, but the new spot does have a few requirements.  First off the lease must be no more than $4,500, have ample parking space where cars will not be towed for parking during late hours, and also have a minimum of 3,000 square feet of space.

Now let's get to the part about wasting money.  So basically we replaced the entire flooring in the arcade area, replaced all the lighting, replaced the ceiling, painted the walls and ceiling, and of course.... remodeled the restroom.  I would say a close estimate of roughly $18,000 was used to change and repair the cosmetic aspects of the arcade that are lost.  The only positive out of this was that if I moved, I would have had to repair everything anyways before leaving because the floor and restroom were not even close to usable at the time and I would have lost my deposit of $7,000 had that happened.  So aside from the time spent, roughly $11,000 is wasted but once the new location is up, I will be saving at least $1,500 a month just in rent and that number can easily be recovered.

The last couple months Super Arcade was gaining momentum and the revenue was showing a nice upswing especially since Super Arcade and Level Up parted ways.  I don't know why things aren't obvious that by not having Level Up here, the arcade's revenue is definitely in better shape and people still say things about the situation as if they know exactly what's going on.  Let me break it down real plain and simple....  And this has been on my mind for a very long time but I feel it's time to finally let the truth be told.  The decision for the departure was not brought up on my end, but it was ultimately my choice in the final outcome.  As it was 100% obvious, the arcade was struggling for a very long time, yet the situation I was in was not helping as I was splitting the revenue from venue fees for both #WNF and #TRB.  Funny thing is, I wasn't receiving a split from the stream revenue or possible sponsorship money coming in........  In the beginning, this deal was made almost 4 years ago on a handshake and I wasn't the owner at the time.  My goal was to get people in the building and have them spending money on our arcade cabinets and concessions.  Eventually the tourney crowds started to spend less and less on arcade machines, and just focused on using the consoles on those evenings.  I also became the sole owner 2 years ago and it is partially my fault for not renegotiating the deal.  So all in all, without Level Up being at Super Arcade for the final month I think our income increased at least by $2,000.  I was also irked a bit by the comments posted on Level Up's official website when they released the news of their departure from our location.  Level|Up's Statement  If you read through this, they mentioned that financials became an issue for me, yet they fail to mention they were making almost double what I was making for these events they worked so hard to get me..........  Regardless, we agreed that business is business and at the end of the day, this move was in our favor and I truly have no beef with Valle.  And for the people saying that I used Level Up for our kickstarter and nonsense like that, let me say this.  If anyone wanted the kickstarter to work, it was them because they had so much to gain from my establishment.  I payed the rent, I payed for the electricity, I payed for the internet service, and they had a free ride with no risk.  I was also the one who did all the work in making the kickstarter happen and I received no help from them during the remodel.

So there you have the truth about the situation and now maybe people will fully understand why things turned out the way they did.  I was not ditched by Valle, I didn't kick him out either, and I was foolish for not renegotiating our conditions.  Live and learn and move on.  I will be making another blogpost real soon in regards to some recent conversations I have had with the people who supported us and I want to spend some time to address and share my thoughts on them.  Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

What Happened 10 Years Ago Regarding Evo

So if you have kept up with my blog and senseless rants on stream and what not, you would know that we just finished running what I thought was a really successful tournament that showcased the older games in the Fighting Game Community.  You would also know that with the success of this event there will probably be another one coming sometime later next year.  But we will get a little more into that at the later end of this post.  Today I am here to explain in as much detail as possible what was planned 10 years ago and how Evo was actually brought to the stage in Las Vegas.  Without further ado, here we go....

So fresh off the now famous "Evo Moment #37" the original tournament organizers, Tom and Tony Cannon, were feeling the drag of things and just wanted someone else to take the wheel and keep the event going.  This is the moment in time where I felt Wizard's life took a turn for the worse.  He was always one of those guys who pushed things to the extreme when given a chance.  He ran some tourneys while working for Golfland back in the day and made sure everyone knew he was the one that was so called "in-charge."  I would assume this comes from years of not having any type of power and always being shut down when it came to expressing himself.  I personally have no proof of so I cannot elaborate much, but through many years of interaction and discussion among our inner circle of friends, we all agreed that is the most likely cause.  Anyways, back to the story.  So the Cannons appointed Wiz as the new head of Evo and expected him to get things rolling.  The tournament was growing and Wiz knew he needed help so he came to talk to me.  I was given the role of "financial backer" at the time and we had a few meetings to discuss how we would handle things.  Here comes the part of the story where I can only talk from my perspective but everything aligns years later to all make sense.  As the financial backer I was also responsible for booking the venue and we agreed to throw Evo at the same location.  After securing this location and leaving a down payment, we go over some details and discuss things such as entertainment and expected revenue.  The year prior there was somewhere around 500-600 unique entries and the venue fee was $20 per person from what I recall.  That alone is $10,000-$12,000 in revenue from the players and enough to cover the cost of venue and other staffing required.  So throughout the talks Joey, who was actually the more sensible one and talking about doing things a little more economically, his obvious goal was to make money from it.  My view was totally different as I already had an outside source of income and wanted to make this experience awesome for the people in attendance.  At one point I brought up doing free raffles and giving away things like brand new Playstations, Dreamcasts, and even a car if we generated enough income from entries.  He was very against this and once again, he was definitely in it for the money.  Another funny idea I had was bringing in dancers and porn stars to wiggle it in a cage or something.  Just an idea to spice up the tourney as I had a close friend at the time who's older brother was making a ton of money selling non-mosaic japanese porn DVDs and also had the rights to a few popular stars at the time.  Kind of a null fact but throwing that in there for your entertainment :)  So anyways, as it stood, we weren't in agreement on how we wanted things but I knew he was the boss in this situation and just said screw it, I'll do my part and let's make it happen.

2 weeks later.... Days go by and we are nearing closer and closer to the scheduled event.  I haven't spoke to Wiz for a bit and figure I might as well contact him to see if I needed to cover anything else on my part.  This is where everything goes bad and where I seriously should of cut of any ties with him as a friend and as a business partner.  His first comment to me was, "Why didn't you contact me?  We didn't speak for like 3 months!"  Mind you, I wasn't the only one at this meeting and I do have witnesses.  This has always been a thing for Wiz.  He never takes any initiative and always finds a way to blame someone else for anything, but this time it was obviously on purpose as he needed a way out of our verbal agreements.  Come to find out this guy has been in talks with MLG and somehow was receiving a free room to throw Evo in Vegas.  Wow, a free room, that equals more profits and more money we can throw at the players in terms of prizes and what not.  Awesome!!  But wait a minute....... The picture was getting all too clear and all too fast.  I was getting the boot.  There was no formal explanation, there was no friendship when money became involved.  All that existed at this very moment was me being told I made no effort to contact Wiz and him and Seth were going to work with MLG and it was my fault.....  Had I been told that I was just the "financial backer" or even given some other bs story about how I wasn't needed, I honestly would have been fine with all this.  But to basically just make up some crap about how I didn't contact him for over 3 months, which is impossible obviously, then just boot me out of the blue, this was step 1 in discovering how unprofessional this person was when it came to dealing with anything involving money or power.

Now as a complete outsider to this whole situation, you might wonder why I would be so upset, or even think of it as somewhat petty to hold any type of grudge, so let me explain further.  I was approached to help firstly as this was not my idea.  I also did my part and reserved the venue, paid for the venue, and then was kept out of the loop which could've cost me a few thousand dollars in deposits.  Then all of a sudden another opportunity arose and this greedy bastard just dropped me liked yesterday's news and split without even having the courtesy of telling me as soon as possible so I could cancel a reservation and save myself some money?  There is also the factor that at this point we are supposed to be friends.  This isn't a situation where I was just an outsider and trying to pry my way into something.  I was invited in and we were friends at the time.  I was more fortunate that Wiz along with many others and we always offered him rides since he didn't have a car or a driver's license till he was somewhere in his mid 20's.  Mind you I was also the one who took him to buy his first car that he still owns to this day.  So that hopefully explains to you the position I was in when this stuff occurred.  It's sad to bring all this up cause I just don't want to be that guy that causes someone else to fall.  But if my info leads to a revolution and causes the FGC to become a better place, than so be it.  I tried to tell the Cannons about what happened but their response was basically, it's not a lot of money Mike, just let it go.  I continued to approach them and let them know that I felt really uncomfortable with the fact they they had built up this whole thing and now they are just letting Wiz reap all the benefits.  But they are self made millionaires and have a very huge heart.  They saw it as something that wasn't a big deal at the time and just saw that the community was moving in a good direction and let some stuff slide I suppose.  At this point I'm just glad they came back on board and are not only running things, but also making a couple bucks as well.  As for Wizard, that's a whole different story.  He doesn't deserve anything and he is just a completely selfish prick with an ego the size of Barry Bond's head.  I will keep discussing matters along a timeline and I honestly hope the Cannons eventually do something about it.  I hope Wiz losses his position at Evo because its obvious that PR is not his forte.  Even if he has to step back and take a position where he isn't the face of it all, that would satisfy me.  If the public sees and hears enough, I hope they will make an effort and speak up to get what they want.  This is not what the FGC deserves, and it's not what Wizard deserves.  Speak up for the community you claim to love, speak up for what you feel is right, and do what you can to make it a better place.  That's all i ask from you guys.

As of now, the biggest slap in the face is having something succeed, and after #37Reloaded succeeded I feel some sense of satisfaction that our community is still strong and loves to play the games that helped our community grow.  I can also insert the fact that Wizard's involvement in this tournament was declined also due to the fact he thought it would not make money...... shocker right?  The majority of feedback was positive and the atmosphere at the event was amazing to say the least.  People were playing games all day on Saturday and this didn't stop till we kicked them out at midnight.  Also, if anyone ever complains that they can't run an event on time, or didn't have enough help, let me tell you this.  Our tournament was technically staffed by 5 people and a 2 helpers.  We had 2 guys holding down the stream, 2 dedicated bracket runners, and 2 people helping with brackets and locating players that didn't report to their stations, and myself who was taking care of all registrations and badges at the front along with anything else that needed help.  If you put your mind to it, you can do it, and if you are doing something you truly love and care about, it makes it that much easier.  This time around we were fortunate to make very minimal money on the event, but our point was to make this fun for everyone create a positive name for Super Arcade.  Hopefully we have achieved both and next time around we can worry about the financial side a bit more.  I would like to thank all the fans for making this event possible and also a huge shout out to everyone who helped us.  One person in the community that is well known and liked by all of us tournament organizers is a gentleman by the name of Aaron "Kapwan" Smith.  He has helped us at Super Arcade during our weeklies and also at most of the local majors that have taken place.  He is a die hard game fan and also one of the true bright spots in the community that works hard for all of you and helps everyone have a great tournament experience.  I would like to thank you personally Aaron for everything you have done for us and although the job is truly thankless, you sir deserved to be thanked more than anyone.  Thank you once again and see you soon buddy.

And on that note, this concludes another post, and although its not the wham, bam, thank you mam you have come to expect from me, it provides some history as to what went on and why Evo was transported to Vegas.  Money, money, money, money........  At least the event is amazing now and people have something to look forward to once a year as a fighting game fan, too bad it's involved with someone who could give 2 shits about the community and only cares about the mighty dollar.  Thanks again for reading and I'll be back again soon with more history and blowups.  Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving and thanks for reading!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

More Personal Experiences and My Fun Time at EVO!

So it's already obvious that social media is stronger than ever and now everyone's voice can be heard.  In this small community we have many people have different opinions and we can't always get along.  We tend to joke around a lot and talk smack openly in forums and what not, but at the end of the day we do amazing things and that is why we are still here and thriving.  The problem is though, we are thriving in the public's eye because the internal drama was manageable and wasn't causing enough of a rift to fuss about.  But at this point one person has made me change my views on many things and this one person has basically pushed me over the edge.  I remained quiet over many situations that have occured over the past ten or more years and I stuck by the scene and let people do their thing.  I noticed the scene was growing and didn't want to interfere with progression, although I could've spoken up a long time ago and made a mess, I didn't.  I didn't do any of this because I believed the person causing the issue was a genuine friend and I did not want to harm a community that was barely staying alive at the time.  At this point I feel as though the FGC is strong enough to handle itself and it is time to point out some flaws and hopefully make some changes.  The sad thing is though, in order to make changes for the better, someone is going to be hurt in the process and exposed for all the things he has done.  I might sound like a scorned, hateful, and vengeful person who has been black balled by the community I hold dear to my heart.  I might come off and some crazy lunatic spewing nonsense and making up stories just to satisfy my ego.  I might even sound like some old man with a slight case of dementia, telling war stories of the past but altering these tales to my own liking.  These might all be the case, but let me tell you something.  I honestly have nothing to gain by telling you all these stories and if anything I am at risk of excluding myself from the community I have fought so hard to keep alive.

Before I tell you guys the brief incidents which actually led to all this exposure and hateful writing, I want reassure you that although I am not in the happiest state of mind, I am still positive that my efforts will bring forth positive change and allow people to pass their own judgement regarding this person I am going to be talking about.  So prior to my last post I was talking about how "Evo Throwback" was eventually changed to "#37Reloaded" and basically gave you guys an idea as to how things work for Wizard.  I am going to go into further detail about a few things they occurred over Evo weekend and some details leading up to that week.  So keep in mind we are still in talks about planning the tourney and everything is cordial up to this point.  So let me first talk about what I find a little disturbing and borderline crazy.  I was told by Wizard that I was possibly up for a Cannon Award along with Henry Cen.  As a person who cares about the community and respects the Cannon's to the fullest, this was actually something pretty cool and very rewarding after putting in so much work.  For those of you who don't know what the Cannon Award is, basically it is an award acknowledging the hard work and contributions one has made towards the community.  Anyways, so we continue to discuss this and Wiz mentions that Henry has gone on stream and talked bad about women or something which eventually nullified his chances of winning anything.  Bummer....  Then he goes on to state that the Cannons watched some of our "NSFW" stream archives and were worried that my image was a little to harsh in the public's view.  I am obviously concerned but I do recognize that my actions are not always everyone's cup of tea.  I tell him that I am a little disappointed and it does sting a little to know I have come so close to something I wanted so bad.  He also tells me that although there is some issues, it's not 100% clear who will be receiving the award and that the trophies are already made and only the Cannons know who the winner will be the day of the ceremony.  Ok, so let's look over these details for a second.  First, I am told I am up for a shot to win the award, then I am told I might not win cause of some stream archives, I am informed that there is in fact a trophy with my name on it and even if I don't win he can possibly give it to me anyways.  All this build up, all this drama, all for what?  He even goes as far as telling me that I still have a shot and just to wait for things to unfold.  So all this is leading up to a point where his actions are becoming borderline psychotic and hes basically trolling the sh*t out of me.  Now onto more of the story.....

So Super Arcade is granted a booth in the main hall at Evo.  This is a huge deal because we are the only booth to be located in the main hall and I am excited to be given this chance for more exposure for our shop, but also a golden opportunity to make some decent money.  In exchange for the booth space, I am required to bring arcade cabinets that are to be set on free play for everyone to use during Evo on both Friday and Saturday.  Granted the cost of having a booth at Evo isn't cheap, and being in the main hall is such a huge deal, I quickly agree to the terms and calculate all the costs.  Truck rental was roughly $1200 with insurance, $900 for gas, $1500 for full time tech to come which including his food and hotel stay.  So all in all the cost to get a booth for me was $3600 and I was assuming this would be easily covered by tshirt sales and other various items we brought with us.  So Thursday afternoon we get all the machines loaded up and start headed out for Vegas.  We are taking our time driving the truck just trying to be safe and conserve fuel and eventually arrive at the tournament hall around 10:30pm.  First thing I hear from Wizard is "You didn't even call me to let me know your location etc etc etc."  This is the first sign of things to come as this dude was already on a power trip for the weekend.  So I ask him where my spot is and start unloading everything.  I have arcade cabs, boxes of shirts, and other misc items to bring in and it takes a while to get everything done.  As I am bringing things in, of course I just start stacking stuff in my general area and placing things in a border around my allotted space.  At this time I get two more complaints from the Wiz.  He says my boxes are an eyesore and he didn't tell me to place the cabs in the particular spots they were in.  I quickly reply, "He Joey, no problem, tell me exactly where you want the cabs and I will arrange them exactly as you wish."  He then keeps complaining and fortunately Chris Li, big dude that helped with security and hands out the medals to finalists, comes around and says "Joey! Mike just said he will move them right now exactly as you like.  What's the problem?"  So not even one hour into my Evo experience of 2014 I am dealing with this maniac.  Granted the stress levels are through the rough for him trying to organize this entire ordeal, but man, open your eyes when someone is already conforming to your complaints.  So we move the cabinets into the formation he desires and after about 2 hours of unloading and organizing, my booth space is finally to his satisfaction.  After all this I go seek out the Cannons to thank them for everything and I even bring up the fact that I knew about the possibility of winning their award and understand why I might not win.  They probably thought I was crazy at that moment because come to find out Wizard was making shit up the whole time, but regardless, I asked them for a few minutes on stage to thank people for our Kickstarter's success and they say no problem.  So I end the night on a good note knowing I can thank everyone on the biggest stage and head back to my room to sleep.

EVO Day 1: So morning comes and I know some works needs to be done in terms of setting up the arcade machinery so I get to the hall around 8am. Of course some of the cabs are having issues as expected with these type of electronics so I begin to troubleshoot the problems and get things moving along.  My tech was staying at another hotel nearby and arrived around 9am.  Some of the problems we were having were beyond my repair and the main reason I paid someone to come with me on this trip.  At 9:30am Wiz walks by and tells me, "Watson, this is embarrassing for Evo and you need to get all your shit working."  Okay, maybe 2 cabs out of 10 were not up and running at 100% at the time and obviously being worked on, and this dude still making it a point to come over and complain.  No problem, my bad captain, and we keep trying to fix things.  Eventually everything gets up and running and I don't see Wiz for a maybe half the day.  People are having a great time playing some old school stuff like MvC2, CVS2, and ST.  T-shirts are selling well for the first two hours and all everything seems to be going great.  Then eventually sales come to a halt and reality starts sinking in that I might not make any money and might even take a loss with the inventory costs factored in.  We also promised to loan a couple cabinets to the Super Turbo tournament to help things run smoothly and thankfully someone from that community was very generous and helped us cover some costs of travel.  So Friday night comes along and the highly anticipated match up of team #WNF vs team #NLBC is about to happen on stage.  This is the time that I was supposed to be able to grab the mic and thank people, but as time was becoming an issue as it was already 11pm or so, I guess the people forgot and I didn't press the issue trying to avoid being a hassle.  Anyhow, team #WNF wins in dominating fashion and our team is happy along with myself cause team #WNF basically represents Super Arcade.  So chalk up the victory and time to head off to bed.

EVO Day 2: Arrive at the hall around 8:30am to make sure everything is working fine and things kick off well as we are selling a good amount of product and just having a good time hanging out.  People are taking pictures with us and I get a chance to talk to a lot of people I only see once a year at this amazing event.  But then again, sales come to an almost dead halt and the stress begins to build.  Regardless, near the end of the night Joey finds some time to come over and chat with us and asks me about my sales and stuff.  This time around he was super friendly and I guess after most of the brackets were done, things have gone seemingly well and his stress was relieved.  Good job Wiz, glad you got over your bitchy mood and was able to communicate with us feeble beings in a kind manner.  So the hall is being prepped for finals day and we are required to pack up all our stuff so they can finish.  After loading up almost everything I start talking to Wizard telling him I am probably going to just head home and not hang out for the finals.  I tell him I am bummed out that sales didn't go too well and also bummed out about not winning the Cannon Award.  He kind of hints to me that I'm not 100% out of the running and that I should come chill the next day.  Oh really?  Now here's the point where its becoming more and more obvious that this dude is seriously just f*cking with me.  For what reason?  I am not exactly sure, but I know for a fact he likes pushing buttons and gets a kick out it.  So after persuading me to stay we all just kind of hang out in the hall for a bit.  Spooky comes by to chat for a bit along with the other hard working staff that are still there finishing up for the night.  Everything seems cool and although things aren't going completely as expected, I love Evo and these interactions with people you like are what makes events like this so great.  Okay, on to the last day.

EVO Day 3: I get to the hall around 12:30-1:00pm and Killer Instinct top 8 is going on.  I walk up to the front with my buddy Hungbee, who is also a friend of Joey's, and we ask where can we sit.  The place is already packed and every year we have attended Evo we sit in the command center that is generally placed in the center of the hall and for staff only.  This year there was no command center but there were sofas placed up front, so we attempted to sit there only to get denied by Wiz.... no problem buddy, these seats are saved for the corporate staff we are told.  So we wander off and can't find seating so we just step out for a bit.  Hung didn't want to bother and later on Mando hits me up so we return to the room.  We still can't find seating and Joey tells us there is a section for venders with reserved seating for us after being denied access to the front again.  We try to find this seating and eventually wind up sitting on the floor at the front right side of the room.  Not gonna pull the we are important card, cause obviously we are just peons now to the "Corporate Evo" so we make the most of it and just enjoy some matches.  Mind you I am here still thinking it's a possibility I am going to win an award.  So Smash Brothers top 8 starts and the first award ceremony kicks off.  It's very obvious who this is going to and very deservedly so.  I don't have much interaction with Prog but I know of him and know what he means to his community.  Huge props to him and I am genuinely happy he is recognized for everything he's done.  Ok, so we sit through more finals and now finally the second award ceremony begins.  I feel like a little kid and start getting excited.  The words announcing the winner were even fitting for me........ "And this Cannon Award goes to... this guy is an absolute workhorse.....he's done this longer than a great big brother figure to a lot of people here.... give it up for............ "  I can't explain what I am feeling inside when I hear the build up to this.  In my head I'm thinking, wow Wizard, this is so cool, maybe you aren't that big POS and maybe you genuinely are trying to make things right after 10 years.......  Then I hear "BIG E!!!  come up to the front."  Ouch.  This was the final shot that ended a fake friendship of over 15 years.  I immediately got up and started walking out of the hall not saying anything to anyone after this moment.  Had Joey been in my path on the way out, I might have gone to jail that evening.  It still stings to this day, I'm not gonna lie, but I have come to grips with it and who's to say I deserve anything.  This is the Cannon Award and it's their name on it.  They have every right to give it to who they feel, and don't get me wrong, BigE is the man and deserves this more than anyone.  But to be dragged through this whole fiasco by Wizard was a bit much.  He even went as far as stating before the fact that Tom Cannon felt bad and wanted to give me a card or a medal, and also a pink chip to make up for it....

So let's examine this gentleman's actions.  I think I have shown that he is a power hungry person and when in the position just wants to yell and people and flex his authority without cause.  There are witnesses to these events.  Then he is also a very cold hearted person to know that during one of the worst times in my life, a shining moment like winning the Cannon Award would make everything seem all worthwhile, he decides to make up lie after lie and intentionally try to cause me heartache.  All these instances are very real and there are many witnesses to everything.  I have already said on stream that only the things you care about can hurt you, and this was one of those instances.  I love the community, I love Evo, and I respect the Cannons more than anyone in the entire scene.  This is why I was so hurt over the situation and why I no longer will be quiet about Wizard's bullshit.  Here's a short recap.

Get bitched for not telling Wiz where I was on the road
Get yelled at after conforming and yelling only stops when someone steps in to stop him
Get lied to over and over about winning Cannon Award

Aside from all this I come to find out that the winner's of the award are actually known a month in advance.  I also get word that Wizard was telling people not to help me with my tourney.  So this work of art not only intentionally tries to f*ck with me emotionally, but also tries to sabotage something he didn't want to be a part of.  I really hope our tournament this weekend is a success and I hope people have a lot of fun here.  Because success is going to be the biggest slap in the face for this jackass like I said before, I am only just getting started.  Wait for more stuff to come out about this guy and let's see how his current position of power holds up.......

Thank You all for reading as this post really took a lot out of me.  I would like to apologize to the Cannon's though if I have brought about any needless drama.  I can no longer be quiet about this guy and I really hope you guys do something about finding a new face to handle the biggest and baddest fighting game tournament in the world.  Wait till I tell you all what happened 10 years ago.  Then you will see more of how much a slimeball this guy really is.

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Relationship Between Super Arcade and Level Up

This blog has definitely taken a turn from being something heartfelt and turning into what is basically a tell all about the Fighting Game Community.  Although this change is only going to be temporary, I would like to apologize to some of the people that might be offended.  The stories and issues I will be talking about do reflect my true feelings and my view of some situations may change the way some of you view me as a person or change your view of my establishment.  My goals have always been very clear though and that is something that will not change.  I have always been 100% honest and never sugar coated anything here.  I receive some criticism for being "unprofessional" and "crude" but in order to describe and tell things with authenticity, this is road that is sometimes traveled.  Anyways, onto the things I would like to discuss in this chapter.  This portion will be explaining the relationship between Level Up Productions and Super Arcade and also some of my personal views regarding the community.

For starters, I found it odd that people did not know "Level Up" and "Super Arcade" were two different entities.  Level Up is a production company run by Alex Valle and crew while Super Arcade is the establishment owned by me where Level Up held events such as Wednesday Night Fights and The Runback.  Super Arcade joined forces with Level Up about 4 years ago when the arcade was under ownership from someone else and I was the acting manager at the time.  Prior to my presence at Super Arcade, Level Up was running events at various locations and never really found a solid home for their #WNF tournaments.  As it was, Super Arcade was located right in between Los Angeles and Orange County and deemed the perfect spot where people could attend events frequently and in a location where someone in the community had full control over.  We normally stayed open till 3am on these nights and the people appreciated the fact that they had somewhere to hang out where they weren't forced to leave at an early time.  Things were going so well that we had to split up the event and start running a Thursday night tourney known as "The Runback."  The FGC in SoCal was flourishing once again and the arcade was definitely the place to be.  Then of course things started to simmer down and the arcade wasn't making enough money to keep the owner at the time happy.  Sometime around early January of 2013, the previous owner called it quits and I was left with two options.  Try to pick up the pieces, or just let the place close up and go back to my normal life.  As you all know, with the help of the community we ran a huge raffle and raised about $11,000 thanks to MadCatz and various other parties involved.  This was our new life we did what we could to revitalize a completely empty arcade.  Anyways, back to the point I was trying to make.  So initially Super Arcade had an agreement with Level Up as to how revenue splits were going to work and everything was fine and dandy.  This verbal contract was never renegotiated when I became the sole owner and of course the blame lies with both parties.  The deal Level Up was getting was very good for their side and I'm sure they knew this and had no intention of changing it unless forced to.  I'm not going to say that this lopsided agreement was the main reason for Super Arcade to fall on hard times and lead to us starting a Kickstarter, but I will admit fault and say I didn't do my part to initiate a contract renewal of any sort.  Many of you guys out there will never know the harsh realities of running a business and how hard it is to make business decisions when feelings or friends are involved.  For those of you who do, you will understand the statement that friends and money never mix.  Fortunately for myself and Alex, we are grown adults and we have been through both good and bad times together.  Our split is a mutual understanding of what needs to be done, and also an acknowledgement that our goals are not the same.  As a friend, Alex has helped me out by loaning us some equipment and still supporting our event.  This is a gesture that shows there is absolutely no animosity between us and we continue to want each other to succeed.  We just don't want to succeed in the same areas any longer and in order for growth to be achieved, parting ways was the only viable option.

As to our new tournaments, I have received both good and bad feedback from the viewers.  I want to say this to those of you who keep bringing up the fact that Super Arcade's so-called unprofessional style will lead to a loss of sponsors and money.  When Super Arcade was "professional" do you think I received any of those benefits or saw any money from any sponsors?  Do you know for a fact what I was taking home from these sponsors you speak of?  I was granted the use of loaner computers from Alienware that my players hated.  But they all sucked it up because I told them in the long run we would get more sponsorships out of this and it would open doors for the FGC.  The local community here willingly played on a system that they were not happy with and on a system that was obviously flawed.  The game would freeze and lag on multiple occasions and even skip frames to the point where your character would disappear for a second and reappear somewhere else on the screen.  I felt bad for our loyal attendees and guilty at the same time.  I let this happen and was starting to ruin their fun and not staying true to making Super Arcade the best gaming experience for the players.  This was probably a main reason I wholeheartedly agreed to the split to begin with.  Aside from not being happy with the current contract, and not wanting to renege on a verbal agreement between friends, this whole computer issue was bothering me.  I rebuilt an arcade to cater to the people that supported us, and now I was in the center of destroying it.  Something had to be done, and well, this just so happened to fall in my lap.  Being as I was under the extreme stress of putting a tournament together and being told the main star was going to be a no-show, I went on stream to rant about it and also went on to discuss other issues I was unhappy with, ie. Mr Mcrib.  I also talked about how I was unhappy with how eSports was essentially being shoved down our throats and the only thing people could see was the money aspect of it all.  In fear of losing sponsorships, Alex and crew came down at 1:30am to talk to me about the situation and basically portrayed a sense of disappointment.  Mind you I just got off the mic from being on a rant and still a little emotional over the situation and then I have two people showing up at my shop that normally wouldn't come down unless something was wrong.  This just showed me that they were both very serious about the entire ordeal we all know how that wound up.  If Level Up was worried that much about their own image then let it be.  They needed to protect themselves from any backlash I might have caused and I needed to bring back what the players wanted here at my establishment.  I'm not sure why people are making so many assumptions as to why and what happened when it has been explained by both of us many times.  I did not kick Level Up out of Super Arcade and this choice was initiated by them in which I gladly accepted.  I also see people accusing me of being a backstabber and kicking them out after the helped me with the Kickstarter.  To those people, please explain to me how they helped aside from spreading the word like the rest of the community?  I worked very hard on that project with a gentleman by the name of Talis and if anything, Level Up needed it to succeed so they could continue to have a place to use as a venue.  Everything was a two-way street in this relationship and it's kind of insulting to see their statement regarding our split written as though it wasn't....  One other thing I wanted to mention was they just brought on a guy to be their new community manager and he literally just popped out of nowhere.  I have nothing against this gentleman but he had the nerve to post on his twitter account of 400 followers the following : "Our statement on the and split."  It's like cmon man...  You have barely been around for a month, you are in a probation period with your title, and yet you have the nerve to use the term "our" as if you are actually involved in this matter?  Let the people involved handle this and just focus on your job please.

Anyhow, while I am here working my butt off endlessly to keep a scene alive, people around me are aiming to become something I do not support.  I am not a puppet nor will I "sell out" to appease these companies who throw chump change at my community and expect the world.  Street Fighter does not have the fanbase these computer games have, nor does it have the appeal they generate to a much larger audience.  As sad as it is to admit, Street Fighter can never reach the levels of League of Legends or D.O.T.A. for one simple reason.  The money fighting games make is miniscule compared to the money these other games generate.  Plain and simple, if Street Fighter isnt making the manufacturer hundreds of millions of dollars, you won't see prize pools of millions of dollars.  It's very basic logic and you can continue to turn a blind eye to it if you like, but the economics won't change.  Would it be cool to see people battle it out in the game you love for a ton of money?  Of course!  But let's think realistically for a second.  The only way Street Fighter can get bigger and attract more sponsors is to have in run on a computer and not an Xbox, and at this time the computer is not a good port.  I know my views are not popular amongst everyone, and I have no problem with that.  My problem is only to expose people who pretend to have a good heart yet show nothing but ruthlessness behind the scenes.  I hope this clarifies the situation because it really is getting old and we have already moved on.  Thank you all for reading and I promise the next post will be juicy and expose someone for more childish antics and heartless intentions.  Gimme two days to get that one going and until then, enjoy your games and have a great day.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

How #37 Reloaded came about and exposure pt 1

Boy oh boy, this has been a very stressful and draining week both physically but more so mentally.  There is so much to talk about and a few things that need some explanation and clarification.  The first situation I would like to discuss our upcoming tournament "#37 Reloaded."  For those of you who do not know what this is, this is a tournament celebrating what is known as "Evo Moment #37."  The reason this moment is heralded as the moment Street Fighter was brought into the general public's eye.  Aside from the fact this was a display of tremendous skill under the highest levels of pressure, it also showed a truly genuine crowd reaction and illustrates our community's love for fighting games.  This event occurred 10 years ago, and as a celebration in a sense, we are hosting this event in the exact same location where this magic happened.  The two players involved, Daigo Umehara and Justin Wong, will both be in attendance and competing in the lineup of games we have already set.  There will also be a friendly exhibition match between both of them just for old times sake. 

Okay, enough description as I'm sure you all get the point :)  So this event was originally planned a few months before Evo 2014 even took place.  The original idea was to call this event "Evo Throwback" and to run the games that Evo ran that year.  I talked to one of the staff of SRK about running this and we were working on the idea that I would be the one handling all the grunt work and the event, while SRK would be responsible for advertising and taking registration.  So as time goes on I go and get info in regards to venue sizing and costs, then I come back with the numbers so we can start planning on the next steps.  Throughout this ordeal I was constantly being called a lagger while I was the one out running around and doing work.  I was sitting here taking this dude's bs before the project was even off the ground.  It gets more and more ridiculous so please bear with me.  So as we inch closer to Evo I was asked to put everything into an email and make this a formal proposal.  His excuse was, "We are corporate now and this is just how things run Mike."  Okay, no problem chief, we want to make this legit, I totally get it and it's not a problem...  Email sent, no real progress after, just a few phone calls to make sure we are still on the same page.  So, Evo comes around, no word about the tournament at all during Evo, no mention of anything.  But hey, why bother advertising a gaming event at the world's largest gaming event?  That would be useless right?  I'll go more into that story later on.  So anyways, no announcement, not a mention of anything, then I ask about it and was told, "Evo is corporate, we cannot associate with Super Arcade's image, I'm sure you understand."  Whoa nelly.......  So you ask me to get all these things done, we plan this stuff out, you even ask me to make a formal proposal, then you just go and drop me this and expect me to let it go?  This is where the "power trips" start coming into play and I will go into much detail with other various examples and experiences.  So tourney is off and obviously I'm a bit frustrated.  A lot of stuff also went on during Evo weekend that led to even more drama to this, so there is a reason to all the build up.  So I am leaving Las Vegas and I decide to give MarkMan a call.  Mark is the PR for MadCatz and is my connection to having Daigo attend our tournament.  I spend some time with him on the phone discussing our tourney and ideas and things seem to be going well.  I then bring up the fact that I am having issues with one of the Evo staff members and ask if this will be an issue.  I am assured it won't so we continue on further discussions take place throughout the week to book Daigo for #37Reloaded.  After I settle the issue of getting Daigo here, my next step is to talk to the Cannon brothers and get their seal of approval.  I call Tom and ask him if he heard about the tourney I was planning and he replied no, then asked me to tell him about it......  So here is the issue.  I spent time talking to Wizard for months about this and the idea was never even brought up to the other members of SRK's staff?  Wizard went on to make this decision alone and shot me down without ever giving it a chance?  Now thats some garbage right there.  Wasted my time, wasted my effort, and basically just dicked me around for the fun of it.  Congrats on being an asshat dude.  You really do take the cake, and I'm just getting started.  Ok, so back to the phone call with Tom Cannon.  He asks me to fill him in on the idea and soon as I'm done he replies, "So when is this happening?"  Instantly this man likes the idea yet it was never run by him.....  The creator of SRK likes my idea, but it never saw the light of day because one person was so selfish he would rather put me down and not let something like this happen.  There is a trend here, and I promise by the end of my next few stories and posts, you will all start to see it.  I continue to tell Tom that I'm sorry, but this won't be a SRK/Super Arcade event anymore, and I am just giving him a courtesy call to let him know this and also ask for permission to use their footage from previous tourneys.  He agrees with the only stipulation being I do not use the Evo logo anywhere.  Done and done.  Thank you Tom.

So you guys fathom all this, take some time to just breath and think to yourself, have you been in any situation or heard any stories about Wizard doing something to your disliking.  I'll be back with more fuel to the fire so stick around.  It might be a fun ride.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Pushing Through And Moving Forward

I actually had a blog written up and was going to post it but due to an extremely tragic occurrence I decided to hold off and wait till now.  I still remember posting about the death of Nelson Reyes and also Patrick Collins just like it was yesterday.  I still feel the chills when thinking about how just one week prior to Patrick's death I was on the phone with the guy just chatting about a bunch of arcade stuff.  Each and every unfortunate member that has passed away in our beloved community has effected me in one form or another.  These few recent deaths are not the only ones I have been through as two more had happened a few years prior.  If you are somewhat old school in the Fighting Game Community you might have heard the names Dasrik or PSX2000.  I was fortunate enough to know both of these gentlemen and for those of you who knew them as well, I'm sure you would agree that they were both very special people.

The reason I bring all this up is because I wanted talk a little bit about Terrance Moore.  For those of you unfamiliar with that name, Terrance is a gentleman that went by the tag "PushaTee."  He was a very amazing person that brought a sense of happiness to everyone around him and he just had that one in a million type of personality that pierced the room when he entered.  In a community of such competitive nature and rivalries, Terrance was one of those shining lights that just made people happy.  One thing that i found amazing about Pusha is the fact that I never heard one single person speak a single negative word about him.  Now there's a ton of good guys in our community, and don't get me wrong, I notice them and have been noticing them for a very long time.  Be even good guys have a rival, or an enemy, and for some reason no matter how nice or how stand up a person you are, there will always be someone talking some crap behind your back.  But in the case of Terrance, I have never heard as much as a single peep from anyone stating any dislike towards him.  That just tells me that he was doing everything right and by the love and support the community has given him, it definitely shows.  For those of you who had never been in contact or had any interactions with him, I want you to know that your gift of kindness in helping his family is very appreciated and is going to a family of good people.

I almost feel bad for posting anything after talking about Pusha but this blog is for me to inform people and share thoughts so I shall keep it that way.  As I get older I am truly realizing the value of life and how important it really is to cherish all the little things.  You go through very many stages of your life and never realize the truly great experience each and every step can bring.  You also hear a lot of advice and stories from people who are already passed your current stage and usually take it for granted at the time.  I mean honestly, how many times have you heard someone tell you something and later on say... Hmmm, he was so right, why didn't I listen?  It's the little things like this that can actually be life changing.  I can go on and on about this subject, but it's honestly just a broken record.  Almost as if a permanent cycle of life, cause I for sure have done this many times only to realize..... damn, he was right.  I need to cut this post off short a bit due to finalizing things with PushaTee's memorial fund, and our stream tonight.  So please take some advice and just stop and listen to people once in a while.  I'll be back soon with more old man rants and needless bitching, but until then, thank you all for reading. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

More Updates, Current Progress, and Feedback.

Hello to all of you guys who take the time to read and keep up with everything I do here at Super Arcade.  Just wanted to stay in touch and let people know what's going on and where we currently stand in terms of current business hours and progress.  Firstly, this has been an extremely stressful time and no matter how many precautionary measures you take, something is bound to go wrong.  Regardless though, we are almost on track and I believe we will probably have a full on stage for our streaming area in less than 1 month.  We are also slowly adding in more games to our current lineup with the latest being Pirates of the Caribbean pinball and a 4-player Xmen cabinet.  Still holding onto the overall idea of not completely catering to the Fighting Game Community and adding more games that attract gamers of all ages.

Things have been going decent in terms of income and overall good feedback from our patrons.  The hours and hours and hard work seem to show and the general consensus is that the place is much cleaner, brighter, and more modern than before.  Oh yeah, we also have an occasional line to use to restroom...  Amazing!  One problem we are still running into though is keeping the floor clean.  I rent an industrial grade floor buffer every other week and get my hands dirty trying to keep all the gunk off the tiles.  It was kind of a crazy idea to go with a white floor but I feel the trade off in keeping the place looking bright is worth it.  We can also keep the normal overhead lights off and just leave the LED mood lighting on during the evening to cut costs and also keep a cool type of club look in a sense.  I know it seems like forever since we promised to have a "Grand Opening" and I will be first to say that I am not pleased at this.  There is nothing more I want to do than have the store open 7 days a week.  But at this time it is just not possible since we are waiting on about 10 more cabinets, a pair of basketball hoops, a stage, and our truss.  All these things are beyond my control and even with unlimited budgeting, which is something we obviously don't have, this would still be an issue.

For our kickstarter backers, here's a slight update on things as well.  Our backer plaque is done and just needs to be picked, T-shirts should be ready in about 10 days, commemorative Super Arcade tokens are still being worked on...... The only thing that doesn't have a definitive date are the 1st round of backer sticks.  The 2nd round of sticks are already here and some have been delivered, so please be patient.  We are still planning on a big party for our grand opening and hopefully people will still be interested in attending by that time.  The arcade will be closed to the public and we will have food, drink, and a DJ as promised.  Once again sorry for the delays, this isn't something I have full control over and working hard on my nagging skills to get things accomplished.

I also have another project I am working very hard on and if you are interested check it out at #37reloaded. This is Super Arcade's first major tournament and I am trying to leave a lasting impression.  It is very difficult to find a balance for a business to make a profit and to keep things reasonably priced and have everyone happy.  But as the saying goes, we all know its impossible to make everyone happy so I do what i feel is best.  We have raised the price slightly on our drinks to help cover the cost of maintaining the restroom.  Just the cost of paper towels and toilet paper have warranted this increase and I hope you all understand.  We also clean the restroom at least once every 2 hours to help keep it in immaculate condition and give you all that great experience when you enter!

Anyways, not much time to type today, so I hope I have covered some questions you guys might have.  I will try to post again soon and thank you all once again for supporting us.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Final update regarding VIP grand opening party, new streaming policies, and current status of the arcade

To say things have been stressful is a complete understatement at this point.  Being in a position where you are granted what is basically an opportunity to provide for the fans is such a huge responsibility and burden to have.  I fully understood this situation and still went ahead and tried to succeed in terms of running a Kickstarter campaign just in hopes that I could keep a location healthy and thriving for many years to come.  There were points prior and during the fundraising process that I questioned myself and whether or not this was a wise choice in life.  On one hand you have an arcade that has provided a ton of entertainment for many people both as a physical location and online through live streaming.  On the other hand, it was definitely not a profitable business and was draining me mentally, physically, and financially.  Ultimately I did launch the campaign and with the support and love from arcade lovers we were able to raise enough money to make a huge change here.  After many months of planning and about a month of hard labor we are now looking at a project that is roughly 80% complete.  Many of you that follow our blog and instagram account are up to date as far as the remodeling process and the many problems we have overcome so far.  We managed to finish just about everything cosmetically that we set out to accomplish which includes redoing the flooring, patching and painting the walls and ceiling, and most importantly redoing the restroom from hell!  We also added new gaming cubicles for that more professional and organized look and reworked our overhead lightning so people won't have an epileptic seizure from the flickering that used to occur.  There are two items that we are still waiting on though.  One being the truss metal beam system that is not only for awesome decoration but will provide us with the ability to place more lighting to create even more of a special feeling environment for everyone.  Another main item that is not quite ready is the stage/stream station.  This particular unit is being custom made and hopefully it will be ready within a couple more weeks at the latest.

For the most part we have received very good feedback regarding the direction we took in terms of overall appeal and cleanliness.  I can honestly say that arcade is almost too bright and clean at the moment.  But clean is usually good so let's hope our patrons have some respect and try not the wreck the place.  The restroom has been coined as "glorious" by many and I hope my attempts to bring some class to the place haven't gone unnoticed.  I feel as though my ideas and insight have transferred over from thoughts to reality pretty well.  I am normally my toughest critic but I do feel a sense of satisfaction when seeing the almost complete product and with all the positive reviews we have had so far I would hope to believe that I am not senile yet.  I have put in maximum effort and poured out my heart into this arcade.  I am honestly doing this for the people and as I have said before, I grew up in an environment of arcades and gaming and only wish for others to have the chance to do the same.  Although time changes things drastically, one thing that won't change is the positivity that comes from competitive human interaction and the importance of improving yourself.

I have put myself under too much stress in setting a date over and over for those who are waiting on our VIP grand opening party.  At this point I must postpone it one last time to Friday, September 26th.  By this time there is no excuse not to be 100% done with everything we have been waiting on and the arcade will be fully operational.  Although we have been open for events and tournaments it is very clear that we are not equipped to operate normal business hours as we are still waiting on the delivery of equipment and more arcade machines that are being repaired.  Also by setting this date a month away hopefully people can better plan and make sure they are here!  As previously stated, this party will include a DJ as well as food and drink.  So come hungry, thirsty, and prepared to have some fun.

Man oh man this blogpost seems to never end, but there are a couple more things that I should address.  We have only been open for 4 days and already there have been things being posted and dramatized quite heavily on various forums.  For starters, I would like to explain our streaming situation here and this is not a place where I am looking to chastise or single any one out.  Our goals here at Super Arcade are to bring games and gaming to a wider audience.  At the same time we are also seeking ways to infuse our loyal scene with increased prizes and pot bonuses.  To accomplish these goals we have finally organized our own twitch channel which is temporarily under the channel superdojo and a youtube channel under SuperArcadeFGC.  Eventually the twitch channel with be under "superarcade" and we will make the proper announcements once the change occurs.  Until then please follow us and tune in for all the content we will be bringing to the community.  You guys might ask, so where is the problem in all of this?  Well first off let me say that Super Arcade and Level Up Entertainment have a streaming partnership and Level Up will still be streaming Wednesday Night Fights, The Runback, and the Melee edition of Super Smash Sundays.  Every other stream will be held on our channel and we will have multiple streams available to help bring more exposure for the games that don't get much air time.  Prior to this change we have had other people doing a great job providing the work required to bringing the fans and community live streams that benefited everyone.  I would personally like to thank the hosts of IEBattlegrounds, Mando and Binkley, the host of our anime tourneys, Joshua Moore aka Jyosua, hosts of SoCalTekken, Vietnam Tom and JustFrameJames, and also a few others who have helped us which include Numakie, Rotanibor, and Wild Wallace.  All of these people have helped the arcade and although it may seem as though we are taking away something from some of these individuals, we are striving to bring the scene to a bigger front and achieve bigger and better things for the community as a whole.  To go into detail a bit further, I do understand that these people have put in hard work for the community and although they will no longer be streaming here on their own channel, their efforts have not gone unnoticed and hopefully everyone will understand our goals and help us push forward to reach them.

So thats about it for now as I will be posting our hours of operation on our twitter account.  Thank you all for your continued feedback and support and hopefully we will see most of you here in the near future!  Thanks for reading and talk to you all again real soon!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Important Update for Friday Night 8/15

With the steady bombardment of issues we have come across I must delay the grand re-opening for at least 2 more days.  For those of you wanting to visit us tonight and have a pass from our Kickstarter, I would like to express my deepest apologies.  I will be here tonight along with my crew after we take out the people who are coming to our VIP dinner, but all other festivities are not going to happen.  If you would like to stop by and hang out, feel free to do so, but do not expect a functioning arcade to be in place.  I must maintain my commitment to our guests for dinner, but due to more unexpected delays, I will not be able to have an arcade ready for you all to visit tonight.

Once again, those who were invited to our VIP dinner party, this is still taking place and please arrive somewhere near 7:00-7:30 pm at the arcade.  For those of you who were coming for our grand re-opening, this will not be taking place but we will be at the arcade tonight if you would like to stop by and just check out the place as it stands currently.  I will definitely have a weekend set aside for you guys and most likely will make it next Saturday night  the 23rd.  There will be food and beverage along with a DJ so at least there is something cool to look forward to.  Once again, I apologize for all the inconvenience this has caused as today's issues have hindered our ability to open.

Thank you everyone for reading and more updates will definitely be coming ASAP.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The final steps of chasing a dream......

Wow.  Just F*ing wow.  That pretty much sums up the past 3-4 weeks that I have spent here at Super Arcade.  There's an old adage known as Murphy's Law and all I have to say about it is, "Murphy, you suck!"  As most of you know we closed the doors to the old Super Arcade on Wednesday, July 9th.  We then packed up some of our games and were headed off to EVO.  Let's just say that weekend was very uneventful and was the first set back of many to come.  To set a foreground to all this let me start off by saying I have attended EVO before it was even called that.  I was a die hard Street Fighter player and competed at the highest levels since somewhere near 1992.  I put my heart and soul into becoming the best and with a ton of devotion and dedication I was fortunate to achieve many of my goals as a competitor.  Now with all that said, I have known the EVO staff forever and ever.  I was one of those guys who helped move arcade cabinets around before everything went to console.  I was one of those guys who helped set up chairs the night before the finals.  I was one of those guys who carried tv's and set up tables so that the people in attendance would be able to compete and enjoy their experience at the tournament.  All in all, I just loved the game, the scene, and seeing people share the same enjoyment out of all the things I had grown to love.  But one thing that was different about this for me compared to many others, I did this my way.  I was always very vocal about a lot of things and I was never one to stand down when my views or opinions were questioned.  Sometimes I argued ignorantly and with just spewed nonsense, but most of the time I brought my views to the table and tried to generate a serious discussion in hopes of either resolving a misunderstanding, or just completely shutting down someone for spitting their own nonsense.  Anyhow, this attitude is was brought me to where I am and sometimes it can be for the worse.  In this case I suppose it has become for the worse as I have been segregated to an extent from being a part of many things that people I grew up with in the scene are now involved in.  

I can go on and on about certain things that have happened over many years and talk about how I haven't agreed with many situations that have brought the scene to where it is today.  But by me doing so, it would harm the images of some and then it would just become a childish he said she said type ordeal.  So I will show that I have grown as a person and just let things go.  From time to time I will share stories on stream about how things used to be and just act like a typical old fart who's talking about his youth while the 09er's just find me borderline insane in my rants :)  I can tell all you youngins one thing though.  When you hear an elder tell you things like "one day you will understand" or "once you get to my age this is how it will be," take that advice and make use of it.  Things do change with time and it's up to you whether or not you make the best of it or if you just follow in the footsteps of those who made the same mistake prior to yours.  A lot of mistakes are avoidable and procrastination or lack of care can lead to many issues, but as I have come to realize more and more, you can really only count on yourself when something needs to be done.  In the unfortunate case that I am not a professional carpenter, nor am I a professional engineer, I had to rely on people to help me get work done for our remodel.  Myself along with a couple others have taken care of the flooring, electrical work, painting, ceiling work, and the amazing restroom.  These were all things that required hard work, a bit of experience, and just pure will power basically.  Another thing I would also like to state is, for the help I required, plans were made months in advance and partial payments were made to ensure there was no loose ends on my parts.  Well low and behold, all 3 parties that I needed all fell through and I was stuck here just twiddling my thumbs waiting for deliveries.  My new display counter is apparently made of only the finest of wood in the rain forest and is brought in by helicopter only.  My custom cubicles are designed by Albert Einstein and then hand crafted by the Keebler Elves.  And the arcade machines I am bringing in....  those are custom built in North Korea and infused with only the most advanced microchips and only available to NASA.  I mean gimme a break dude, how do all 3 people I am counting on fail so hard?  Well, it happens lol, and Murphy's Law is a mofo.  Then while working on the restroom of course we run into more problems.  I order a toilet from amazon because no one in the local area stocks the special one I wanted to install.  The toilet is what they call a 2-piece, but when it arrived it was in 4 pieces.  Real cute right?  Man, I can just go on and on about all the little nonsense that has taken place here but we almost at the end of it and no point thinking about the bad.

Here comes some useful info.  We will be taking out a select bunch of people from our kickstarter to a VIP dinner tomorrow evening.  We will also be having a "soft" grand opening for another group in our kickstarter project.  A soft grand opening is technically a half assed opening where stuff is not complete, and this I definitely apologize for.  Many things are currently not in my control as to having a time frame for completion so we are forced to just make do with what is here already.  Our opening has already been delayed for a week and we need to get the wheels turning again asap.  Our weekly tourneys will be starting right up this coming Wednesday and Thursday, and we will also be hosting our Friday night casuals once again.  We will also be hosting our bi-weekly anime series known as "Rebel-Up" and our weekly Super Smash Sundays as well.  I am going to assume everything we were promised will be here on time, but just incase it isn't, we will have our doors open to the public starting this Saturday and keep working until everything is finished.  And since I still have a weekend in the schedule with no tournaments attached to it, I will probably dedicate this day for people who supported us via kickstarter.  More info will be coming real soon, and thanks again for reading!

Mike Watson

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Almost there........ sort of.......

So things are coming along pretty well here at Super Arcade in terms of our remodeling process.  The flooring is just about complete as we have completely replaced it's 20 year old predecessor.  The floor used to be an old darker blue tile and is now a much brighter and cleaner looking white tile with some dark accent in it.  I was skeptical at first about the color but after laying down a few different colors, this seemed to be the best choice.  The walls and ceiling are done for the most part and if you have been following our Instagram you would have seen the outcome.  I think the overall look of the place has improved greatly and I am actually really satisfied that my visions have unfolded into a reality.  The arcade is much much brighter already as we have painted the walls with a light gray accented by some bright blue, red, and black color.  The lighting is going to be worked on this week and should take about 3 days.  We currently have fluorescent fixtures in the drop ceiling that have issues with flickering and just overall not bright at all.  I am still deciding on a choice of either updating these fixtures with LED or just replacing the ballast and the egg crate diffusers to maximize the output of light.  Regardless, I will be testing both options out and that issue will be done soon.  Now onto other issues....

So you would think that with months and months of planning and such a huge time frame in terms of giving notice, what could go wrong?  Well, sometimes you have to count on people for certain things such as customizing furniture, bringing in arcade cabinets, and building a new display counter.  I had originally planned on an opening date of August 8th, but now that just went out the window.  On Friday I received word not only from 1 of these people i was counting on, but all 3!!  What the hell is going on here?  This is not only frustrating from a point where I can't open on time, but it completely throws a wrench into everything.  First off, I have been at the arcade almost every day since Evo ended starting at roughly 8am and working till at least 5pm and sometimes going as late as midnight if my body permitted.  I figured as long as I kept on my schedule and did my part that there would be nothing to worry about. Wrong!  So my display counter isn't going to be ready till the 14th, my custom desks/cubicles won't be ready till the 15th, and some guys I was depending on to bring me some arcade cabs I had requested informed me that they were too busy to bring the cabs in by the 8th.  Really great news right?  Let's try not to unload so much fun on me at one time please.......  So in attempts to keep morale high and not worry too much I will try and take any good I can out of this situation.  During all my planning I never found a situation where I would be in a huge rush.  I believe I laid out all the groundwork decently well and fit everything into a logical time frame.  But since I have another week to work on things maybe it's a blessing in disguise.

Some good news here though is that our infamous restroom is about 90% done.  I spent a good amount of time designing this portion of the arcade to make sure it came out that much more special.  With a combination of light and dark ceramic tiles as well as some glass decor, I don't think there will be anything to complain about.  The people that have seen this restroom already can vouch for me when I say, it's probably nicer than the one you have at home and compares to a nice Las Vegas hotel restroom.  And when i say nice, I consider the LVH and Tropicana to be trashcans.  We have an electronic paper towel dispenser and an electronic soap dispenser.  We have a new light fixture that is bright, and I won't ruin any more surprises, but let's just say, the toilet we have is something you have probably never seen before.  Let the rumors begin............

So all in all, unfortunate news that we are not going to be open for about another 2 weeks.  Good news is that when we open we will be amazing!  Thanks for reading up on our progress once again and I will post more news as soon as it comes in.  Talk to you all real soon!


Monday, July 21, 2014

Some more remodeling updates, a new tournament announced, and special thanks to a special lolzcat.

So we have been at it for about a week now and things are moving along decently considering the amount of manpower and consideration of cost being implied.  Against my own intuition we have chosen a color of flooring much brighter than grimey dark blue linoleum that occupy the floor of Super Arcade.  I have gone with a new linoleum thats a bit of an off white and contains some dark colored streaking for texture.  It looks good, but my fear is that it won't stay white for too long.  But then again this blue lasted almost 30 years and considering we are purchasing the same brand, hopefully history will repeat itself and we can get some good mileage from the new flooring.  This will help with our new look of making the place brighter and more family friendly along with the brighter LED lighting and cool new paint job we are about to apply.  We also tore up the storage room to create more space and a larger area to store things properly.  That was a mess in itself because no one has messed with that place in over 20 years it seems.  I found things in there Indiana Jones would have trouble recognizing and unfortunately none of these old relics were worth anything.....  Oh wells.  At least there is now adequate lighting back there and it doesn't resemble a room for hiding a victim of human trafficking.  If you want to follow more of our updates regarding the remodel then follow us on instagram at :

Also seeing as it is Ryu's 50th birthday today, it only seemed right to officially announce a new tournament that I have been working on for quite some time now.  This year marks the 10th anniversary of a moment in Street Fighter history that not only put our beloved game in more of a public eye, but brought us one of the most unforgettable moments in competitive fighting game tournament history.  Most of you have seen the regular footage recorded : Evo Moment #37  And here's another video with player cam that isn't as popular : Evo Moment #37 pt. 2.  So since this is a special event celebrating such a significant piece of FGC history, it would only be right to bring back the games that were played at this event.  So far the roster is to include Street Fighter 2 Super Turbo, Capcom vs SNK 2, Marvel vs Capcom 2, and of course Street Fighter 3 3rd Strike,  There are many factors still up in the air but the things that are set in stone currently include the attendance of both Daigo and Justin.  The venue for this event has already been booked and is the exact same room that this feat was performed in and none of that "Ursa Major" hall, located on the premises of California State Polytechnic University located in Pomona, California.  The event dates are also set for November 21-23 so start booking your rooms now.  There are a ton of options and this is an event you won't want to miss.  For you new school guys we are thinking about throwing in a Ultra Street Fighter 4 tourney on the side so some of you 09'ers have something to play.

And one final person I have always wanted to thank in my blog, but due to a few personal issues and what not I never found the right time.  For those of you who have attended our tourneys or hung our here at Super Arcade you have probably noticed this person helping out restocking our fridge and doing many things for Super that you probably didn't notice.  This person no longer comes to our shop anymore unfortunately but I can't say he wasn't a big reason we stayed alive during the down times and he helped tremendously and sacrificed for the sake of myself and the arcade on many occasion.  I didn't want to thank this person at the wrong time because I didn't want it to look like I was just doing so for any other reason than genuinely thanking him, so here it is.  Thank you Rex for helping out here so many times and also bending over backwards to keep Super Arcade alive.  Rex was here the day I was robbed and sacrificed his time to head up north to Sactown with me and Mando at 5am and worked until after midnight.  He also bailed me out a few times financially and helped me keep the arcade open when things weren't going all that well.  I'm sorry things turned out the way they have, but just know that you were not overlooked and your help is greatly appreciated.

Anyways, that's it for now guys and gals.  I will try to update everyone as soon as possible and as soon as time permits.  For those asking about your kickstarter rewards, hang tight, I am still working on a lot of stuff.  I will be sending out emails through the kickstarter page and get everything handled in a timely manner.  Thank you all for reading and talk to you all real soon!


Monday, July 7, 2014

In The Groove Community and latest incident

Unfortunately there was a recent incident that occurred here at Super Arcade that left a bad taste in my mouth.  I feel as though it was one of those give an inch take a yard type of ordeals and there is possibly some miscommunication involved along so I will not accuse anyone of any malicious intent.  I will explain this entire situation from my side and I will also include some background in terms of the games functions and the community prior to this incident.

In The Groove is a knock off of Dance Dance Revolution and has many more functions which made this game in many ways much better than it's predecessor.  There is a USB port where players can bring in their own songs and programmed dance steps they have set up.  That's the good news, the bad news is that as a player you can adjust the volume to a ridiculously loud level and there is also a way to insert free credits by entering a code.

This game is very rare due to the legal battle it lost, so finding a location with it is almost impossible.  As a #WNF or #TRB attendee i'm sure you have heard this game blaring loudly while you were playing a match.  I had asked many times for the players not to put this game so loud but there will also be that one guy/girl who refuses to listen and just goes about things how they please with no respect for others around them.  I would like to also say that I am not singling out anyone but you know who you are and I do understand that during tournament days our location is extremely packed and you do need the volume up to get the full experience, but even during these days, the game is way too loud in my opinion.

Now let me talk a little bit about the community.  There is a handful of people that come here that are supposedly "top" players in this game just like we have "top" players in our fighting games.  These guys are very knowledgeable and know how to alter the machine so they can add or delete songs, change the theme, and also...... turn the game on free play.  I have trusted a few of these people and things seemed to be going fine.  We have allowed them on multiple occasions to change the hard drive and alter things with our permission.  They are also highly competitive so they want the dance arrows (pads) set up and tuned perfectly which is fully understandable.  These are things a normal arcade would not allow anyone to do but I know how much trouble it is to keep this machine fully maintained so I put down my guard a bit for their cause.  Once again, aside from the volume issue, I have never had a problem with any of these guys/girls and I feel like I have done my best to accommodate them and maintain a mutual respect between arcade owner and player.

This group set up a tournament and just like any other tournament held here, there was a venue fee charged and game was set on free play.  The only difference was that this tournament was thrown to support to arcade, so aside from venue fees, the entry fee was also given to Super Arcade.  That was a nice gesture and greatly appreciated.  So assuming everything went well last time, there was a request to throw another tournament here, and given the past history there was absolutely no reason to say no.  This is where trouble in paradise occurs.  So the tourney is set to take place on Saturday, and for tournaments the game needs to be set on "Event Mode" which does not require you to put credits in and in other words, game is set to be on "Free Play."  Not a problem right since we are charging a venue fee and the arcade will still be making income while also providing a venue for these players to compete.  Now I will go into more detail as to what happened exactly and I really didn't want to get into it but my manager Armando aka Commando just told me people were talking smack about what happened behind our backs on Facebook.  (real cute considering I do not have a facebook and maybe the overlooked the fact that Commando is part of their group and can see what they are saying.)

Okay, so here goes.  Thursday night, game is set on event mode, without my consent or knowledge obviously, but the place is busy on Thursday so I don't even notice until one of our regular customers comes to the counter to tell me what's going on.  I let this slide for the moment as I understand that this is the proper way to practice for the tournament and I want to see what happens at the end of the night as far as if they will tell me or offer to pay me for playing.  So we are getting ready to close and a gentlemen by the name of Nelson comes up to me and tells me that the machine was set on "Event Mode" and gave me $10 to cover what the machine would have potentially made that night.  Very trustworthy and kind gesture for him to approach me and I expected nothing less from that community.  Friday comes, machine is set on free play again, also without my knowledge or consent again........  This day I did not open the arcade but I arrived and noticed the machine was set that way and thought nothing of it.  I figured hey, they paid last night, why would they not pay me tonight without me asking?  Only difference was that on Friday I didn't see Nelson there and no one offered to pay a cent at the end of the night.  I let this slide because I knew there was a tournament the next day and hey, play for free for a night, even without my permission, I can live with that knowing we would be charging a venue fee the next day and I just chalk it up as maybe an oversight on their end.  So here comes the best part.  Saturday is here and the tournament goes on.  Unfortunately I dont arrive to work till roughly 10pm as we are not running a Capcom tourney that requires my attention and the place is being run by Commando with help from GeriKuso.  So as i arrive i see the ITG players leaving and I ask GeriKuso if they paid a venue fee and how much he collected.  He replies he received no venue fee from them and I questioned him more than once to make sure I heard him properly.  I then proceeded to find Commando and ask him the same question to which he replied with the exact same answer.... dun dun dun dun.........

Well, that's very cute.  So the machine is set on free play Friday night and no one pays or mentions anything.  Then the machine is set on free play the entire day Saturday and once again no one pays or mentions anything to me about it.  Not a good look ITG people........  So I want to make 1 thing 100% clear here.  Some people might want to chime in and make claims but I can say without any doubt, NO ONE informed me or asked me if it was okay to put the machine on free play any of the days or nights it was set.  The arcade received 0 dollars in revenue from running this tournament and having the machine on the night before.  So while you let this all sink in I would also like to discuss another couple of events that took place after the tournament as I am just in shock at what took place yet I manage not to kill anyone.

For starters, after the tournament the game was left on FREE PLAY still..... Were you guys planning on going to eat then coming back for some more FREE action?  I'm not going to worry about this slight situation as things have already taken place and more important at the time.  So we have a couple more ITG players come in and approach me at the counter.  I am fuming but try to maintain my calm and ask them kindly if they entered the tourney so I can ask them a few things.  They replied no and then asked me if I could put the machine on regular play so they can use it normally aka pay to play.  I am steaming at this point and I tell them to do me a favor and just go play for free till i can get to the bottom of things.  Before they head off to play they gladly give me about $15 in quarters that they were planning on spending anyways.  I try to refuse but they insist so I take the money and say thank you.  I also request them to not let anyone else play and to say they rented out the machine for the evening and to send anyone that wants to play to the counter so I can talk to them.  So roughly an hour later the tournament organizer returns and comes to the counter to ask me if he can set the machine back to normal play and I tell him nope.  He also asks me why they aren't allowed to play and I spend a few minutes explaining my anger over the situation and as if it wasn't any more obvious already, I said to him "The arcade made 0 dollars, the game was set on free play, how does this benefit a business?"  Mind you this whole time I was very upset but never once raised my voice.  I did use foul language as I said "I'm f*cking steaming over this situation" and "This is b*llshit."  Not once did I act aggressively towards this individual but I was rude with very short replies to questions and wanted to show my lack of interest in speaking with him at the time.

There is also another couple players that come to the counter after my conversation with the tournament organizer and they are asking if they could play.  I asked them if they entered the tourney and they reply yes.  So I instantly reply no.  I recognize both of them as they frequent my establishment and I feel bad for not letting them play, but I am forced to put my foot down after what has happened and just need to enforce some rules.  One of the guys named Miguel I believe replies a little rudely by saying "I am a customer and want to play."  At this point I am furious but I still keep my cool.  I tell the both of them I will not be letting anyone play aside from the 3 people who are currently renting out the machine for the night.  I also explain that I am very mad at the situation and use the same line "I'm pretty f*cking pissed about all this, and I don't want to talk about it."  Miguel tells me not to curse at him in which i reply that I am not directly cursing at him and he doesn't need to stand at the counter if he does not want to hear what I am telling him.  He is there with another guy who can tell you the story and I'm sure he can vouch for me in that I was telling them both my genuine feelings about the situation and sorry that I could not let them play.  Now here is where the kiddie nonsense starts.

Today I receive a phone call telling me that Miguel is claiming I was yelling and cursing at him.  Nope.  I have multiple witnesses, one being his own friend, that can assure you this is not the case.  Not once did I raise my voice nor did I act aggressively towards any of our customers or ITG players.  Now also put yourself in my shoes.  I am a business owner and arcade operator.  My establishment has just been taken complete advantage of, and now I have people running their mouth and talking as if I'm the bad guy all over facebook and who knows where else?  I have done my absolute best to accommodate this particular group and now that an incident arises to which I am 100% the victim, now I'm the one getting blasted for it?  No chance guys.  This incident has left such a bad taste in my mouth that I have left the ITG game off ever since and only allowed a very very select few people to turn it on to play.  And as most of you know, we will be only open one more day this coming Wednesday prior to our remodeling.  I have seriously considering not bringing this machine back as part of our new game line up and I am willing to sacrifice the revenue it brings in so I don't have to deal with bad situations like this.  All the events I have listed are all complete and not fabricated in any manner.  I have spent my day off typing this because I feel bad for the people who love this game yet are not involved in this situation.  The saying holds true as it only takes 1 rotten apple to spoil the barrel.  So as you read this very long post please be aware that I am available to talk to many hours of the weeks as we are open many hours.  Please don't go the sissy route and bad mouth me behind my back thinking I won't see it.  Keep in mind I have been very open minded and allowed you guys to mess with our machine as if it was your own and this is why you return to our establishment over and over.  If I was such a bad arcade owner and rude to you, then it would be very stupid of you to continue to come back over and over right?  Think about what you type and don't go blabbering on about what you wish the situation was.  The arcade was slighted, you got to play for free for a couple days, and now the machine is off because of you.  Plain and simple.