Saturday, February 22, 2014

What exactly is YJDK and a little bit of history on a SF4

Wow, I just dug up and old thread that was started after a small incident was blown way out of proportion by a few of my friends and myself unfortunately.....  This event in time is known as the "You Just Don't Know" moment involving a gentleman by the name of Ryan, aka gootecks, and myself.  I almost feel a little bad for telling this story over again and I do it with no intentions of rehashing any drama so please accept my apology ahead of time.  I do find this story somewhat entertaining though and also think maybe some people can get something out of it, so I shall tell it once again.

So basically Street Fighter 4 was released in the arcades and I have been out of touch with competitive fighting games for around half a year.  For some reason I was bored and decided to call up Combofiend and go check out SF4 over at Arcade Infinity.  He told me he was going to hang out with Gootecks and we can just all carpool since Gooey literally lived in walking distance from me at the time.  So the journey begins and we head to the arcade.  I instantly notice that the game had lag and thought it was just how the new system worked.......  then not too long after I played the home version and figured out that the huge monitors at the arcade caused those few frames of delay.  Regardless, my first game I decided to get back to my roots and picked Ryu.  For some reason Ryan picked him as well and we proceeded to jump into my newly found experience of this game.  Low and behold I'm playing this game somewhat like 3rd Strike and just using fundamentals and ex fireballs and won.  Then I hear Peter take a jab at Ryan and say "how you gonna lose after playing this game for over half a year and this is Mike's first game?"  The salt was sprinkled and as some of you may know, the groundwork for a showdown has already been planted.  After that game Ryan instantly went to Balrog and beat me up for the rest of the day.  I think I won maybe 5 rounds in 10 games and just couldn't adapt quickly enough to the new game to get another victory.  So all is well and everyone is in a good mood on the way home.  I am asking questions in regards to the focus system and also asking about the lag i felt.  They both felt the lag was non existent but I knew something was wrong because I was having trouble countering throws and reacting to quick moves such as dash punches.  Anyways, so we drop Ryan off and right when he gets out of the car my ego and competitive spirits start to come out.  I tell Peter, hey man, gimme 2 weeks and I'm gonna beat this dudes ass free.  Mind you Ryan is fresh off a victory at a major where he just beat all mighty Jwong so he was definitely in top game form.  We share a little chuckle and then discuss how we are going to try and meet up a little more frequently and get some games in.

So we are having practice sessions at my other house where a few of my buddies live.  Little do people know, Jaha was actually a pretty good player and he was my main training partner early on in this game.  He played Rufus and had all the bread and butter stuff down so I had to learn the zoning game real quick and avoid all the new stuff he was implementing.  Jaha was pretty social and made use of the SRK forums quite a bit at the time so we had open invitations to people who wanted to come over and play.  Hungbee, Combofiend, and a few other people were regularly there to level up and occasionally Mike Ross would come down too.  Not to name any names but we also invited over the guys who were winning tourneys at the time and I don't know what it was, but I just played light outs when that happened.  There was a sagat player that was pretty good and I beat him 10-0 in a mirror.  Then there was also a Balrog player who came over to play my Sagat, but I had picked Ryu already and jokingly said I wouldn't changed characters until he won...... 30 games later he had to go and I was feeling myself now haha.  So anyways there was a session when Ryan came over and for some reason I think everyone was just a little annoyed that day.  Our regular house rules were to play a 2/3 set and winner stays on the cab.  We started and it was Hung's Chun-li vs his Balrog.  I think the game was pretty close but can't recall exactly and I do faintly remember Hung trying to do a counter super after blocking something and it failed.  Hung said "Bullshit" and Ryan started laughing with a reply of "Of course that doesn't work. You Just Dont Know.  I've been playing this long (uses his two hands to show a space in between of about 2 feet) and you have only been playing this long (once again uses hands but only shows a space of about 6 inches)."  For some reason all of us kind of took a little offense to this as it was pretty cocky on his part.  But for those of you who actually know Gootecks, you will know he is very competitive in the game and can be a complete douche, yet outside the game everyone finds him to be pretty cool and overall a decent guy to hang out with.  Anyways, back to the story.  So I am up next and I pick Chun-li also.  I beat him the first game and I could tell he was a little steamed.  Then second game he wins the first round and proceeds to say "Did you see a difference there?"  Immediately I start thinking, is this dude really talking smack and dissing me and my boy in my own house?  I am literally just learning this game and trying to do different things to see if they counter certain moves and what not, while this guy is taking pride in winning games off of us while giving it his all.  So this is the part where a person's adrenaline kicks in and I just take my game to the next level.  I just start beating him and making sure he is completely frustrated.  After the win he angrily pulls his stick and starts to walk out the house.  A buddy of mine name DevilX wasn't so nice and made a pretty rude comment during Ryan's walk of shame out the house.  He said, "I can't wait till you leave so I can hear everyone talk shit about you...."  Ooh man, brutal stuff there, but can't say it wasn't completely warranted.

So then March of 2009 rolls around and there is an event Gootecks created known as "Bar Fights."  Even though he wasn't exactly my best friend at the time I felt I should show up just to support.  I was actually worried there wouldn't be that many people there so I brought about 4 friends just so to have more people there to fill the room if needed.  So I arrive at the event and some girl who was apparantely an "assistant" of Ryan's hit me up while I was just hanging around outside.  She said something to me that really struck a nerve and that was just the spark I needed to make my comeback and get back into this game.  This girl asked me "Are you here to play in the Beat-a-pro Challenge?" AM I HERE TO DO WHAT BITCH?  I can honestly say I was fuming and wanted to sock her in the mouth, but I also promised myself I would be on my best behavior so I swallowed my pride for a second and said, no I am not, thank you.  Holy cow man, my resume is longer than all these kids put together and I got some girl who is supposedly running things here and she has no clue who she is talking to or anything about Street Fighter.  I am not the type to care if you know who I am, but I did feel she disrespected the game by not knowing the history of it so immediately she was on my shit list.  Regardless, this event was pretty cool and turned out to be a success.  Good to see the community was growing and gaining more attention outside of the hardcore crowd.

So now April is here and there is a tournament being held at some trendy shop in Alhambra, CA.  There is a small art exhibit with some really cool Street Fighter stuff and just basically a bunch of artists and some top players hanging out.  This tournament had an entry fee of $40 from what i can recall, and I'm sure it was to weed out the people who weren't too serious at the time.  I remember being told about this by Seth Killian and Mr Wizard so I decided it was time to send a wake up call to these now so-called top players.  It was single elimination and I had to fight my way through a Dhalsim player named Warren, then Mike Ross' Honda, and also EdMa's Akuma.  I was now sitting in grand finals waiting for the victor of Combofiend vs HappyTang.  This was a really sick match of Combo's Balrog vs Kai's El Fuerte.  It came down to the last round and Combo attempted an ex-rush punch with Kai countering and throwing it for the win.  I was a little discouraged that Peter didn't win since it would be cool to face a good friend in the finals, and also I had never played an El Fuerte before so I was a little worried.  I eventually ended up losing to Kai in the last round of this match but we split 1st and 2nd place prize money and wound up taking home something like $350 bucks each.  I really wanted to win this one but I just wasn't prepared enough at the time so it didn't happen.  I also felt that at least I made my mark and people knew I was coming back to make some noise.

Now for the real juicy stuff.  So it is now June and there is a tournament being held in Arizona called "Devestation."  I was a big supporter of the Arizona scene early on and attended a few of their tourneys to show support before the big Street Fighter 4 Boom.  My goal at this tourney was to actually chase down Gootecks and beat him at a major just to in a sense expose him.  So here comes the dirt that has never been exposed publicly.  I obviously requested to the tournament organizer to specifically play Ryan at some point.  This was actually something not so easily accomplished and would require some luck as well as skill.  Part 1 required both of us to make it out of our pools and then we had to be placed strategically in the bracket in order for this to happen.  Well, part 1 went well so now it was time for phase 2 to take place.  We both started out on the winner's side of the bracket and if we both won our first matches then it would be showtime!  Brackets are made and I'm just sitting back thinking strategy and just trying to enjoy the moment that was about to unfold.  Before this would happen though, there was a big argument going on at the organizers desk and of course, Gooteck was complaining about the bracket.  His argument was that it wasn't spread apart fairly and that too many top players were playing each other too soon etc.  I now stepped in and make a fuss and the point that he was playing a random first round, then me second round, and I wasn't a top 8 player so essentially his first top 8 match up wouldn't come till 3rd round in winners.  What could possibly be the problem........ Well, I think we all know he didn't want this match to take place but after a bit of shuffling the bracket was now in place and our portion of it was left unchanged.  So the match went down and it's up on youtube if any of you care to view it.  This was my first "streamed" match and I was feeling the heat cause this is something I made happen.  Fortunately I won and avenged the people I felt Ryan offended.  I popped off and yelled out "You've been playing how long?  I've been playing forever!"  Childish, I know, but hey, he started it so boo hoo hoo.

Now that I look at this situation I do feel I took things too far, hell, I even created an official EVO T-shirt with a YJDK logo and sold over 1000 of them.  Some people didn't know what it was representing, but it was cool to see so many of these being worn during the tourney.  But yeah, this is or was hopefully the last time I let me ego get the best of me.  Ryan's competitive career never seemed to be the same after and I do feel bad about it.  But he also did progress as a promoter and social media guy when it came to bringing SF to the mainstream crowds.  We all know for a fact that without Ryan all this new age streaming and special event stuff would definitely not be where it's at and for this we all owe him huge thanks.  And I also owe him a huge apology.  Ryan, I'm sorry man, I let my ego and competitive spirit go out of control and hopefully you forgive me for this.

To this day we still talk and it seems as though all of this has blown over, but I am not sure how he feels deep down and since he also has a highly competitive attitude, hopefully he understands how and why all this went down the way it did.  On a couple side notes there was a HD remix tourney at this same venue where myself and John Choi played 1st round in a game where we were both considered the top 2 attendees yet the bracket wasn't altered and we wound up playing each other in the grand finals.  There was also a 3rd Strike 3 vs 3 tourney where I was supposed to team up with Justin and we planned it for months, yet TFGM decided he would flex his EMP powers and not allow Justin to compete on the same team as me.  I also played Gootecks in this tourney and beat him, then there was a big silence as people weren't sure if I was gonna pop off again, but I kindly shook his hand and felt as though the war was over.

Hope I didn't waste too much of your time from this story and hope you enjoyed the read.  And for those wondering, I am currently still working on finalizing our Kickstarter video as I have received help from various professionals and trying to make it best as can be.  Thanks for reading everyone and talk to you again soon!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The current situation....... a couple apologies and a few regrets.

Boy does time fly.  You blink your eye and half a month is gone and it seems as if nothing has been accomplished yet the work just keeps piling up as if there is no end.  I guess this feeling is known as the drowning effect and hopefully not too many of you are going through this.  I wanted to launch the Super Arcade kickstarter on February 1st but due to many contributing factors this was not possible.  This is obviously a very important time in my life and also a huge game changer for the FGC in southern california.  The pressure is building and fortunately I have been able to maintain focus, but at the same time I really do want to get this thing going so I know what I will be doing a month from now.  As things sit, the arcade is actually doing a little better in terms of attendance and income.  This is another thing I dread because the whole reason for the kickstarter is to make Super Arcade a whole new entity and give it that financial boost it so desperately needs.  On the other hand though, I do understand that the minor upswing is just a false sense of hope and a major change is the only forseeable outcome.  I honestly feel that everything will work out for the best and Super Arcade will be around for a very long time, but that is no longer up to me and I can only sit and wait.  I am not sure what the toughest part of all this is really.  I have put everything I have into this place and have always has complete control.  For the first time in my adulthood I don't have control yet I don't fear the option of failure.  It's really an odd situation and almost impossible to explain if you haven't experienced something like this for yourself.  Have I mentally given up?  Or am I just trying not to set myself up for the fall.........  I really don't know.....  I would love to have the opportunity to transform this place into a crazy sick hangout for everyone to enjoy, but I also know that it is a privilege to own a business and in a sense this place is like a toy that maybe I can no longer afford to keep.  Regardless, I want to thank everyone who has been able to share great times here at Super Arcade and hopefully many of you have been able to grow as a person and take something from here that will stay with you or effect your life in a positive manner.

Over the many, many, many......... years of my FGC life I have come across many people and situations that weren't always for the best and I guess I wanted to finally find some closure and even apologize to the few I felt I truly wronged in the gaming scene.  I don't know if this particular post can hold all the content so I might have to break it into sections so here goes nothing.  Let me set the stage as usual and try to get everyone to the time frame I am about to discuss.  This goes back almost ten years to 2004.  Evolution was held at Cal Poly Pomona and brought the infamous "Daigo Parry" into everyone's life and changed the gaming scene forever.  But also that tournament is when I placed top 8 in 3rd strike and defeated Mester in a 2/3 set to qualify.  Yes I just typed a "JeBailey" line but hey, this was honestly one of the biggest wins I ever had in my career and one of my most satisfying victories to say the least.  Anyways, placing top 8 here was important because I was only one of 3 Americans to place top 8 alongside Justin Wong and Hsien Chang.  The year after, Evo was announcing another 3s Exhibition and obviously Justin and Hsien were invited as team captains.  I felt a little slighted and used my voice to get on the USA team of 5 but I also knew deep down I didn't deserve it at the time.  I didn't practice much and I didn't bother to stay at the top of my game, but my ego got the best of me and I felt that my past performances should validate my spot on the team.  Instead of choosing me, the SRK staff chose a Dudley player by the name of Vic Vance.  Had they chose someone else I probably wouldn't have gone through the extremes I did to make sure he wasn't a captain.  A couple of my good buddies despised Vic and I figured I was killing two birds with one stone so essentially took his spot.  We had actually worked out a deal to where we would have a playoff to see who earns the spot.  So I drove up to Family Fun Arcade and warmed up a bit.  I was also watching him play and boy oh boy, dude was beasting.  Myself on the other hand, I was playing like trash and the rust wasn't going to come off in 5 minutes so I pulled a move I regret to this day.  I just said F this and took the win, no playoff, just drive home and said it's mine.  Vic played his ass off for almost an entire year and rightfully earned a spot on the team.  To this day I have never told him face to face that I am sorry, but if I did see him I would.  Before heading to Evo in 2005 I told his friends if he showed up he could have the spot because I felt guilty and because I wasn't in good enough game shape to represent the team.  Well, he didn't show up and I proceeded to get perfected left and right by Team Japan....... Yikes..... Got my ass kicked worse than ever before and I deserved it.  So Vic, I would like to publicly apologize to you for taking away something that I know meant a lot to you at the time and although I could never make it up, and at least know I was embarrassed not only by my performance but also for letting my ego get in the way of doing what was right.  I'm sorry man.

So you might now wonder wow, what a douchebag Mike is and what more did he possibly do?  Well, there is more unfortunately...  Although there is both a good and bad side to this particular story I would like to say I still do feel bad about it and don't know if that will ever change.  The reason I feel badly about this one is because I still see the passion in this player's eyes and I know I stole another "could be" shining moment from a genuinely good person.  The person I speak of is Darryl and goes by the name "MuffinMan."  This goes back many years during an SBO qualifier to make it on a 2vs2 team.  I teamed up with Afrocole and we won first place but we also had no intent of even going to Japan again so that's where the problem arises.  I can only speak for myself, but at the time there were a couple reasons I wanted to win this tournament.  Firstly I believed that if you couldn't beat me, you didn't deserve a spot to go and represent the US in this game.  Again, my ego got in the way, but at least this time I was the better player and won.  Another reason I entered this tournament was because the person who organized this tourney was responsible to pay for the half the plane ticket of the winning team.  The organizer was a friend of mine at the time and was also going through some financial trouble so I agreed that I would not take a plane ticket from him and just wanted the prize pool generated from the participants.  Winning the tourney would put a few bucks in my pocket and also relieve some stress from the person who was held liable for the prizes.  What could be wrong with this scenario?  Well, at first I was happy to split the pot with my teammate and also see a smile on the organizer's face.  I honestly thought what I was doing was right but months, and even years later, I now realize how I was wrong and it was too late.  I robbed a team of their chance to go to Japan and compete in a game they loved and worked hard to get good at.  I stole a possible once in a lifetime chance for these guys to fulfill a dream of playing against the best and being a part of something that only a small handful of players will ever get to participate in.  The only thing that helps me not feel so bad about this situation is MuffinMan still competes and still has a love for Super Turbo like no other.  He has gradually become a better player and does a lot to keep this game alive.  But regardless, MuffinMan, I am sorry for what I did and hopefully you have forgiven me after all these years.  I know I have said sorry to you in person and I joke around about the situation, but now you finally will know how I truly feel and possibly understand why I did what I did.

Ok, two down, one more to go......... this goes back somewhere around 2009 and I will start with 4 letters. Y J D K.  What a clusterf*ck and unfortunate series of events this turned out to be......  but, here's the dreaded cliffhanger and this story will be saved for my next post.  Until next time people, and thanks again for reading!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Few details revealed for the kickstarter and just some final thoughts.

I promised one more post before we released our kickstarter so here it is.  I really want to thank everyone for taking the time to read my blog and appreciate everyone that has come out to support Super Arcade.  So the time is here and even though my anxiety with be at a maximum level throughout every hour we run this crowd funded campaign, I am also greatly relieved to be able to finally make a decision and have a goal in life.  Although financially it has been an extremely rough ride, that doesn't go without saying I didn't have a great experience and enjoyed many moments this place has brought me.  There's so many things that happened here and if you weren't here in person to witness these events, its almost impossible to explain.  From SBO qualifiers, the SFxT release event, Sega Cup, and even the Ultra SF4 location test, all these events provided something different and a great sense of reward when they were finished.  Being open 24hours from Friday through Sunday was great and seeing people just grinding SF till 7am reminded of the hunger I used to have to be the best.  Seeing people practice hard every week and enter tourneys with improving results brings a sense of joy and seeing their hard efforts pay off not only inspires me to keep playing, but just makes me happy in general to know that these people putting in the time produce results.  I have seen people who literally never played competitive games become consistent top 8 finishers and I have also seen people who were total social rejects come here and make friends and all of a sudden become social butterflies.  Yeah, I know the term is a little feminine, but hey, it's the only way I can explain it so excuse me.  So just witnessing arcade culture at it's finest from an outside view gives me hope that arcades are a good thing and arcade life is beneficial to not only those seeking competition, but also for those who lack social and communication skills.  And this is the reason I am putting in so much effort towards the kickstarter because I truly feel this is a place worth saving.

As stated previously, I have come up with many ideas that will completely transform this place from an 80's style arcade, into a very modernized one stop shop for the FGC and a hangout that people will come to and beg for more.  I guess here's probably a good place to reveal most of the changes I have in store if we are successful in raising funds to accomplish  our goals.

New flooring, new lighting, new color scheme, and let's just say I have something big in store that will make this place feel like you are walking into a rock concert from the moment you step in the building.

New built in console stations, new stream station set up, more monitors for both tournament use and people wanting to come in and connect their laptop etc.  Overhead PA system and sound system for ambient music or whatever I feel like playing :)

Revenue Generating Changes:
New display counter to sell items such as buttons, sticks, apparel so people won't have to shop online anymore and wait days to have stuff shipped.  Upgrade in games and stocking more games that cannot be played at home.  Ie drivers, shooters, etc.  Adopting a membership system where you can pay a monthly fee instead of a venue fee per tourney.  There will be a few options in this including one for fighters, one for the smash crowd, and one for complete VIP which will also offer discounts on all items sold here.  We are also going to be making "Super Arcade" a brand and have shirts and other stuff available for purchase.

So that pretty much sums things up.  We have the foot traffic here, we have a whole group of untapped customers we can reach at the college across the street, now we just need to have stuff here that they can spend money on.  That has been the problem all along so I feel very confident that I can make this work.  Once we get the kickstarter up and running you guys will hopefully see my vision coming to life and realize that these changes are very extreme and attractive to new customers.  I would love to post some pictures but that would spoil our grand reveal and take away the hype so I'll leave you with a bit of curiousity.  Lets just say having monitors hanging from the ceiling, LED lighting, and a concert theme for decor is all in store.  Google the images for "truss lighting" and you will get a preview of the new theme.

All I can do now is keep my fingers crossed and hope you all have enough faith in me to get this project off the ground.  If you like what you see and have enjoyed your time here or found any enjoyment from our streams or tourneys, please help out and spread the word and help me fight the good fight of keeping one of the last standing arcades alive.  Thanks everyone and talk to you all again soon.