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.


  1. Sounds like the tournament organizers made a mistake and oversight and you are holding a grudge and just want to teach them a lesson. Well I don't think they'll learn anything since it doesn't sound like you explained anything that you were mad about specifically as you said yourself you didn't want to talk to them.

    Seems like if you gave the organizer a chance to apologize and pay for whatever revenue you should have made things could be fine. But you just don't want to accept any of that because you were slighted. If that's not being stubborn then idk what is.

    1. at that very moment i used a lot of self control and just pushed aside any offerings of money. its not about the money at that point and if someone thinks its okay to use a venue and also use their equipment for free, than that person isn't really capable of understanding any reasoning i would have for them.

  2. If it ends up in an Arizona location could you please let me know. We have nowhere to play over here sadly.

  3. My two cents as a curious bystander:

    Refusing an opportunity to recover lost income and maintaining healthy business relations with customers seems like a bad business decision.

    In business, the customer may not always be right, but the practice of promoting return business while keeping your bottom line up is just good business.

    Keep it business, not personal.

    1. you are very right, keeping it business and not personal is something we will be doing much much more in the future. the reason people come to our location in the first place is because we offer a friendly environment and instead of coming to a place of business you feel like you are going to a friend's house in a sense. we allowed these customers access to our game prior to this but always with our consent. this time it was done without our consent that is where the problem first started.

      refusing the opportunity to recover lost income is not the most important facet to maintaining a healthy business relationship though. keeping a mutual respect is and this act was disrespectful and my actions are more than warranted. we will take a minor loss in income if it means we are voicing our opinion and making a point that we will not take kindly to stuff like this.

  4. While you are the victim here, there are a couple of things I think you should remember to do if you continue to have the machine running. Communication is key, it reads like you aren't really too involved with the itg players, as you say multiple times that you are busy doing something else.

    The second time the machine was on free play you should have talked to the players, let them know you are giving them a break, or something, but let them know you expect it to be put back on normal. Take a minute or two, just let them know whats up with the machine.

    Did GeriKuso/Commando know that there was supposed to be a fee for the tournament? If so then they should have delayed the tournament until something was worked out, or failing that immediately contacted you about it. You should not be learning about the fact of 0 money when you arrive after the tournament is over and everyone is leaving.

    It's good that you didn't raise your voice according to you, if you have multiple witnesses for it then it should be fine. You did explain to the tournament organizer that there was no money to the arcade, but did you talk about whatever agreement you had in relation to paying for the tournament? Verbal agreement is enforceable, but much harder to prove vs a written agreement.

    Try to get in contact with someone and see if they just forgot to pay, and importantly what they are going to do as they now owe you money. You were mad but the actual conversation with the organizer sounded short and you didn't once say that you talked about payment.

    The part about being pissed and not wanting to talk about it isn't good though. If you don't let them know the problem how are you going to go about on following up on this incident?

    1. i already mentioned why i let the 2nd time slide because the 1st time someone did come to the counter and pay at the end of the night. the problem is we were never asked to have anything put on free play at any point so just losing the mutual respect is a problem.

      as far as tournament fees go, it is very standard to charge a venue fee especially since the game will be put on free play. how else would the establishment take in any revenue? very very basic policy here that does not require more explanation.

      i am not looking for any compensation at this point, and i was offered compensation after the fact. problem is the damage was already done and i knew immediately how i was going to go about resolving it.

  5. and to finalize any more confusion. i do not have a facebook, i was told that seth tried to contact me through facebook and left a message on super arcades page after multiple times being told i do not have facebook. not sure how else to explain this point but it seems a little obvious.

    i turned off the machine to send a message, and unfortunately this act is unfair to some of our customers. but i do hope as customers you have had positive interactions with myself or my staff that let you know we are not the type of establishment to be unreasonable. we were all arcade goers at some point and we understand the importance of keeping this place open. we also have been very nice to everyone but at some point a foot needs to be put down and this is that time. i will take into consideration any input the itg fans might have though i am still considering removing this machine entirely to save the headache and drama. thank you all.

  6. I'm really confused at some of the above comments. This behavior is absolutely indefensible and if I were I'm Mike's shoes my first reaction would have been to remove the machine from the premises. From what I understand Super has the real game anyway and has no need to continue running the knockoff especially if doing so takes revenue away from the game that can't be hacked into free play so easily.

    Hoping the renovation goes well; I'm actually in the area for the next day but sadly leaving before opening time on Wednesday so I won't be able to meet you guys.

  7. Having an ITG dedicab is a treasure in your arcade. That's majorly silly to get rid of the machine over this situation. Turning it off is one thing but taking it out of your arcade. Lol I don't know about that, it seems like you need every possible bit of income you can gather since you guys needed to do a kickstarter to even remodel the place.

  8. i dont want super arcade to turn into just a fighting game only arcade (God knows how much i still love super with variety of games) Its unfair to us music gaming fans to have this machine taken away over pride and lack of communication. I want to support super arcade but at the same time dont want to support a level up studios only arcade venue. i love super arcade even before when Jason was manager ( I still miss wangan maximum tune DX even to this day) and i am a fighting game lover dont get me wrong (God knows the hours i spent playing mortal kombat and tekken tag) Super needs a strong community with values and an owner willing to swallow his pride and work with not just the in the groove community but the general community as well. I dont want super to remove in the groove and would love to join another tournament but please please COMMUNICATE!!!! Like seriously communicate guys.

  9. ITG is one of our top 4 grossing games in the arcade. This is definitely not a matter of pride yet a matter of having a game that can be hacked and abused by the players. As I am not there 24/7 it is a big problem to keep an eye on this machine and the liability of maintaining it is also an issue. I am not against talking to the community as I have always been willing to work with all of their members. I will be there Wednesday for most of the day and if anyone would like to speak to me regarding the issue I am totally open for comments and suggestions. This pretty much wraps ups all I have to say on the issue and hopefully I have answered all your questions up to this point. Thanks for reading and see you after the overhaul!!

    1. I really wish I could stay in the area the extra day. I don't personally see the point of keeping ITG around when you have DDR 2013 (a far more uncommon game here in the US), but there is plenty that can be done to make an ITG much more difficult to hack.

    2. That DDR machine can go die in a fire.

    3. Actually, there is absolutely a point to keeping an ITG dedicab around when you have a DDR2013, because they are completely different games. I may prefer DDR, but I'm definitely not going to try to justify the idea of getting rid of one machine just because you have the other. They are different games with different players and different communities. Sure, there is some overlap, but that would be like removing Street Fighter from a tournament or arcade and telling them to go play Tekken instead. I might like Tekken better, but it wouldn't be fair to get rid of Street Fighter and tell them to just make do with what's available.

  10. I’m really glad this was posted. This is Sapeer, a frequent ITG player at Super.

    For one, I’d first like to personally apologize for this mix up in situation. You, as an owner acted accordingly in context to the specific circumstances. Allow me to elaborate some points, that perhaps will put your anger at ease.

    There’s all this posting about you acting in a way that’s not business-like. I am appalled at the fact that members from my community are shunning you for acting the way you did. I’ll be the first to say that you acted accordingly. You had every right to turn off the machine, every right to decline it to players, and every right to be frustrated.
    This isn’t a matter of money, this is a matter of principle, and ultimately, we acted in a way that was not okay in the slightest.

    In retrospect, the participants in an ITG tournament do not go out of their way to figure out knowledge as to what the business owner (you) and the Tournament Organizer consent to, in terms of venue fees, machine adjustment, and tournament practice. We assume that those things are covered between the two of you, and considering the event was under way, we, as participants, assumed that venue fee discussion, and the rest, were settled.

    Personally, I find it strange that you would think the ITG community would be as indecent to not consider a venue fee. It sounds absurd. Nothing is free in America, and I’ve even proposed spectator fees to be paid if they were going to use your space, sit on your chairs, and watch the tournament. This is paralleled to people paying to go see a movie—they pay for the venue, they pay for their seats, and they pay for the movie.

    It takes two to tango—and while the organizer made the mistake of not making it very clear as to the fees that were going to go to you, you too, did not take the steps to ensure that the rules you want the community to abide by were enforced. This by no means excuses anybody’s actions, because if it were me as a Tournament Organizer—the first step to solidify a pleasant tournament experience is to solidify the owner’s consent as it pertains to the fees that I would be giving from participating entrants in the tournament. So on that end, the Tournament Organizer is to blame for not taking the time to speak up.

    Your kindness, hospitality, and patience with us really made me feel at home in your arcade. I want you to know that anytime somebody treats me with that sort of curtesy, I will go to the end of the world and back to make sure that their home is respected, and treated with absolute dignity. The fact that you felt like you were taken advantage of, and essentially robbed of fees that should have gone to you without saying (whether it was intentional or not), makes me genuinely feel bad. But for somebody that had no idea as to the situation, I had no idea this was happening to begin with. If I even had a hint that this wasn’t thoroughly discussed, I would have made sure that both parties were satisfied. It doesn’t matter about the intent, it matters of the way the situation made you feel, ultimately.

    With that said, I want to ask you a couple of questions:

    What can be done so this doesn’t second itself?
    What can WE do, as a community, to ensure that you know that we have your best interest at heart?
    How can we salvage our reputation with you?

    I pose these questions because I feel the stigma you’ve associated with the community is inaccurate for a majority of the people. I also want to be very clear that I, as a happy consumer of your business, care about your business as much as you do, and would not want to jeopardize the beautiful privileges you have provided us. These privileges include modifying the machine, changing themes, fixing pads, and making it the best machine in SoCal. I don’t know what kind of people are abusing credits, but I will personally make sure this ceases to happen.

  11. It saddens me to know that people in my community contested your authority and decisions. It makes you not want to bring the machine that much more, for reasons of feeling under appreciated if you don’t succumb to giving the players everything and anything they ask for. I’ll have you know (and you bet I’m throwing some people under the bus here, because they deserve it), that in your facility, you should be treated with the upmost respect and dignity, and anybody that tries to jeopardize that (dance game player, fighting game player, or any other player), should be faced with consequences of not getting what they want.

    You come off as very consistent and polite with your behavior, and have always been welcoming to me, so seeing you upset, genuinely, makes me upset, too.

    This was definitely a small situation, turned into a big one, but I'm glad it happened, because it sure as hell will never happen again.

    If you personally need anything, or would like to talk, by all means, contact me: (818) 849-1999 []. I, like the ITG community, stand for your business as much as you do. Please realize and understand that. Whatever mess ups we may have directly or indirectly caused, can be directly fixed.

    I think the lesson from today is to communicate any issues you have with us, just like we would communicate issues we had with the machine, or you, or whatever. We're your friends, and I hope you take a second to let this message sink in, and I really hope I can alter the negative mindset you carry about this past experience--to allow the creation of positive ones that will benefit you, and many other people.

    I wrote a novel, and I'm sorry. Please let me know if there is anything I can personally do. Much, much love, and to a pleasant and easy renovation.
    -Sapeer [Sappy]

  12. I just read about this after it was shared on facebook. I've never been to your arcade, but I have to say as an active member of both the fighting game community and the dance game community, I'm embarrassed by my peers. I really hope that you and the ITG community can work things out, because even while I can no longer play dance games myself, I still am supportive of the community (a community that is shrinking more and more due to more and more limited access to machines to play on publicly). I want the few places where dance game players have been able to go to remain available to them, because I want to see the community thrive in a way that it hasn't since even before I joined the community. I don't know what to say other than to ask you to try to keep an open mind in case there is any way to work this out with your local dance game community. I will say that there is a way to keep people from putting credits onto the machine, and I could put you in contact with someone who could probably help you with that, if you don't feel like going to anyone in the local community to resolve that. Again, I'm very sorry that you've been mistreated by the community, but I do feel there may still be a way to work things out with them, and I really hope that you will be able to.

  13. This is one of the reasons of why I quit ITG, ITG players can be so rude. I prefer a regular DDR machine so that only ONE person (that would be you) can maintain the machine. I personally agree about this, people shouldn't manipulate AC owners like that. :(


  14. Alright I have read through everything and thought out what I would do in this situation.

    To start off I do want to point out that I manage a arcade as well so trust me when I say I know where you are coming from. The community was thirsting so much for a good ITG machine that I actually converted my own DDR machine to ITG for the community. When I installed it I made it very clear that I would not stand for hacking or altering the machine in any way shape or form. If I caught anyone even attempting to modify or add anything I made it clear that I would permanently ban them from the venue as well as convert the machine back to DDR. I have had zero issues with my community of local players thus far.

    Anyways we need to decide who to blame in this situation. Is it the operators fault or are the players at fault? In this situation it is definitely on the players. You have been compensated nothing from the recent turn of events, put your trust and your own money (machine) down for the community to give them a place to play. You were even kind enough to let them manage the content on the machine. What did you get in return? Betrayal. To put it simply you gave the keys to the machine to someone else and they abused their power. It isn't right that you provide the venue, the machine and allow players to modify the game and you get nothing from it. Even from tournaments that is fucking distasteful and greedy.

    Who knows what else those players could have done to your machine as well. Free credit codes, codes to change volume or many other possible exploits that could have potentially hurt your business even more. Now is the time to start deciding what course of action you need to take as a business owner NOT as a friend or an arcade buddy. This time you have to step up and put your foot down. Punish the community or players that hurt your business from this event as well as potential other occasions. I would consider doing one of the following.
    1 - Sell the machine and purchase another machine or two to replace it instead.
    2 - Re-image the drive back to stock in the groove 2 and only allow players to load songs from the USB hub.
    3 - Leave the machine as is and start banning players from your establishment for altering the game as it sits on your floor (game mode and volume). Get the rotten apples out of your venue and keep all the good ones.

    What I posted might sound harsh but enough is enough. If you give someone an inch they will take a mile. Learn from this experience and start stepping up as a business owner. It is okay to be friendly with the community but when problems arise you are ultimately held responsible for the actions that need to be taken to correct them.

    With everything else said, I do wish Super Arcade the best in regards to the renovations and future endeavors. I hope to one day come and visit and see what this place becomes after the overhaul.

    1. thank you for your input. as a first measure i just turned off the machine so no one could play just to let them know i dont care if we lose revenue to clean up the place. i have discussed things over with the community and they will have another chance after i remodel. that being said, they are all on thin ice and i will pull the machine without hesitation if there is any sort of incident occurring without our consent. thanks again and good luck with your shop.

  15. Hi,

    I entered the tournament and didn't know anything about this until we returned to Super Arcade after eating with the other players.

    When 3-4 of us returned (excluding tournament organisers), I heard you shouting loudly and uncontrollably. You were also swearing loudly. I asked who that was and somebody said "he works here".

    As a business owner myself, I found this very unprofessional. While I do not agree with the actions that took place during the tournament, the handling of the bad situation was inexcusable!! Simply try and resolve the situation (there may have been a misunderstanding?) or ban the appropriate people and move on. I felt embarrassed for you.

    Sorry to come across as harsh, but I deal with rude and annoying customers all the time. I have been ripped off hundreds of dollars, however, I do not swear in front of my customers, ever.

    1. rofl...... nice troll dude. i have never raised my voice once at any customer for the 3-4 years i have been running this place. you are a joke and there is not 1 customer who can vouch for this. stop being an online troll and if you have a problem with me or any of my employees feel free to stop by and discuss.

      yelled at people lol....... what a joke. even the guy who posted that on his facebook removed it ever so quickly cause he knew he was being absurd and making false claims. try harder next time please if you want to insult me.