Wednesday, October 4, 2017

The truth, closure, and the finish line

Many times in life you will come across hardships and challenges. And during those times is when you find yourself at a point in life where you are forced to make decisions that will greatly influence the rest of your life. These choices you make may seem unimportant at the time but its these exact choices that lead you to be the person you are today. Just think back to some of the earliest scenarios in life. Think back to grade school, where you had a choice to either study for your upcoming quiz and spend more time catching up on reading, or take the option of going out to play with your friends, or just sit at home and watch tv instead. It's choices as simple as this that lead you to where you are today. Now I'm not saying that if you chose to study more it will turn you automatically into this successful person later on in life, but it does set the tone on how you dedicate yourself and how you proceed to tackle your everyday issues.

Let me get one thing straight before I continue. I am not harping on anyone's work ethics here, nor am I trying to pass any judgement. I have made plenty of mistakes in life, and HUGE ones at that, but its all about how you bounce back to right these wrongs you have written and take the initiative to improve yourself. Obviously everyone is different, and as you get older you really start to realize these differences. As a kid, you have your parents to help guide you and warn you about what not to do and who not to hang out with. I was told that taking shortcuts in life would not be rewarding and taking the easy way out doesn't teach you anything. So for once in my life I finally did everything right. I followed all the rules. I took the long road which was full of hurdles and roadblocks and guess what?

I f*cking lost everything. And when I say everything, trust me. I've lost so much more than many of you ever experienced and much much more than some of you ever will. So for anyone to ever say "I'm not for the community" or "I don't love the FGC," you are completely wrong. My mistakes include getting obsessed with this project and putting everything aside in life. Also I would like to apologize for constantly giving timelines in which I had no control over and were out of my hands. I was always optimistic and never considered the fact that people would try to screw me over or delay my progress intentionally.

All I truly have left is this arcade and I will make it a huge success. I just hope that all of you will help me and come along for this ride. Thank you everyone. 

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Love, life, and passion (part 2)

I guess its finally time for me to actually use this blog for what it really initially intended for. I need a place to finally speak about issues and hopefully find some peace in my life. I have been depressed for quite some time now and actually contemplated giving up on life. I will be the first to admit that I have had an extremely blessed and fortunate life. I was brought up in a family where I had both my parents and also a lot of contact with my mother's side of the family.

Warning: this blog will contain what some may find boring and non arcade related so read on at your own risk.

My late father was a Caucasian male of Scottish descent and my mother is Asian of Chinese descent. Being a child of mixed ethnicity was not so much a common thing during my youth and led to many issues for me growing up. I mentioned earlier that I grew up surrounded by my mother's side of the family because my father's side was basically racist and looked down on my parents and I. I vaguely remember attending a wedding when I was roughly 5 or 6 years old and being viewed awkwardly while my mother was pointed at and mocked on numerous occasion. Then there was a big fight between my parents and I believe my father completely separated himself from his side of the family. I honestly believe I grew up a racist due to being attacked cause of my own ethnicity. During the early 80's everywhere was predominately white in California. Things have come a long way in terms of cultural and ethnic diversity since then. Funny thing is, as a kid growing up I was attacked for being non-white, but as I grew up, I started to stand out cause I was half white. Sorry for the dragged out racial talk here, I promise I will get to the point soon.

The FGC is a very special community where race really doesn't play a factor on how you are viewed, where as your skill is what shows your worth. I can honestly say that I finally matured and got over my racism issues through playing Street Fighter and being involved in competitive gaming. Through gaming I also dropped my ignorance and fear of gay people and learned to accept people no matter their race or sexual preference. This community is really a place where people can better themself and learn so many things. Not only does gaming allow you to excel in dealing with the pressures of competition, but it also puts you into this giant melting pot where you can interact with people from other cultures and backgrounds and learn so much from them.

I'll leave you with a quick story on the subject since it seems appropriate. I will keep this person's name anonymous but for those in the socal scene it's pretty obvious. I still joke to this day about this with him so hopefully you guys get a chuckle out of it. Back in the day when AOL Instant Messenger was the thing, I used to chat with this dude here and there and I've known him since he was maybe 10 years old. So one night out of nowhere I get this message "yo Watson, guess who I like?" In my head im thinking.... uh... wtf? There really wasn't any girls in the scene so maybe this fool was gonna tell me something like Britney Spears or Jennifer Love Hewitt.... NOPE. He sends me this awkward ass picture of LL f*cking Cool J. Wtf? Like literally, a picture of this buff ass black dude with no shirt on and all oiled up showing off his pecs.... huge shocker out of the blue lol! But, I will never forget this moment cause this was the day I got over any issues I might have had with gay people. He basically had the courage to tell me he was gay and asked if my opinion of him changed or if it would affect our friendship.  On that day I came to the realization that there was absolutely nothing wrong with that and I was just being ignorant towards something that i wasn't. I want to thank this person for opening my eyes and making me a better person. I greatly respect this person and consider him a friend to this day, and for what it's worth, he's a total beast at fighting games and easily an all time top 10 fighting game player. And no, it's not Ricki Ortiz haha, although I respect her and her achievements and as much as I hate it, she was my favorite rival during the 3rd Strike era.

Thank you all again for reading. Next chapter..... trouble in paradise....

Monday, September 18, 2017

Life, love, passion (part 1)

Hello again everyone and thank you all for sticking with me. So many things have happened and so many huge changes have occurred since my last entry on here so I really don't know where to start. For those of you who have a good memory, I mentioned early on that I was a very private person and always kept my feelings and personal life extremely private and unless you were in my inner circle, you would really only see of side of me. This blog all started when times were getting a little tough and I needed an outlet to keep myself from going crazy. In a sense, it gave me a chance to breath and vent. An opportunity to do something and make myself a better person.  It also gave me a chance to personally and publicly thank a few people who supported me and my business when we needed it the most. Hell, I was even able to make a few public apologies and had a couple "My Name is Earl" moments. That's a TV show for those of you wondering wtf I'm referring to lol.

As a grown man, I have made many mistakes. But as a grown man I am now able to realize those mistakes and grow from them. I have lived a very fortunate life and have always had much love and care from those who are around me. I was never the type of person to jump in and out of friendships or relationships, and I valued loyalty to an extreme. I would go out of my way to help my friends and family but there was always a limit. I have my mother to thank for my stubbornness yet caring personality and I could never thank her enough for everything she has sacrificed and done for me for my entire life. I also have my father, who passed away when I was only 21 years old, to thank for keeping me in line and being stern with me when I was on the brink of becoming for lack of better terms, a f*ck up. My father served in the military for over 25 years and sacrificed a lot for our country and my family.

Ok, here comes the explanation as to why I labeled this as "part 1" of the blog entry. For those of you looking for updates on the arcade or some current Fgc drama, this isn't the entry for you. This portion of my blog will take you through the ups and downs of my life leading up to the biggest fight of my life in keeping Super Arcade alive.

Life truly is all about perspective. When you're young you take things for granted and you do things without thinking about the long term consequences and negativity you might create. I used to think and feel like the world was against me, and when I succeeded at something it was all about me. Now I can honestly say that I see everything in a different light. Over the past 5 or 6 years I started to look at things from an entirely different point of view. I put myself in the shoes of others and realize things are not what they seem. When you're in survival mode your mind and thought process can cause you to act completely out of character. When your back is against the wall, this is the time where your true heart and grit are tested. As cheesy as it sounds, the real reason I'm still in this fight to keep my dream alive is not because of me. As a fighting game player I have had my moments of glory, as a business owner I have also had my time, but as a person, I needed to finish my dream.

Without sounding arrogant or self centered, I believe Super Arcade achieved many things so far. We were a launching pad for many communities, we allowed players to have a home and grow as not just players and gamers, but also as humans. In attempts to not drag on and on and get to the point, I just want to provide more people with the opportunity to shine and be something. I want to give the community a place to play and just be themself. I want for everyone to have a place they can do what they want and achieve their goals without having to put on an act just to fit in.

Thanks for reading and I'll be back soon.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Status of Construction And More of a Personal Perspective

So I won't keep any of those who are here only for an update in any suspense.  Construction has been taking some time for a few reasons but at this point all the plumbing for the restrooms is done and electrical started as of yesterday.  There has been numerous city inspections during this process and I will list the basic things that still need to be finished.  Once electrical work is complete, the walls of the restroom will be completed and then the flooring of the entire location will be redone.  After that, the interior will receive a makeover that will include new lighting, wall patching and repair, and painting to finish things off.  This process will hopefully take no longer than a month and then we can finally get things going and open the doors.  Many people have asked what is taking so long, so let me explain things briefly here.  This building is almost 100 years old and we basically had to construct completely new plumbing to accommodate the requirements of the city to add more restrooms.  This process included the digging up of concrete to lay new sewage lines and proper water pipes.  Completely new construction of an additional restroom and water fountains, yes water fountains cause the city thinks Super Arcade is Disneyland and should have these for our customers.... Then we had to comply with all the handicap requirements and build 2 ramps from scratch with railings both in the front and the back of the store.  We were also required to build a brand new enclosure for a trash bins, apparently Super Arcade is some restaurant providing food and drink and it is mandatory to have the proper waste disposal to ensure the lovely City of Azusa stays fresh and clean.

So to sum all this up, new handicap ramps, new railings, new restrooms and underground plumbing, added an office, added 2 storage closets, fully redone electrical of entire building, new flooring, and last but not least, a new exterior paint job.  Had I have known I would've been stuck doing all this from the get go, there is no way in hell I would think I could've finished or even tried.  If I actually kept an accurate log of every penny I spent to this day on this project I would probably turn myself into the nearest clinic and seek some psychiatric help.  This project has not only taught me the biggest lesson in life, but it has also drained my soul and completely changed my life forever.  The ups and downs I have been through in the past 2+ years have really taken a huge toll on not only me but also my friends and my family.  Things have been done over the past couple years that cannot be repaired and so much valuable time has been wasted.  At this point I can only pray it was all worth it and my ego and pride that wouldn't allow me to fail has not betrayed me and led me down a path of darkness.

As the status looms of my personal reputation and existence in the FGC as it's quickly been moving forward lately, I would like to say this.  Although I am not fond of the fact that as a community we have been pushed so far into this "corporate" and "eSports" setting, I am proud that as a whole I am seeing growth and recognition for all the hard work everyone has put into it.  I am a diehard Street Fighter fan through and through, and I have competed for well over 25 and still find much enjoyment playing and challenging people.  But this wasn't my true motivation for coming all this way.  This was not the reason that kept me striving day in and day out to find a way to get things done.  When things started to weigh down on me, and times started to get really rough, I found the true sense of life and motivation from the people who supported the arcade, and the people who are no longer here to enjoy the game that many of us take for granted.  Everyday we take life for granted and I can now say and admit that I was one of these people for many years.  Though I understood as an adult what life is like, I never truly appreciated the reason I found to accomplish things and to do selfish acts without any recognition.  I am man enough now to admit all my flaws and become willing to accept change and what is needed to move forward in life.  My life changed greatly the sad night we lost one of our FGC brothers by the name of "PushaTee." Without going into detail, seeing a friend, a man of such great gaming passion, and a fellow father of 2 beautiful children die right in front of my own eyes......  That was probably the most heartbreaking moment in my life to this day and I am dedicating this entire project to him.  There are not many people in this world that can compare to this man.  It is not very often that you can find someone in this community, or in our entire human race for that matter, where people have 0 negative comments or remarks after they pass.  I have yet to come across 1 person who had any ill will towards Terrance and this just shows how truly special you were to all of us bro.  Thank you for changing my life and thank you for making our community a brighter place with your presence.  You will be forever missed and your contributions to our brotherhood of gamers are still ongoing.  I have something really nice planned to honor this man once we open and will have a dedicated area and cabinet set up with his name on it so his wife and children can come visit and see what he meant to me and the arcade.

Ok, so this blog turned out a little soft at the end and emotions start to show, but hey, I am a man of the people and will continue to try to and bring something to the community and return all that it has given to me.  I would also like to say that I will be putting up a wall dedicated to the "fallen soldiers of the FGC" to honor the people who have passed away in beloved community.  On this wall I will be placing "Dasrik" "PSX2000" "Remix aka Nelson Reyes""Patrick Collins" and a few others with some help and feedback from the community.  Anyways, its almost 5am and this old man needs some sleep.  Thank you all for reading and I will post more updates real soon.  Have a great day.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

A New Year And Finally An End In Sight

Hello everyone and thank you all for reading.  It's been such a long time since I have seen everyone and been around the community I grew up with and loved.  I miss so much about the FGC and can't wait to get back in the mix of things and very fortunate to have many of you still along for the ride.

The arcade has been under construction for about a month now and still undergoing work as we must comply with all the city's rules and regulations.  It is a very slow yet steady process that I would estimate at roughly 50% done so far.  I really can't believe I have come this far and things have changed majorly in my life since the start of this whole project.  This has been a very testing time and definitely the most challenging goal of my life.  I have lived a very fortunate life and was blessed to having 2 amazing parents.  I was always taught that working for everything you have in the only way you can truly appreciate what you achieve and having things come easily is not always the best route.  In all this though, I never would have thought it would take over 2 years from the day I closed Super Arcade in Walnut to get to where I am right now.

I really don't know why I started this blog a few years back.  I have had a lot of time to reflect on many things and take on an entirely different perspective not only from my surroundings, but also my life as a whole.  I was always a person driven by ego and always strived to be the best at everything I started with a no quit attitude.  Sometimes this was a good thing, and sometimes it was bad.  I wanted to get this arcade up and running so bad that I sacrificed so much and ruined relationships with people around me.  I have burdened friends and stressed out not only myself by my family.  I came to a point where I felt that keeping the arcade open was no longer feasible and that is when I ran a Kickstarter campaign in hopes of revamping the old shop and bringing Super Arcade to a whole new level.  I honestly told myself that if the goal wasn't reached that I would not continue on and be able to walk away knowing I did my best and would have no regrets over it.  Well, this was not the case and the campaign actually succeeded and I got back to work harder than ever.  I spent almost a month remodeling the old location and took a slight step in a different directions by adding pinball machines and adding more items for retail sale.  I concentrated more on running tournaments and kind of left the "arcade" aspect and retro gaming stuff to the side.  Through the first few months after the remodel, we started running some tournaments on computers and I wasn't listening to what the customers and the community wanted.  I let myself fall into a state where I wasn't fully asserting all my effort and energy into the business.  This is when another move was made and I decided that Super Arcade would separate from our tournament partner and go on our own path.  Things were working out well from that time until we were forced to move.

Fast forward 2 years of going through hell and wasting close to $175,000........  The shop is moving along with hopefully no more issues and we can finally be open in approximately a month.  I don't know what to expect from the new location exactly, but what I can ensure is that the quality of tournaments and customer service will be what people remember and continue to be the reason our customers come back for more and more!  The new location will have a larger line up of arcade games since the new shop has twice the amount of floor space.  The tournament section will be larger to allow for more casual set up for those not competing.  And also, in case you missed the news, World 8 has joined forces with Super Arcade and will have a remote location inside our shop so you can purchase all your gaming needs while you visit our shop.

And finally, I have an announcement to make in regards to all of our Kickstarter backers.  I will definitely be able to finish working on getting everything finished in terms of backer rewards and acknowledgement, and I also have plans to reimburse each and every person who contributed.  I didn't want to commit to saying anything publicly regarding this, but now that I know for sure the shop will be opening soon and I will have stable income, I can commit to this and want everyone to know that I thank you very much for your patience and faith you put in me to get the job done.  I can't wait to see what the future brings for Super Arcade and hope you all come to join me on this escapade!  See you all real soon.  And more updates with pictures will be on their way!

Mike Watson