for those of you who tuned into the broadcast of Wednesday Night Fights on 9/19 you know i announced the sad news of another arcade closing shop. this is going to be a very lengthy post and hopefully i can put down in words what my heart feels. but first i want to post a statement ralph himself wrote :
Hi I'm Ralph I own Family fun Arcade
For the past 38 years I have owned and run this place you know as Family Fun Arcade. It has been my pleasure ,my pain ,my nights, my days, my frustration, my satisfaction, and everything in between. I have lived and breathed this business every day of those years. In short Family Fun Arcade has has been my "Family"
I have watched the video game phenomenon from it's humble beginnings to the worldwide explosion.
I have seen little kids grow into adults who now bring their kids to Family Fun.
I have made many lifelong friends and take great pride that I have been able to provide countless hours of fond memories to the people of Family Fun
I have kept this place alive long after most real arcades have disappeared
Sadly 38 years of hard work has taken a heavy toll on me. Now due to health and financial considerations I have been forced to step away from my role here As a result Family Fun will no longer be able to operate after approximately Jan 2013.
It has been a great long run and I hope to see many of my friends in the remaining time here
Family Fun is a second home to many and I hope you can all visit and support us now
Watch for announcements of going away events and we are planning for a big gathering at Family Fun for our final "Family Portrait".
Tell your friends and we can all celebrate the end of an era.
Huge thanks and respect to all the employees who helped to make it possible,and thanks to you the customers
All a big part of "The Family"
there you have it guys. 38 years of history, entertainment, and countless moments of fun, excitement, and drama. FFA will soon be gone but never forgotten. this place was always considered to the fgc as a "players" arcade and ralph was always very accommodating to the requests of all his customers. things were always done from a players perspective and no other place provided more access to the fighting game scene than FFA. hell, this dude even bought 3 boards for Capcom Fighting Jam. that in itself shows he was a diehard capcom supporter, stupid maybe at times, but definitely a huge supporter :P
over the years ffa was always innovative and i believe was the first arcade in america to have head to head cabinets, big screen cabinets, and maintained to keep multiple cabinets of every popular version of each fighting game to please the crowd. even way back when i first started going to FFA i was amazed that ralph had a projector for SF2 which was shot on the wall so people were playing on what seemed to be a 100ft screen (obv exaggerating cause i was like 14-15 at the time, but it was HUGE!) many of the people regarded as legends frequented FFA and throughout the years many more great players and people that are still involved in the FGC came out of this arcade. i can go on and on about how big a landmark this place became ever since the dawn of Street Fighter but i wont bore you anymore.
you guys know why im writing this and i really want to emphasize that this place has been kept open way after if was profitable. ralph basically kept this arcade open to in his own words "provide a playground for the FGC." i have known ralph for over 20 years and he might not exactly be everyones cup of tea, but i'll be damned if he wasnt almost like a second father to me and one of the hardest working bastards ive ever met. he literally works 7 days a week, long hours, and obviously doesnt get paid overtime. he tries his best to maintain 3 arcades, FFA/Japan Arcade/Super Arcade, and that has streched him real thin. most do not know this but just keeping 1 arcade in good functioning order is a tough job, try doing 3! ralph was injured a while back while on the job and completely jacked up his shoulder. did that stop him? with his arm in a sling and a broken finger he came to Super Arcade before we took over and help to build the current SF4 set up that is still being played on today. keep in mind this was the first arcade in the USA to have SF4 and that was all made possible by ralph. then more bad news hit and Super Arcade was going to close, this is when ralph stepped in and saved it from closing down then called me to the scene and gave me an opportunity to show my worth. he has worked tirelessly for the scene way beyond the money making days of arcades and a sad yet proud moment came when we did the first WNF here at super last year. ralph was literally 5 days out of City of Hope for his cancer removal surgery. he knew i was overwhelmed as a newbie in the arcade scene so he came down to help. with stitches and a catheter this dude was playing the roll of superman. he was so passionate about the scene he failed to let his body slow him down, but unfortunately the thin line of bravery and stupidity was crossed and some of his stitching burst and he was forced to stop helping. even at that point the man sat outside in his car in front of super just admiring the work we had accomplished together and i will never forget that night. 300 people, G4 TV, levelup streaming, the entire socal FGC was there and some! he had that ronald mcdonald smile going from ear to ear and it was the happiest i can imagine an older gentlemen being (aside from the day viagra was released)
i believe not only us fighting game players, but all gamers in general have benefited from the existence of ralph and we are very lucky to have someone that offered all his support, dedication, passion, and just outright love for games and gaming. i ask everyone please to rally and support him after all hes done. 38 years of dedication and respect is not something you come by everyday and it will be almost impossible to match. many of you in so cal know ralph and im sure you can agree when i say he is one of the most friendly, humorous, not very handsome, but thats overlooked by his great generosity and his loyalty to his friends, family, and customers in which became his friends. like i was saying, hes tougher than almost anyone i know, but also has the heart of a lion and im very honored to be his friend and hope everyone else that has come across him feels the same.
unfortunately though, he is now facing health issues and huge medical bills which is the reason he can no longer keep the doors open to the places we have grown up in and grown to love and hopefully appreciate. so if you appreciate what we in socal have taken for granted for so long please free to help this man move on. i highly suggest words of encouragement if nothing else and i will be providing an email specifically for this matter so he can hear from you, the people he loved and provided for his whole life.
all of us here at super arcade, levelup, and the so cal fgc are doing what we can to keep the scene alive and trying to give back to someone whos given so much. long live arcades and much thanks to ralph for being everything any fan of arcades could ever wish for.
(WARNING : there is already a bogus twitter account trying to ask for donations. that account has no affiliation with FFA or myself. please do not attempt to help or donate to these fraudulent accounts as we will be setting up our own fundraiser through the website www.arcaderelief.com
which is currently under construction.)