That’s right, as the thread title states, FFA has been here for 37 years. As many of you who live in or have visited Los Angeles know, SoCal has always enjoyed a robust fighting game scene. Capcom has created, and we have consistently supported, the greatest one-on-one skill competition platform ever. We here in Southern California are very fortunate to be in the last stronghold of this incredible phenomenon. As the owner of Family Fun Arcade for 37 years, I am proud to say that FFA, and our players, have been a centerpiece of this ongoing scene. The level of competition here is nearly unmatched outside of Japan. We have always been out there to give the community what it wants. Before Pong was out, we were a huge pinball hall. We’ve always strived to be cutting edge. We were the first location in LA to have a 6-button Street Fighter 1 cabinet. When Street Fighter II: The World Warrior came out we were one of the first to get it. Once it did so incredibly well we expanded the line-up to include 12 Championship Editions and 8 World Warriors, lining our walls with crowds and non-stop play. We were the first arcade in the area to build Head-to-Head cabinets linked together, which remain extremely popular with players to this day. Thanks to the likes of John Bailon (Southern Hills Golfland) and Jason Wilson (Tips & Tricks magazine), the early tournament scene in SoCal exploded, and FFA became a major hub for Third Strike competition (at one time we even operated 13 3rd Strikes, housed in 23 cabinets!). If you were there, you remember the hype and awe that the scene provided every week. Fighting games are still our primary focus, but the fighting game scene isn’t even close to how large it was back in the 90s. Even though 2008-2011 is the biggest boom in fighting games since 91-95, arcades aren’t seeing nearly the same amount of patrons as they used to.
My name is Ralph. I have been in the arcade business for 37 years and have owned numerous arcades, such as Noah’s Arkade (LA Mirada Mall 1974-1987) Skatercross (Valley’s first dedicated skate park and arcade, Reseda CA), Power Zone (Simi Valley), Cyberzone (Simi Valley), and Interface (Simi Valley), as well as the current locations of Japan Arcade (in Little Tokyo), and Family Fun Arcade (Granada Hills CA).
I have seen many changes and, with the recent worldwide demise of the arcade industry, know that many regions are completely without local arcades for gamers to refine their skills and meet fellow players. We have all witnessed the loss of such great locations as Chinatown Fair (NYC), Tokyo Game Action (CT), Southern Hills Golfland (SoCal), Arcade Infinity (SoCal), and many others. Having been an integral part of the video game generation, we at FFA intend to continue to provide the resources for this scene to thrive and keep going forward. FFA will remain a positive force, but those who appreciate this must step up to keep this legacy strong. Remember that this has been a spawning ground for such great players as Tomo Ohiro, Mike Watson, Alex Valle, Pyrolee, Gootecks, Ed Ma, Amir, Victoly, Frankie3s, Jason Cole, Fanatiq, Finesse, Soo Mighty, Neo, and many others.
We have, and will continue, to provide what the players want, to the best of our abilities (Sorry Tekken players, we’re working on it!). Due to the incredibly high cost of new titles and competition from consoles/internet/etc. our business model has changed drastically. Street Fighter IV brought new enthusiasm to the scene back in 2008, and we rose to the challenge by creating our unique hybrid cabinets (with both American and Japanese controls, allowing the players to choose). To my knowledge, we were the only arcade in North America to operate 6 linked Street Fighter IV Vanilla cabinets. We have recently stepped up with Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition, and now we operate 8 linked cabinets.
It is a challenge under any circumstances to provide continuous maintenance on many arcade machines, but with current economic conditions and the weakness in the arcade parts industry it presents a daunting task, so please be patient. (i.e. Happ recently moved their manufacturing to China, as a result the cost went up and the quality went down. They currently ship joysticks with E-switches, which are garbage. All new joysticks we purchase have to have at least three different parts replaced before they are playable. For those who prefer American controls, this is unfortunate.) We will be stepping up our progress in providing quality performance on our cabinets’ but everyone must participate: Treat the equipment with respect, report any malfunctions (not including your inability to pull off that combo!), and please be patient! (it’s a mechanical device, even NASA can’t get their shuttle off the ground on time, and we don’t have their budget.)
The purpose of this thread is to give a voice to those who believe that SoCal can still provide the ass whoopins that we’ve delivered throughout the history of the game. We will be announcing our plans for upcoming events/tournaments/developments; watch our threads!
So heads up all you combo fiends and parry fairies! Time to PTFU or STFU! Get your game on and get ready for EVO. Are You ready for some ass whoopin’?!
P.S.: There are many people who have contributed through the years to the success of FFA and the community, and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank them all for their contributions.
P.P.S.: I am not the guy behind the counter at nights!