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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in <( '_' )> (>'_' )> <( '_' )> <( '_'<) ^( ^_^)^'s LiveJournal:

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Saturday, November 28th, 2015
4:10 pm
Let's Get Fiscal! December '15
Christine being out of work is really starting to put the screws to both of us. Add to that her disability deciding to not pay her for the last three weeks and ick. Luckily she had a windfall earlier in the year that's keeping everything afloat, and her dad has a lot of money spare for things like this.

Bbal 1170
Mbal 600
Cdiff 570
Pdiff 540

We took a trip to Michigan to visit Christine's relatives a couple weekends ago and it CONSUMED about $500, with about a hundred of it being having to buy a fucking battery for the company SUV. Another hundred of it was Gas for the damn thing because it gets 20 mpg at best.

Start 600
Car ins 30
IRA 90
Life/Disability 40
Sallie Mae 220
Left 220

BoA: Minimum, I can't do anything else.
Sunday, May 31st, 2015
4:16 pm
Let's Get Fiscal! June '15
Mbal 990
Bbal 2730
Cdiff 1740
Pdiff 500

ACEN Payday put the buffer way up. I even paid for almost 700 worth of important stuff off of that. A big chunk of that money is going towards BoA this month though.

My car is paid off, so that's off the monthly expenses. Looks like this now:

Start 990
insurance 60
ira 90
at&t cell 70
Life/disability insurance 60
Sallie Mae 220
Netflix 10
Left 480

My IRA contribution went up as well. The actual payment is just below 90, so it goes in as 90. But I'm still looking at $510 going out for monthlies instead of $710 per month.

BoA: I'm going to send 740 from buffer and 260 from available for a nice 1000 shot.

My car being paid off enables another 200 a month free to go after stuff. I'd really like to be able to start tossing that in the general direction of BoA to get that down to a non-insane level. As much as the quick one shots of a grand help, there's nothing like being able to pay bigger chunks at once.

Also, I specifically held more money in the buffer than I probably should have because I want to get my car's brakes looked at soon. They're getting close to being worn down and that needs to be addressed.

Perhaps I should still off some level of wizard poker equipment. I've got some modern staples that I could probably off for a few hundred extra dollars. And the xbone doesn't get used at all, it could probably be offed. I'm also going to need to look into a new computer sooner than later. This old thing from 2006 is starting to really wear down.

I also may need to skip a hockey season, depending on cash.
Saturday, February 1st, 2014
4:04 pm
Let's Get Fiscal! Feb '14
Bbal 2460
mbal 2010
cdiff 450
pdiff 500

I'm probably going to be pouring over a bunch of stuff to double check this because I should have had more of a gain than that. I used 100 at BoA last month and only regained 50. The buffer is getting disappointing, but my tax return will be coming in and just sitting for a while.

Start 2010
Car 210
insurance 70
ira 80
at&t cell 70
Life/disability insurance 40
U-verse 60
Sallie Mae 220
Left 1260

Before I get on to BoA, I have to note that January was a two pay period month. I won't have all 1260 of that to shoost at the card (though it will be a higher number due to the Target credit card theft and it forcing me to replace my debit card).

BoA: Went up by a whole lot but most of this was expected due to the debit problems and having to buy tires. I can send 600 this way right now, but not much more because it'll be the 13th before I get paid again.
Tuesday, May 21st, 2013
11:20 pm
ACEN 2013: Cram it!
ANOTHER ACEN DOWN, oh god I'm getting to old for these.

Unlike the last few years, I'm going to get straight to the theme on this one. We crammed 13 games into a 26' Penske truck, then crammed those same games into the edge of a 4100 square foot room that had shit for power drops. I'm not kidding when I say the arcade was a mere 13 games, and they were pretty much packed in.

I didn't bother to take a video of the arcade this time, mostly because I didn't care quite as much. We had a staff table by one of the entrances with Super Turbo and Marvel 2 next to it. Following that wall had TWO GIANT DOORS, TMNT, 19XX, and the classics cabinet leading to the corner. Turn the corner and you got House of the Dead, then another giant door. From the other side of the door, cabinets lead out from the wall starting with Johnny Nero, Virtual On, and the 6p X-Men functioning as the cap of the wall. Swinging around that, you had Fiesta 2, Supernova, and Extreme. All of this was guarded by tables to help prevent people from just waltzing into console.

It was like a penis of games jutting out. The three dance games next to each other (with DDR's hidden) was specifically because we knew people were going to seek them out. Ok, onto the game stuff. This year won't include income, though they are in descending income order.

So yeah, ranting and raving and thinking and bwargle
Monday, February 11th, 2013
11:48 pm
What's left of the US arcade scene? Hard to say.
I know there's been a half a billion articles out there claiming that the arcade scene in the US is dead, buried, decayed, and anyone even thinking about opening an arcade is either pants-on-head retarded or has lots of money to throw around. It's not that there isn't evidence of this. Chinatown Fair shutting down a while ago, then reopening as a ticket/"family" place (with Henry Cen opening Next Level to cater to the locals). The super recent news that Gemini won't be renewing the lease on their location. A bunch of overseas locations are shutting down. The list goes on and on.

Despite all of that, there are places where arcades thrive. Galloping Ghost is the prime example, but Doc and Gerry very smartly skirt the biggest problem with the arcade business model. Barcades and FEC's work well, but the arcade games are merely there to serve as an attraction instead of the money maker (food/drink pull down the vast majority of revenue). Even in my location the arcades are something to help draw parents in along with their children. While the kids tend to poke around at the Pokemon crap, the adults are wanting to drop a few quarters into the games.

As an aside, this is a complete flip flop of most people's expectations. A sign of the changing times if you will.

So, what's to blame for the decline of the US Arcade. A lot of people want to pin it on console systems. Ok, you can pin it on console systems all you want. For a $100-$500 up front cost, then $60 a game you get to keep the game for as long as you want. Or you can play a one dollar game on your phone, often times it's Pac-Man or Donkey Kong (incidentally games that people keep asking for at my location).

Consoles may have stolen the thunder from arcades in terms of side scrollers (which don't really exist anymore) and fighting games, but arcades still reign supreme for driving, light gun, and other simulation type stuff. Plus Consoles tend to not involve as much social activity.

No, there's more REAL external problems facing the traditional arcade than just console games. I can think of a mishmash of a bunch of reasons, so here they are in no particular order.

I'll lead off with something I know Aaron Azunis (Editor of ArcadeHeroes.com and owner of The Game Grid Arcade in Utah), Henry Cen, and a few other operators have brought up repeatedly. The costs of running an arcade and customer expectations on price per play are so far out of whack that it's not even funny. People seem to expect every game to cost a quarter per play. I want to stress the word EVERY in that sentence.

Sure a quarter a play works nicely for games that just inhale quarters. I'm referring to games like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and that ilk. A quarter a play is fine there. Where it doesn't work is if a game is brand new or at least recent. A quick pop over to BMIgaming shows a 42" screen snowmobile game for merely $7875! Wow, so cheap! Pac-Man Battle Royale cost around $4000 per unit. Street Fighter 4 units (in plural because you had to buy two and link them) were insane costing upwards of $10,000. New PIU machines go for around $9-11k (and Pump earns like crap in most US areas).

How in the ever living, unholy fuck is a location going to make those kinds of initial investments back a a quarter? Even the cheapest thing I listed (Pac-Man Battle Royale) would take 12,000 plays at a quarter to make that back. It's also worth noting that the average round of the game lasts around a minute. Games tend to go three or five rounds.

Whee, a dollar on average every four to seven minutes!

Now let's look at that PIU. I'm going to work with $10,000 as the price. That's FORTY THOUSAND PLAYS at a quarter a game with each game taking 5-9 minutes.

This also doesn't mention that a quarter now is worth nothing. When was the last time you were able to get anything not out of a candy vending machine for a quarter?

The cost of doing business is insane now too. Henry Cen has stated on video that the vast majority of his arcade income goes right back to rent (he probably doesn't make much profit, if any). The games at my location wouldn't remotely cover the rent. Hell, they barely cover the licensing fees we have to pay for them. I should also mention that Illinois has surprisingly reasonable licensing fees, and Joliet is marginally reasonable. The two licensing fees combined don't even add up to what another local town, or even Chicago used to charge per machine.

All of that is to say whatever town you're in doesn't have an outright ban like Orland Park, Illinois had until they allowed a Dave & Busters. Or if your city some strange rule regarding the number of machines in a location, similar to Brookfield, Illinois' limit of no more than 10-15 coin-operated devices in a single location (this being the impetus for Galloping Ghost running free play with an entry fee). Even Chicago has basically gone to not allowing any location to have an arcade game unless they serve alcohol on site.

When you put all of this together, you get a baseline that looks something along the lines of:
High initial costs, High operation costs, variable municipal rules, unrealistic customer expectations, fat chance of making money.

Honestly, my (really our, I have partners) location works well enough for what it is because all six games there were purchased for cheap, and had either earned all or the vast majority of their money back through conventions. We have the luxury of keeping our games cheap because they're not what makes the money in the store, we have ways of getting them to make a bunch of money in a short period of time, and honestly, what they pull down is already profit.

For reference, the location holds a DDR Supernova at .75 for 3 songs, a single Time Crisis 2 at .50 (this just recently went down), a Six Player X-Men at .25 for 2 lives, a House of the Dead at .50 for 4 lives, a TMNT at .25 for 2 lives, and a Marvel vs. Capcom 2 at .50 per player. A few people have complained that the Supernova price is too high, then said it should be a quarter for three songs. They were promptly told they should leave the mall the store is located in.

Of course you can look at people's expectations and the amount of money they're willing to spend all you want. It doesn't matter in a coin-operated situation when PEOPLE DON'T CARRY ANY DAMNED CASH ANYMORE. And before you try to call me out on this, I'm guilty too. I rarely carry cash at this point for numerous reasons.

This can be alleviated with credit card accepting changers spitting out tokens, or card systems, but those all cost a lot of money that locations may or may not have (again, a point for the Galloping Ghost business model). My group has been able to sidestep this with a mobile credit card reader, but some customers are still skeptical and they have a bad habit of not accepting pre-load cards or specialty gift cards for some reason. All of this doesn't mention that you're going to get dinged for credit card processing costs as well.

It also doesn't help that upkeep on a lot of coin-op machines in the wild tends to be utter ass. I know people that have operated (even in a temporary situation) who utterly refused to perform even the most basic of maintenance unless it was preventing people from dropping money into a game. The guy treated it as if everyone owed him money just for having the games, fuck if you could actually have an active start button so you could play the thing.

There's a few people out there who work at taking care of their games. I try to keep all of the games I'm in charge of in as good of shape as possible (though I admit I'm falling behind because of age and volume of games between my day job and company assets). Aaron Azunis spends a lot of time on Facebook going over his repair work. Doc at GGA has the herculean task of upkeep on 375 games. Game upkeep isn't easy, especially when something can go wrong and it can be weeks before you find out about it. Another problem with customer expectations, but I digress.

So, where the hell am I even going with this? What's the actual problem with the American Arcade as people remember it?

It's pretty simple, really. With inflation, customer expectations, costs of business, upkeep time and costs, people relying on credit/debit, the standard arcade method of coin-operation generally isn't viable as a stand alone business. Add in money from a bar, bowling alley, restaurant and things work. But coin-op in that instance only accounts for a minority of income.

This shouldn't come as a surprise, given I've mentioned this repeatedly, but Galloping Ghost really did sidestep nearly all of the problems with the old school arcade business model by virtue of Brookfield's limit on coin-op. I told Doc when we were in the location trying to get games up and running that I thought the business plan was brilliant and that GGA would essentially be the epicenter of an arcade resurgence. GGA does have other sources of income with food, drinks, snacks, and some trinkets for sale, but the majority of their intake is from admission to their location.

The fact the model has been copied numerous times in the two years they've been open proves I'm right. GGA opened at the perfect time to re-ignite the general populace's interest in arcades, and did it without the feeling of being nickel and dimed at a coin-op location.

Were I to open a location or consult on a location opening, I likely wouldn't even consider coin-operation as an option. When Gemini Arcade reopens in a new location, I would honestly recommend to Juli that they just use an all encompassing admission/free play setup. Or at least give it a shot as a special. I'd do it, but it's worthless with six games.

Ok, enough ranting.
Wednesday, August 15th, 2012
10:32 pm
Wizard World Chicago 2012: Dean Stockwell's...Wife!?!?!???
Well, this was an experience. I can't say it was a good or bad one, but it's an experience.

I'm honestly disappointed in the arcade cash take, but at the same time it's better than it could have been. Long story short, gaming got put in the upstairs section of the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center. Arcade was supposed to be in the super far back rooms (as in you'd never find it even if you were looking for it). THE guy in charge of the convention looked at what we had and the room we were supposed to be in and asked if moving out to the hallway.

Honestly, the move to the hallway is the only reason we even REMOTELY did well. As I said, arcade didn't do so hot, but the Vendor table we set up in conjunction with Dwyer Studios kicked some ass. But I have very little to do with that, and I generally give no fucks about it as long as it's making money and not consuming all the credit card space. It did help greatly to have the table near the arcade though.

That said let's look at the arcade performance: clicky clickyCollapse )
This convention's theme came from the fact we were visited NUMEROUS times by a woman of about 23 who's apparently Dean Stockwell's third wife. She was extremely nice and happy to hang around with us and play games. Seemed to have taking a liking to Kasey Zhong too. It's just a super surreal experience to meet a celebrities' wife and find out that she's like 40 years younger than him. Lucky bastard, hahaha.

I was initially going to make the theme for this one "Spike Your Shorts." Mostly becuase every night we crashed in the Aloft I announced I was going to sleep by literally spiking my shorts to the ground and saying something non-sensical
Tuesday, August 14th, 2012
1:27 pm
A preview, whilst I stare at numbers and contemplate things.
Time Crisis
Star Wars
Simpsons/Sunset Riders
Super Turbo
Mega Man
Neo Geo
Puzzle Fighter
Monday, August 13th, 2012
6:31 pm
Anime World Chicago 2012: Boot Your Leg
Forgive me, as I didn't have time to even think about writing this update between the end of the convention this report is for and the one that's going to follow. Also, this isn't exactly going to be the longest report due to being a free play convention.

In complete and utter contrast to AW Indy, Chicago was a dream. Everything about it was better. Better hotel, better attendance, better competition, better guests, better people. Name it, it was better.

Arcade wise, we only had two changes between Indy and Chicago. The first was swapping out Neo-Geo for Star Wars Trilogy. The second was bringing the Classics cabinet because we could. Very few problems to report. Speaking of that, here's the report.

Atomiswave (Super Turbo): I had installed Sanwa sticks to the control panel and needed to wire them up at the start of the convention. Turns out one of the sticks I had spare had a bad switch PCB. Luckily I brought the Happ sticks that were in it beforehand.

DDR: Had reports of some phantom hits or sticking on one of the arrows. I was never able to replicate any of the problems.

Star Wars Trilogy: Had to wire a button out the door for people to press to add credits.

I honestly can't remember if there's anything more. I do know I was tweaking volumes every so often between the music games, but nothing more. Mostly because I was in console the vast majority of the time. And I mean vast.

That said, console went over really well this time around. People were generally going nuts over some of the games, and Jeff modded my SNES to play japanese games (surprisingly simple). Tournaments went fairly smoothly with the exception of a miscommunication between Jeff and Alex about some Brawl settings.

We did have some equipment walk again, to the tune of Tetris and Super Mario Bros. 3 for NES. Yes, two of the most common NES cartridges got taken. It's going to cost less than $20 to get them replaced, so whatever.

Vendor table wasn't in the best spot, but it made more money again. Whee.

Once again, this convention had a Magic draft and I got in to defend my title. Suffice it to say, I defended my title through a 10 man double elimination bracket (why it was double elim I have no clue) playing six matches and not being knocked into losers until grand finals because my White/Black Exalted deck literally took a shit on me two games in a row. I pulled a $15 card out of a prize pack.

Load in/out on both ends was pretty standard fare except for being stuck waiting for the sword guys to get the hell out of the way for exiting the hyatt.

Now, for this convention theme. This came up because Jeff and Nina were discussing bootleg items and the sale of them. I can't specifically remember who, but one of us ended up letting out the phrase, "I'll boot your leg!" in response to something and it just stuck.

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012
10:33 pm
Anime Word Indy 2012: Jizzle Physics
Oops, Freudian slip. Or so Dread said.

That was in response to him seeing Skullgirls for the first time, and noticing Parasoul's jiggle.

I also realize that last year's AWC didn't really have a theme to it, but it should have been Smolder.

The best way to sum up this year's Indy experience is "chickens with heads cut off running around". That's not just because we had two rooms and a vendor table to cover with four people (we brought Kevin Kirwin along for this one), it's because the hotel was a fucking maze and console was on the opposite side of the building from the other two. Actually, nearly all the negative feedback about the convention has to do with the hotel layout and how traffic didn't flow.

Dealer hall was relatively easy to find, but the selection of vendors didn't mesh very well with the convention attendees. Selling live steel to 12-16 year olds isn't happening. When your cheapest item is $70, people are going to balk.

Then again, people weren't even really balking. As a matter of fact they weren't even walking through the room. They were pretty much stopping at our booth and the one across from it to shop then walking back out. It got bad enough that they made the door by us entrance only.

Artist Alley basically had to eat one the whole time. Combine the weird traffic flow on the first floor with the fact nobody was even ending up that way and there were a lot of pissed off artists. And rightly so.

Console and Tabletop were literally at the end of the building, upstairs, and around three bends. There was practically no traffic. Arcade was essentially across the hall from vendor. Fun fact, that was supposed to be table top, but the hotel's freight elevators were all broken.

Since I'm kinda the primary arcade guy, I'll talk about that first. I had one mid to major problem with House of the Dead's gun finally wigging out and a start button dying (not the switch, the button). Jeff had a spare button and I brought spare guns, so we were all good. I had to re-enable the credit buttons on Simpsons and TMNT (and people couldn't find them), and put a board into the Atomiswave cabinet. That one didn't actually end up having sound, but it didn't matter. Neo-Geo's monitor was pitching enough of a fit that it ended up coming back to my house after con and is already out for repair.

I basically set the whole thing up starting from 6:30am on friday until I had the room open and mostly operational by 11am. And people were coming in to play. I also have to thank Tim DeWitt for making the awesome arrow signs pointing to the credit button on pump that says, "Push Button, Receive Bacon Credit". We ended up collecting some Idiot Tax this convention. Didn't even count it, just used it for food and tolls.

I was also totally surprised to catch Jason Dread playing MegaMan. Didn't even think he was coming.

Console ended up set up pretty well, the room was decently sized and we had a fairly good setup. We found out that some of the TV's we had were pure junk, but big surprise there. I think the most played game in the room was Brawl, followed by Meele, followed by Super Mario 3. So Nintendo domination there. Go big N!

Now for the bad part. Sometime between close on Friday and Open on Saturday, a bunch of our games got stolen. Nothing older then PS2 discs. Everything was taken from a binder that was inside a tub inside the room that was locked (or supposed to be locked). I now officially only have ONE disc based PS3 game (UMVC3). Jeff is missing a big chunk of his xbox 360 games.

The funny part about that is whoever did that pretty much ignored the shit out of all of the games out in the open, all the older games scattered about the back of the table, all the spare SYSTEMS behind the table, and the two fight sticks.

I can't really say anything about the Vendor table aside from it made money. I was never at it.

Outside of the work related stuff, I was either playing games in the arcade, eating, sleeping, or in table top enjoying one of the two games I actually got to play that weekend. The convention had its usual Magic draft (triple Avacyn Restored) which I ended up winning.

On Saturday night I wandered in to see what was going on and encountered a group playing a game called Cards Against Humanity. It was hilarious. Essentially the R Rated version of Apples to Apples. Kevin joined in as well and we had some gold stuff like "When I become a billionare, I will erect a 50-foot statue to ______". If I hadn't been the Card Czar for that round I would have answered with a card that stated simply "my genitals."

So yeah, that's the quick and dirty. Load/Unload was your standard fare plus all the vending and console shit (fuck ton of TV's). It was ball sweat hot when we all loaded in (shoutouts to Alex, Joe, Leroy, and Norbert for the assist), and not so bad when we loaded out and unloaded.

Chicago's up next.
Monday, April 30th, 2012
8:58 pm
ACEN 2012: Stop, Drop, and Cowabunga
Another one down.

Good god another one down. My left foot hurts, and it's not from soreness. My brain may possibly be broken too. I can't tell yet. What I can tell is that the thing is over and that means it's time for me to break it down and hope I'm not as broken as I feel.

You will not survive.Collapse )
This years theme is a combination of a couple things. Obviously the TMNT cabinet shouting cowabunga, but it's merged with what we were talking about during the fire alarm evacuation. At one point we were discussing having to kick the guy off of Para Para for the fire alarm and how they didn't even realize it. Marcus managed to blurt out, "Stop, Drop, and Para!"

Of course we got a good laugh out of it. And aside from hearing someone say, "And that's the dangers of having breasts," in the skyway, I felt the listed theme best.

P.S. I may come back and edit this later on. Not that you care.
Tuesday, April 17th, 2012
7:03 pm
The Fifth ACEN Update
BC-35M: Continues to be the champion of taking abuse and working like new. Tested awesome over the weekend.

House of the Dead: Turns out that Jeff managed to get the gun plate secured properly at AMKE, but didn't tell me. Beyond that there's a connection done with wire ties that I'd like to actually pin.

DBZ2 Midway Cab: We'll be putting DBZ2 back into it since it looks like we'll be able to run Puzzle Fighter.

Sports Shooting: Being converted to something else. I have to build a control panel. I'll be getting the pre-existing panel to work off of as a template sometime today.

I'm still in a holding pattern on the Puzzle Fighter monitor, and I'm not sure what's up with 19XX still.
Saturday, April 14th, 2012
9:54 pm
The Fourth ACEN update
There hasn't been a whole lot of activity lately on this front. I had plans for last night that got completely blowed up, and no actual work available to do on things so I ended up going to FNM.

As for work that's been done lately, here's the list

TMNT: Got a nice, solid look at the power cord situation. It'll be an easy fix. I just have to pick up a direct wire cord for it. I also got the control panel home and got that switched from being slightly beat up looking and having the Vendetta overlay on it to a generic black with a couple clear coats over it... and the joysticks are in proper TMNT color layout now. I'll still have to double check the wiring hookups when I can, but there's good progress here.

The Backup Plan:

I initially tried hooking this into the puzzle fighter cabinet, but found out what happens when you over-voltage (or under wattage) the converter. That was the impetus for that hack job. I can solve the over voltage issue by either adding more wire or removing some wire from the JAMMA harness and turning the voltage down on the power supply. I should probably remove wire and turn voltage down.

I added a trailer hitch to my car, just need to find a small utility trailer to move stuff back and forth between my house and the storage unit. Shame I had to drop 470 bucks on brakes and whatnot today.

I have to pick my parents up from O'hare tomorrow. Otherwise the only things I have planned are groceries, laundry, and getting at the Canadian changer to make sure it's good.
Monday, April 9th, 2012
11:00 pm
The Third ACEN Update
Puzzle Fighter: Nearing completion on this one. The new JAMMA harness is in and I've got the monitor chassis out for service. Hopefully that will restore blue and knock out any other problems. If that doesn't take care of the issues, I have a backup plan that I'll go into later.

Beyond that, it needs coin mechs and Puzzle Fighter actually being put back into it.

Dance Freaks: In my idiocy induced insanity I decided that I'd better take care of that damned caster on my own ASAP so I can dig further into the storage unit without killing myself. This actually lead to a bit more work. I found out that the plate the caster we'd been having problems with mounts to is kinda blowed up real good. Got that son of a bitch caster on there as good as I could with only two screws.

While I had the machine tilted, I heard a whole ton of stuff slide towards the side tilted down. I decided to take a look at what was up, but it required getting the 573 out of the way. Holy crap the 573 was dusty as shit. Underneath it was $5.50 in quarters, a nickel, and a bunch of .900 Tilt tokens. I used that money to go buy some more screws/bolts for the thing.

I also took the 573 home and blasted it out with some air compressor action.

Time Crisis 2: Started investigating into the casters on the gun pedal. I can't get exact replacements at Ace, so that part of it is something that can't be done at the storage unit.

19XX: While I haven't gotten at the monitor thing I mentioned earlier, I did get the lock reattached to the door. Still needs mechs too.

Neo-Geo: I appear to have found a proper order in which all the cartridges work. This will have to change for Metal Slug X, but I have an idea of what to do with that.

TMNT: Tested the board (power test) at GGA today. Worked.

The backup plan I spoke of: I've acquired a CGA to VGA converter and have built the proper wiring connections to power and get CGA input to the board from a good majority of the cabinets we have to work with. I also happen to have an Evo Monitor sealed in box waiting around for use (got a deal on a couple of them). I want to stress that the PRIMARY FUNCTION OF THIS SETUP is to serve as a test point. I have the spare (crap) JAMMA harness sitting around that I took out of Puzzle Fighter to use to build a test board.

If it comes down to it, this gives me the option of installing the converter and Evo Monitor into a cabinet to keep a game from going totally down. I have to test this out tomorrow to see how much lag this whole thing is going to cause. I already know that the Evo Monitor averages about 8.6 milliseconds of latency. Just need to see what the converter is going to do.

On Friday I made arrangements for the addition of a trailer hitch to my car. I can't keep renting vehicles from home depot and whatnot to move games between home and the storage unit. I'll probably be getting the actual appointment for install set up at some point tomorrow.

Well, that's Six of Eighteen things dealt with.
Saturday, April 7th, 2012
8:57 pm
The second ACEN update
Work is a bit slow going, but there's been some progress on some games (which is good)

Neo Geo: Once I got it home I got to assess what damage it sustained from the Magical Drop. Turns out it wasn't much. Some mushroomed wood and the plastic cap of a fuse holder smahsed. I need to clean out slot one, and it should be full blast. (Maybe monitor recap need to find my cap kits).

Time Crisis 2: While there hasn't been any major work on this, I did take care of securing the foot pedals properly and an extremely annoying thing with one of the coin slots.

Puzzle Fighter: The JB Weld + Zip tie reinforcement worked, and I have the bleeder reattached to the metal straps WITH A BREAKAWAY CONNECTION. Only problem is that I lost blue on the chassis. Very likely something easy to fix.

I'm probably also going to replace the JAMMA harness inside of it tomorrow after people leave. It's one of the exceptionally shitty Chinese pieces of shit and it uses all sorts of crap wires.

Bondo filling on the bad side and paint layers have been applied. It's visible in high light situations, but whatever.

TMNT: I have acquired buttons for this. Otherwise I just have to get at the cabinet.

I also got a solid look at the Para Para I arranged to take to ACEN last night. The thing is in pretty good shape, and the owner has done some special stuff to the game to make it easier on people.

it's slow going, but there's progress.
Wednesday, April 4th, 2012
1:26 pm
Seriously, it's coming up fast and holy fuck. I need to start organizing the things that need to be done with both Jeff's and my games. Most of my stuff is fairly simple. Most of Jeff's stuff is AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGGG.

19XX: Appears to be some sort of monitor issue where it tries to vertically collapse every so often. Could just be a cold solder joint. Needs Coin mechs and a new lock. Paul kept my mechs.
Pump: Nada, it's up and running.
Mahvel baybee: Fully functional but has the good old fashioned, "Man I'd love to get a new control panel fabricated," thing going for it right now. Probably going to have to ignore that.
Four slut: I need to get it home to investigate and see if it survived being Magically Dropped. That's actually on the docket for today.
CPS2 cabinet: Nothing wrong with it!
Puzzle fighter: UGH. FUCK MONITORS. I may have a solution to this, but I'm getting so much conflicting information I don't even know. Also has some painting left to do, since the bondo work on the 2p side is done now.
Cocktail Cabinet: Fucks not given, as it's not going this year.
DDR: I still want to tweak the pads a bit more, and I'll probably have to put supernova back into it.
TMNT: Needs a marquee, New power cord, and could use some new buttons. May need coin mechs, and needs our keys put in. Easy stuff, really.
BC-35: Still Canadian, need to get it out of the corner and test it to make sure it's still working. Actually hasn't been used since ACEN last year.

I also need to order some more coin mechs.

Jeff's Shit:
Time Crisis 2: UGGGGGGGGUUUUUUUU. Fuck. Well, the monitor needs to be repaired, I have to get the coin door out and fix the metal bucket holder so we can finally put our bottom key in it. I also need to sand some rust off of the gun pedestal and repaint. Oh, need to get new screws/bolts to hold in the foot pedals. This one is a pain in the cock and balls because of it's size.
Dance Freaks: I'll actually need help on this, but a caster needs to be reattached so we can move it without killing ourselves.
House of the Dead: A bit of extra security for one of the guns.
Star Wars Trilogy: I believe this has a bad coin switch in it. Nothing wrong with it otherwise.
Mini Crane: The cabling for the claw head broke, we're in a bit of a holding pattern trying to figure out what it can be replaced with.
DBZ2 Midway cabinet: You know... I don't even know on this one. It actually has Puzzle Fighter in it right now, but I have no clue what we're going to do here.
Sports Shooting (Atomiswave): As far as I know, Jeff has no plans to bring this. I do know it just needs a gun.
Simpsons/Sunset Riders: I just want to mount Sunset Riders on the opposite side of the cabinet so we can switch between the games with extreme ease.
Silent Scope Token Shot: Firewood.
Monday, December 19th, 2011
9:34 pm
Anime Crossroads '11 - The Greatest Four Gays of Daming
Everything related to this convention started pretty fucked up. Jeff and Nina went over to the usual Penske place to get our 16' truck, and it apparently took them around 40 minutes to find the keys and get the paper work done. With most of that time being finding the keys. I was initially supposed to just go to my bank and get the feeder cash then meet them to load up at my house and go. Yeah, didn't happen. I ended up going their way to help unload the games we were supposed to be bringing to the truck. Plan was to be gone from my house by no later than two (since we were only going to load two games). We were also going to make a run over to the storage unit post-con to dump stuff off.

Jeff's driveway sucks. A dick. A big fat one. For reference, it's a hill, and the concrete is busted up. There's no rolling things without getting caught in something. The busted ass pickup truck in the driveway that hasn't been started in a year or two doesn't help either. But we managed to get it all down to the truck with relatively few problems and got the lift gate going to load the first Time Crisis monitor into it.

Except the lift gate decided it was a good time to not go all the way up. It stopped about two inches short of the floor of the truck and made a grinding noise.


Nina was pretty pissed and got mad on the phone (which really didn't help much). Jeff explained the problem to the Penske place, and they told us to bring it back, and they were going to give us a 26' truck at the same rate, and the first 100 miles was free. Nina went with, but I drove the damned thing.

Oh yeah, they gave us a truck with an extended lift gate, and it only had a bit over 3000 miles on it. Once we got back to Jeff's house we basically said, "Fuck it! Kitchen Sink time!" The only things we didn't load were his cranes (staying for work to be done on them) and Sports Shooting. That took forever. I think it was about three or something when we got out of there. I drove the truck to my house, and they took my car to go get Jeff's Mom some gas... because she apparently doesn't understand the concept of VAN NEEDS GAS TO GO VROOM. Oh yeah, they picked up some straps too.

My house went largely fine. I got a couple pads loaded before they showed up, and we took everything but the Neo-Geo and BC-35 changer along. We decided that we should hop in the car and go to Arby's because we were hungry, then come back and throw my luggage and extra stuff in the truck. It was nice.

Except I forgot my fucking tools, like a tool.

The drive was pretty standard fare for going to Indy. I'm so used to the trip that it doesn't really matter. Jeff and Nina slept for most of it, and we got to the convention Hotel around 9:30 eastern. About four hours later then we wanted too. We were unloaded by 10:30, and worked on setting things up until about 3am. Most of the game problem stories are covered in the game breakdown section. That's a bit ahead.

I don't specifically know how it happened, but Nina managed to wrangle up a table in the vendor hall for Saturday and Sunday, which apparently made some cash. We also got to have some sit down conversations with Anime World Expo people, and the DDR got the attention of the ShutoCon staff and we had a sit down with them on Saturday.

While these mid-sized conventions usually aren't amazing for cash intake, they almost ALWAYS bear fruit in terms of networking. This specific convention also had the added effect of impressing someone on the board for GenCon (The Greatest Four Gays of Daming, as I accidentally called it on the way back from food one time). Jeff and I also decided that ACEN should really advertise themselves at Youmacon by saying "Bitches don't know 'bout MAPS." Incredibly lame, I know.

Once we had things settled down on Friday or Saturday (getting in on Thursday really screwed me up), I got to spend some time watching the people playing the games. Holy shit people are bad at Time Crisis 2 and House of the Dead. I seriously watched one kid playing Time Crisis 2 die BEFORE JUMPING OUT OF THE BALCONY ON THE FIRST STAGE. Legit. I posted about this on Facebook. I wish I was joking. I told a Vash the Stampede cosplayer about it on Sunday while he was playing the game. He put the gun down and just stared at me in disbelief.

I got some UMVC3 play in on both Friday and Saturday, but I was too much for everyone there. Beyond that, I ran into someone who knows Brian Ho (forgot his name), and some of the AWC people are actually UIUC four panel players. Beyond that, I was either in the room, eating, milling about, or in the Arcade.

Sunday unload was slow going. We didn't have to fight anyone to unload, but we had to start packing earlier than we would have liked to. And it was just Jeff and I for the vast majority of it. I'd had a headache most of the day, and during the whole process I had a random nosebleed from it being so dry and cold out. Nothing like the taste of blood in your mouth while you work. Nina decided to go back up with someone else, so Jeff and I schlepped it back this way to the storage unit. Also, I had drank a ton of water that day, and I'm kinda old, so we had to make a couple stops on the way back. One for gas, one for me to hit the can.

And the storage unit isn't very 26' truck accessible. There isn't enough room to turn into the storage aisles, so we had to unload from the main strip and roll it all over. And getting out consisted of driving on some grass to get the truck turned around. Everything but one cabinet got dropped off. We got back over to my house at about 10:30 to unload the last cabinet (see Puzzle Fighter for why a cabinet came back), and my stuff and Jeff headed up to Chris' to grab Warzaid and get it to the storage unit.

Since it had only been in Chris' garage for over a year.

Jeff got back and we unloaded Warzaid and I was back home by 1:30 and asleep by 2.

Now, for some specific game talk.

DDR Supernova - .75/play
Friday: $61.50 Saturday: $168 Sunday $78 Total: $307.50 (31.5% of income)
Had a few mishaps with this one, but not bad for the first time out. I accidentally had the game on joint premium for most of Friday, so the numbers took a hit there. Not a gigantic hit, but a hit. I also had a couple slight arrow sticks that I fixed, and had to clear a coin jam out of the right slot once. People were largely shitting themselves over having a Supernova available, even at .75 per play. Excellent cash intake for the first time out. This one also got the attention of another convention that was road showing there. We had a talk with the con chair.

Oh yeah, the 2p right pad light started working again after we got it set up. I guess something was just a bit loose.

Time Crisis 2 - .50/play
Friday: $87.75 Saturday: $84 Sunday: $22 Total: $193.75 (19.9% of income)
This one got hit hard by the, "I'm old as fuck and my wiring is starting to short out," bug. By the middle of the day on Saturday the 2p gun was nearly non-functional thanks to a short in the gun hose wiring. Jeff apparently has a spare gun, so this theoretically won't be an insane cost to us. We do need to spend some time and TLC the fuck out of this.

Dance Freaks - .50/play
Friday: $23 Saturday: $54.50 Sunday: 24.50 Total $102 (10.4% of income)
Another cabinet that needs some TLC. We were having alignment issues early on, but it eventually started working right again. Fairly decent showing overall for this.

House of the Dead .50/play
Friday: $33.50 Saturday: $81.75 Sunday: $59.75 Total: $175 (17.9% of income)
House had a few factors going against it. Namely placement, since it was one of the last things to come off the truck. Not having a second player gun for a huge chunk of Friday didn't help either, but not as much as the placement (which changed on saturday). This is one of the games where me not having all of my tools bit us in the ass. I had to rig up a gun in a rather nasty fashion that I want to go back into and correct.

Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo - .25/play
Friday: $12.75 Saturday: $28 Sunday: $7.75 Total: $48.50 (4.9% of income)
Once I adjusted a leg to reduce some wobble and re-tightened the B board to the A board, no problems. None whatsoever. I'd also like to note that the uprights didn't really do all that well at this convention.

Star Wars Trilogy - .50/play (4.9% of income)
Friday: $11.75 Saturday: $29.50 Sunday: $7.25 Total: $48.50
The only thing we had to do with this one after unload was remove the wire we rigged up to add credits for AWC. Beyond that, it got munchy with a couple quarters and that was it. Pretty good showing for this one, given the size of the convention.

Simpsons Four-Player - .25/play (3.6% of income)
Friday: $4.50 Saturday: $24.75 Sunday: $ 5.50 Total: $ 34.75
Somehow this managed to lose a spacer for the Blue joystick. I think Jeff used the wrong sized Jesus Clip when he put all of them on. At any rate, I don't specifically remember Friday being all that awesome for this game. It wasn't the worst game though.

19XX - .25/play
Friday: $5.75 Saturday: $25.75 Sunday: $1.25 Total: $32.75 (3.4% of income)
I had a jamming problem with the right coin slot on this thing for most of Friday (possibly into Saturday, I can't exactly remember). It wasn't that coins would jam up in the traditional sense. It's more that the coin mech in it doesn't have the nubs on it totally removed and it was causing it to jam everything. Even when it was set to reject. I also noticed something going on with the monitor. It's probably about time for some service on that one. It is old, after all.

Puzzle Fighter - .50/play
Friday: $.75 Saturday: $21.50 Sunday: $11.25 Total: $33.50 (3.5% of income)
All I can really say is, ugh. I expect damage to games with all the moving we do, but this was just stupid. At some point the vibrations and bumps the monitor has been subjected to over the years fatigued the mount tab on the upper right hand corner (from the front side) enough that it snapped off. When that snapped off, the grounding band fell off, and dropped. When that dropped, it looks like a part that connects to the anode and grounds to the lower portion of the grounding band fell out of it's solder point on the grounding band. Luckily, we saw this as we were loading in, so we never bothered to even TRY to power that cabinet.

We were initially thinking we could just swap the monitor over from the DBZ cabinet, but all the power connections are different in the two cabinets. This is another point where having my tools would have helped. What ended up happening was we took the Puzzle Fighter board out of it's cabinet and put it into the DBZ cabinet, then I had to wire up the coin switches for that cabinet. All that said, pretty good Sunday showing for this game.

It looks like the Changer we brought along had a senior moment and decided that a One was worth five dollars in quarters, a Five was worth ten dollars in quarters, and a ten (which it was told not to accept) was worth a dollar in quarters. Luckily we caught this pretty quick, and it looks like there's a difference of $16 gone missing.

There's a whole bunch of TLC type things to do to the games. Also some parts to snag at some point. Highest priority right now is seeing what can be done with the monitor for Puzzle Fighter.

Since I don't have the coffee table number for the whole arcade, I actually can't totally finish this little write up. But here's what I've got until Nina and Jeff get me the last numbers.

Total arcade income: $976.25

Now, I took money out of the changer at various points, and we had a $16 discrepancy with the changer fucking up, so I need to total that cash to see if it matches up to the money I have on hand (minus feeder quarters).

-28 (Pizza, saturday night)
-12 (Reimbursement: merchandise/change to vendor table. Square deposited to the bank)
-10 (Sunday lunch)
-2 (Drink for me)
-16 (expected changer discrepancy)
908.25 - Expected Cash On Hand

$496 1's
$330 5's
$30 10's
$40 20's
896 paper

$426.25 quarters

$1322.25 total cash

-400 feeder quarters (Starting quarter total, withdrawn from my bank account)
Now here's the interesting thing. This line should match up with the list above the cash line. It doesn't. Even removing the expected $16 changer discrepancy it looks like we have $14 more than I thought we should. I can't really complain about it. Just have to get to the bank to make sure my counts are right.

Some other expenses:
-120.75 Fuel 1 Me - Exactly what it says it is.

Jeff (owed 535.50)
-107.50 Fuel 2
-388 truck rental/fees
-40 Thursday night food

Nina (owed 20)
-20 Friday subway
246 Profit!

-535.50 (Jeff)
-20 (Nina)

Honestly, we can thank the whole Penske screw up for making this even profitable on the Arcade side. Other factors do include me forgetting my tools, and the Joint Premium thing with DDR, but having the extra cabinets ended up helping.
Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011
2:02 pm
Processing DDR machine related things
So I have to run some numbers on three different DDR machines. None of this includes any repair costs or anything related. Here's the options with rental truck milage processed at .20/mi and .59/mi:

DDR Extreme (likely Korean cabinet): $1000 + 8.75% tax (1087.50), Champaign Illinios Tilt (105 miles, 2h 15m drive one way). $42 - 123.90 for mileage (1128.50-1211.4), 1 day truck rental $20-60 (1148.5 - 1271.45), Deisel is at 4.15 per gallon, gas at 3.30 or so, rough estimate of 140 in fuel. $1288.50 - $1411.45 Knock 40-120 off if we borrow a pickup from someone.

This trip will likely take around 5 - 7 hours of time.

ITG (upgrade, don't know nationality): $1300 + 7% tax ($1391), Waterloo Iowa Tilt (263 Miles, 4h 29m drive one way). $52.60 - $310.34 for mileage ($1443.60 - 1701.34), 20-60 for truck rental, (1463.60 - 1761.34), rough estimate of 240 in gas ($1703.60 - $1941.34). Knock off about 200 if we borrow a pickup.

This trip will take around 11 - 12 hours (meals will be needed).

DDR Supernova Dedicated: $2500 (includes delivery) Romeoville Illinois (23 miles, 30m drive one way). As delivery is included, no truck rental or borrowing is needed.

This trip will take around 1.5 - 2 hours

I'll have to discuss the various advantages and disadvantages of all the cabinets with everyone in person.
Monday, November 7th, 2011
7:58 pm
Youmacon recovery stuff
It's done, and now it's time to sort through the cash aspect of it all.

I have 2075 heading my way from it, but there are related expenses to cover

Parking: 60
fuel: 329
other stuff: 72

1614 in! Let me repeat that in spelled out text: One thousand six hundred and fourteen dollars. Or thereabouts.

On to the games that went to the convention:

Four Slut
Initial Expenditure: 700
Other Expenditures: 93
Intake: 496.75
62.6% of costs returned

Consumes 296.25 of the Youmacon money. Performed like a champ this weekend. Only problem I ran into with it was that one of the joysticks started coming loose. All I had to do was tighten up the nuts and everything was good to go. I only ended up working with my standard Money/MD2/KOF2002/Puzzle Bobble loadout and people enjoyed the hell out of every game in there. Money got a huge amount of play.

1317.75 of Youma money left.

Initial Expenditure: 230
Other Expenditures: 126
Intake: 110
30.8% returned.

Consumes another 246 of the Youmacon money. Absolutely NO problems with this cabinet the entire time, and both XvSF and Super Turbo got played like mad. Hell, even PR Balrog stopped and played some Super Turbo on it.

1071.75 of Youma Money left.

Puzzle Fighter
Initial Expenditure: 150
Other Expenditure: 216
Intake: 86.50
23.6% returned

This bad boy eats another 279.50 of the cash. I did have some small problems with this one. Namely it got turned on way too early from being put in place and the degauss coil didn't have enough time to get set. This did get corrected once we did the Friday night air out and I got to shut all the games down for about an hour.

792.25 of Youma money left.

Cocktail Cabinet
Initial Expenditure: 350
Other Expenditure: 180
Intake: 44.50

Fuck this thing. Every time I move it something stupid happens. Oh, money application, derp. $485.50 heads this way, plus a bit more coming soon. When we got there, the power supply in this thing decided to flat out DIE, so I need to spend some money on it. I could get it to power for a smidge initially, but that's about it. It looks like a replacement PSU is around 30 bucks, so it's not horrible. Except for the fact it was busted coming in. At least the LCD monitor helped out with getting the DDR up and running.

485.50 Youma Money left.

Now, I did spend 390 on some spare parts, so I'll just apply the 485.50 to that, leaving 95.50 to apply at the power supply needed for the cocktail cabinet and to the incidentals on the other cabinets.

Initial expenditure: 550
Other expenditures: 50
Intake: 600

It's actually paid off and hasn't had any money spent on it since AWC, so nothing applied. 95.50 left.

Da Mango Sentinal
Initial Expenditure: 450
Other Expenditures: 330
Intake: 780

I don't have to apply anything to here.

The SX Cannon
Things are going to start getting odd here, since it's going to take me a LONG time to gather up all the expenditures on this. It's sickening. For now I'm going to work against initial expenditures.

Initial Expenditure: 2900
Intake: Youmacon: 95.50, AWC: 0 (applied to other games), ACEN '11: 94.75, AMKE: 63.50, Kollision 10: 36.25, ACEN 10: 177, ACEN 09: 226.50 Total: 693.50
So it's made back 23% of it's initial expenditures over the course of the time I've had it. The additional expenditures probably run somewhere in the 6000 range... at a glance. Quite painful

Kollision '11 is up next (We're not doing Diasho thanks to the move to the Kalahari). Pretty much all the money I get off of this gets applied to Pump or the Changers.

Also, I don't actually have that cash yet. I'll get it tomorrow and a large chunk of it is immediately going at a credit card. And I'm referring to that $2075 number. I may hold around 550 of it for the purchase of a DDR.
Sunday, October 23rd, 2011
11:19 pm
Another damned dumb arcade game post.
Before I go over all the related stuff, I wanted to relate a thing that was proposed by one of the people I worked with.

Virginia in the Mailroom has this insane obsession with me getting the engagement ring to get to Kristen. Ok, it's not insane... at all. But she proposed that I should sell off all the arcade games and use that money to buy the ring.

The problem with that is that I wouldn't get enough money from the sale of the games to cover a ring, much less cover the costs associated with the games that haven't paid for themselves yet. I talked about this with Jeff a bit. Pump would only get me around 700 (infinite net loss), Marvel would maybe get me 300 (300 profit), Four Slut Might get me 250-300 (a loss of about $25 to breakeven), Puzzle Fighter could go high or low, but likely 250 (loss), 19xx and the cps2 cabinet would be around 200, and I might be able to get 250 out of the cocktail. So that'd bring in $2150, but PUMP BY ITSELF still results in a loss that might as well be infinite.

Not to say that wouldn't be a nice ring, but we need to take a look at what's going on JUST IN NOVEMBER:
Nov 3-6
Youmacon (Pump, Puzzle Fighter, cocktail, CPS2, Neo Geo, changer), Potential realisitic income = Likely more than $1000, after all costs.
Nov 18-20
Kollision Kon (Pump, Marvel, Cocktail). Potential realistic income = couple hundred or so
ALSO (possibly)
DaishoCon (19XX, Neo-Geo, Puzzle Fighter, CPS2). If it's pay for play, who the hell knows (couple hundred max), if it's free play, potentially another $1000

Well holy shit, if it lines up right I'll be making the VALUE OF ALL OF THE GAMES IN ONE MONTH. So selling the stuff isn't exactly the best thing to do.

Back to the games, in purchase order.

Initial expenditure: 550
Other expenditures: 50
Intake: 600

Durdling in the garage, relaxing. I do know it works, as I plug it in every so often to ensure functionality.

The SX Cannon
Initial Expenditure: 2900
Other Expenditures: Infinite
Intake: Negative Infinite

Once everything else is paid off, I'll hut down how much this thing has cost me and actually made. I play it with some regularity, but after Kollision it'll be heading to Chris Oliva's for the winter.

Da Mango Sentinal
Initial Expenditure: 450
Other Expenditures: 336
Intake: 780
99.26% of costs

"WAIT WHAT! THAT WAS PAID OFF!" You may be saying to yourself. I had to replace a couple switches at six bucks total. Actually, everything but 19XX and the cocktail got a couple of new switches. Six dollars is negligible.

Four Slut
Initial Expenditure: 700
Other Expenditures: 93
Intake: 496.75
62.6% of costs returned

Youmacon should cover the rest of the costs on this one. :D

Initial Expenditure: 230
Other Expenditures: 126
Intake: 110
30.8% returned.

Youmacon yeah.

Puzzle Fighter
Initial Expenditure: 150
Other Expenditure: 216
Intake: 86.50
23.6% returned

Again, Youmacon will draw a huge chunk of cash for this.

Cocktail Cabinet
Initial Expenditure: 350
Other Expenditure: 180
Intake: 44.50

I bought a LCD monitor for this to cut down weight and get more screen space. So yeah.
Wednesday, August 24th, 2011
11:00 pm
Anime World Chicago '11 - Credits Remaining Report
Now that AWC is done, over with, and the three Credits Remaining members have gone back to our normal lives, I think it's time to look back at just what had to be done to get this whole thing off the ground.

But first, I should introduce the players in Credits Remaining:

Jeff is essentially the money man in the group. He generally functions as a purchasing manager, identifying what games/parts should be picked up, what should be converted to other games, and when it comes down to it, he's pretty good in the field. Jeff's not generally a front man, but when it's needed he steps up. He's also pretty keen on doing convention related things.

Nina handles nearly all the external communications, contract work, and negotiations with any convention we end up working with (or trying to work with). She's generally very bubbly. Since most of her work is done entirely Pre-Con, she gets to go around enjoying whatever each con has to offer. Nina does also have some technical skills and can handle herself on the floor of an arcade.

I'm Shane. I function as the "fix the damned thing," guy in the group. During pay for play conventions I also handle all the cash aspects of the arcade, which is incredibly time consuming. I'm usually the one responding to any complaints that something is broken, making change at a pay convention, or just hanging out in the arcade or game room playing the games. I'm not exactly outgoing, but I'm more than willing to talk (or show you something cool). Most of these conventions hold little that I care about outside of what's going on in the game room or table top gaming.

All of that isn't to say that the other two people don't cover the third person's job. While what's listed above is each person's general responsibilities, all three of us confer with the others in regards to what's going on and help out when needed. That means that when Nina gets a contract worked on, both Jeff and I have input on it. If Jeff wants a new game for the group, all three of us talk about it. Whenever I need floor help, Jeff and/or Nina will be there to help with it.

For AWC, we brought nearly our entire catalog of arcade games and rented another machine to bring. Unfortunately, the amount of space we had to set up the arcade prevented us from bringing four of our games in. We also made an early decision to take down the air wall between our room and the room reserved for consoles (provided by the cool people from www.geekkon.net, you should go to their con) to make one big giant gaming emporium.

The four games we couldn't bring in were as follows:
48-in-1 cocktail cabinet
Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo/X-Men vs. Street Fighter
a Crane
Time Crisis 2 50" Deluxe

While we know that numerous people would have loved to play the giant Time Crisis cabinet, bringing it into the game room would likely have wiped out an ENTIRE WALL worth of games. We're talking three or four upright cabinets. I would have liked to get all of the games in, but it just wasn't possible.

As for what we put in, we had some problems that were corrected immediately, a game that we simply ran out of time to get running before the convention (and we're still not totally sure on), one that we thought was going to be huge that ended up not mattering, and some damage to a game during transit.

House of the Dead was the game that was damaged during transit. The second player gun had it's trigger guard and trigger smashed off at some point during the truck rides up to the convention. Unfortunately, we didn't have any spares on hand (as they were in the car left behind when the truck was picked up). That didn't seem to deter anyone from playing it and having fun.

The huge problem that ended up not mattering in the long run had to do with the Dance Freaks (Korean Dance Maniax). At one point or another, the wrong type of light was installed in the can lighting above the monitor. The related problems from this finally manifested on Friday when a transistor started burning. We initially couldn't tell what machine in the center island was generating the smell, since it didn't really generate smoke right off. Eventually, the transistor started smoking, and we had to shut the game off in the middle of someone's first song. I wasn't exactly sure what the board with the burned transistor was, but I know people who do and set out to contact them. It turned out that the board we removed was simply the light controller for those can lights I mentioned earlier. After letting the cabinet air out for a bit, we plugged it back in and it worked fine, but with less blinding.

There were a couple problems with some uprights that were corrected once they were brought to my attention. On Friday night I finally noticed that people were only playing on the first player side of 19XX (the vertical shooter) so I asked if there was something wrong with the game. The people playing informed me that the second player side wouldn't start. Simple enough fix, as a connection had just come loose in shipping and needed to be replaced.

Marvel vs. Capcom 2 had a similar problem before open on Friday, but Jeff got the connection back on. By Sunday, one of the switches was starting to go out. A guy playing informed me, I swapped the bad switch to 1p start (it still worked, but was being iffy) and totally surprised the guy by fixing the problem on the spot.

The game we completely ran out of time to work on was the Dragon Ball Z 2 Super Battle cabinet (with the War marquee). It simply wasn't functional on Friday because it didn't have any wiring. I actually spent an hour and a half of Friday night in my hotel room completing the new wiring harness, which wasn't exactly my definition of "HUGE AMOUNTS OF INSANE FUN! JOY!"

The PCB for this game is extremely new to us. We had it running on a bad wiring harness for a couple hours before the convention, and on a test cart for about 10 minutes at Galloping Ghost Arcade. We were completely surprised when the games sound went from music and Japanese people yelling to Kamehameha to screeching and wailing. We eventually just turned the sound off, since that's something that needs to be investigated outside of a convention.

People seem pleased with the game room though. Most of the feedback I've seen on Facebook and the AWC forums has been extremely positive. I think the most negative feedback that we got was that the combined game room wasn't as good as the one at ACEN. This is really funny because I doubt the guy knows that it was almost EXACTLY the same people doing the AWC game room as the ACEN game room.

That's another convention down with a ton of positive feedback. I'd say we're on a good roll.
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