Ed Farias says goodbye to Arcade-in-a-Box with ‘This Is It!’ event

18 09 2012

Courtesy Arcade-in-a-Box.

As the days of online competition progress, more and more small arcade venues are struggling to get the same pull of players they used to. Sadly, Tucson’s own Arcade-in-a-Box has suffered the same plight, leading the owner and founder Ed Farias, to say goodbye to the arcade this November.

Arcade-in-a-Box is one of Tucson’s biggest gamer arcade hangouts that officially got started by Farias in 2005. Since then, the venue has hosted scores of fighting game tournaments, seen the creation of the popular web series Retro Rumble, and helped groom top level Street Fighter IV players such as Latif, second-place SSFIV: AE winner at EVO 2011.

Truly, Arcade-in-a-Box is an Arizona arcade with history behind it and Farias described the decision to step away from the venue as a difficult one. In an email interview, Farias explained that after multiple attempts to pull players in, he decided to celebrate the arcade’s ending with the This is It! event, rather than try to bolster up followers in attempts to “save” it:

“Over the years we have tried just about everything to generate new interest and keep a steady flow of players coming in,” said Farias. “Sadly, we always see a quick boost of attendance, just to watch it drop back off again.  There was no reason to think this type of event would not have done the same thing.  Everyone loves the idea of AIAB, sadly no one comes.”

Farias and other AIAB crew have put together the This Is It! event as a proper sendoff of sorts for the respected arcade. The event will encompass three days starting on November 2 at the Four Points by Sheraton near the Tucson Airport.

Courtesy Arcade-in-a-Box.

Tournaments for Persona 4 Arena, Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix, King of Fighters XIII, Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition, and Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 will be held over the weekend. Special guest players Latif, Peter Rosas (Combofiend), and Cesar de Alba (MonGoloRoboKop) are confirmed as competitors for the event, with a possibility of more special guests being added.

Prize pots will be divided 70/20/10 for each game, with the SSFIV:AE and UMvC3 pots getting an extra $150 boost from local players Said3s and Keres. Team Hazmat will reportedly be there to stream all the tournament action.

When Farias first announced This Is It!, the community response was huge, forcing him to cap the event at 150 people allowed for registration:

“…the amount of love we have gotten for this tournament is the reason we are keeping it open for the Fighting Game Community.  However, we will not holding anymore tournaments or events at the arcade,” Farias clarified. “…it’s basically a place for that community to call home.  The tournament itself is me personally saying goodbye to the fighting game community I have been deeply ingrained in since 2007.  I will still have my friends, but the volunteers will essentially be taking over everything for as long as they want too. [sic]”

Inside Arcade-in-a-Box. Image courtesy of AIAB.

Competitors can currently register for the event online at the official event website. Players can pay a flat $25 fee for entry into every game over the weekend or a $10 per a specific tournament. Spectator passes will also be offered at $10 for the entire weekend or $5 per day. Out-of-town (or state) attendees can get a room at the Four Points by Sheraton hotel under a This is It! special price found on the registration website.

As for Farias, he confirmed that Retro Rumble will continue, but is presently focused on having fun at the event merely a month away.

“We are so excited for this event I can’t even explain it,” said Farias. “We all have some of our close friends in this community coming into town for this, some I have never even met in person like Marcus Post, AKA Toodles from GDLKControls.  We are all excited to just have a fun, chill and amazing weekend.”

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