This Is It! bids proper farewell to Arcade-in-a-Box

6 11 2012

Over the weekend, players gathered from around the state to Tucson in order to pay their respects to Ed Farias as he bid adieu to his establishment, Arcade-in-a-Box. The arcade, proclaimed one of the last retro arcades in the city, was celebrated over the weekend in style with a massive five-tournament event.

Players new and old participated in the competitions with a sense of community and fun that made the arcade such a staple for gamers in the past. Indeed the event served as a reminder to Farias of the good times he had running Arcade-in-a-Box during its seven-year run, but also an affirmation of his decision to leave the arcade.

Farias commented that he had some difficulties when it came to getting players to register for This is It!, while others had cancelled at the last minute, leaving the event with around 70 competitors (about half of its attendance cap of 150).

“It’s bittersweet that it’s ending, but it’s giving us a lot reasons as to why it’s ending,” said Farias in a Friday interview on the struggles to get players to attend the arcades’ events over the years until now. “You know, the frustration–’cause once we get in the groove of getting the event setting, we start getting excited again. And then it’s like “Ok yeah, this is why we’re not doing this… (laughs) ..anymore.”

Despite the struggles, numerous familiar FGC faces such as Latif, Mr. SNK, Combofiend, MonGoloRoboKop, Forward, Angelic, Team Hazmat, FrankCastleAZ, and many more turned out to show their support for the historic arcade. Tournaments for King of Fighters XIII, Street Fighter II: HD Remix, Persona 4: Arena, Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition (2012 ver.), and Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 were held over the course of three days at the Four Points by Sheraton Tucson Airport hotel. 

The competition was very relaxed during the event, with a more encouraging attitude towards giving opponents a run for their money rather than just winning. As matches progressed the spirit of the arcade itself with side-by-side opponents, not reliant on internet connections and online net code, began to emerge as players encouraged and coached each other during matches, smiles and handshakes were exchanged, and very few were left with salty attitudes regardless of winning or losing.

The finals day saw many dramatic matches throughout each game tournament. Special guest Combofiend took both the King of Fighters XIII and Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 touranment, as other guest MonGoloRoboKop placed first in the SFII: HDR bracket. AIAB rep Kyoku dominated the Persona 4: Arena competition and Latif defeated Combofiend to take first in SSFIV: AE.

Overall it was a befitting end to the arcade, which will live on in the hands of volunteers, but without further involvement of its founder Ed Farias.

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