Help Save Super Arcade!

By on February 1, 2013 at 2:30 pm

As most of you are probably aware, Super Arcade in Walnut, California has fallen on some hard times in recent weeks. Unfortunate circumstances have left the establishment with very few cabinets and community mainstay Mike Watson is now its sole owner. While Level|Up Series’ Wednesday Night Fights and The Runback bring competition to the venue every week, an air of uncertainty about its future is still present, especially with the closure of Family Fun Arcade still fresh in everyone’s minds.

Luckily, there’s still hope for this bastion of Southern California competition. A donation drive was recently set up through WePay that asks patrons of the facility and members of the wider fighting game community to help Watson gain some ground against the mounting expenses. Those who donate will be entered into a number of special drawings for various Mad Catz items that will be broadcast live on Thursday or Friday after the fundraiser ends to ensure its integrity.

When contacted for a bit more context on his plans, Watson had this to say:

During this entire ruckis I have learned many things, and although I am new to the arcade ownership side of things, I have always been a people person and dealt with my customers very well over the years. When times are tough people show their true colors. I personally ran a charity tournament for someone I genuinely cared about and it felt awesome. Now I am running one for myself and the community and have mixed emotions. The goal here is to provide a future for game lovers and the FGC here in Southern California and hopefully this will make it happen. After all prizes are given out I want to have a couple “customer appreciation days” where I can turn everything on free play and give back to the community once again that have stood by me and supported me during my rough time. I promise Super Arcade will rise again and better than ever once all this is complete. I have a deep passion for fighting games and a great love for the community involved. Thank you all once again for the support and hope you get something out of Super Arcade, whether it be countless hours of hanging out with friends here, competition from our tournaments, or even being at home and stream monstering it up with levelup and iebattlegrounds. As long as someone is enjoying and benefiting from my hard work and that of my crew, that is enough to make my long hours and rough nights till 4am all worth while.

Stay strong FGC and lets push for an even stronger future.

We also asked Alex Valle of Level|Up Series, the organizers behind Wednesday Night Fights and The Runback, for their perspective on the situation.

Super Arcade, the home of Weds Night Fights and The Runback, is going through some rough times right now. The transition period from the previous owner has taken effect this year which has unfortunately set back the arcade. Mike Watson and I are working around the clock to make sure the SoCal community and fans around the world have a place we can all level up from. If you’d like to support, please visit Thanks goes to everybody for their continued support and we’ll have updates as they come in.

The passion these two individuals have for the fighting game community and the further strengthening of our scene has never been in question, so let’s see what we can do to match their enthusiasm. If you have anything to spare, feel free to follow the link below and donate. The fundraiser will be open through February 14th.

Save Super Arcade Donation Fund


  • Needs a badass wall-plaque with Ryu etched on it and the names of all contributors sorted by donated amount at the top. Lets help Super Arcade FGC.

  • What big name arcades are left in Cali if this goes under?

    • Kageromaru

      In SoCal, not many.  I live in L.A.  Super Arcade, to my knowledge, is the most accommodating to the FGC – and that’s forty miles away from my stomping grounds.

  • Austin Davoren

    Why only 12 days?

    I don’t get paid between now and then.

  • heatEXTEND

    sometimes I wish I was rich :p

    • Only sometimes?

      • heatEXTEND

         who needs coins when you can play laggy games on your own couch where no one can see you mash ? huehuehue

  •  Super Arcade is the best

  • Los Illuminados

    Always sad to read these kind of articles. i hope alot people donate to Save Super Arcade donation drive. Super Arcade holds alot of fond memories for many people and to see it gone would be heart breaking.

    Speaking of  donation drives.  Orochinagi is hosting a donation drive to send KOF Player BALA to this year WGC 2k13! going on right now. Please donate whatever you can as the goal/target is only $1000. Any donation is very much appreciate. go to link to donate -> 

    Also CafeID is hosting a donation drive for themself to travel and attend WGC 2k13! you can donate to them at their twitch channel. -> 

    Let’s Help them all FGC!!! Donate what you can and Thank you.

    • windsagio

      I dunno man, ‘hey bail out my failing business!’ isn’t a longterm solution

      • shotofighter4

        Worked for U.S. Banks.

      • jmz

         wow who are you? real talk. who said the business was failing?

  • emc

    I imagine that arcades will be phased out in 5 years. There just isn’t much need for them anymore. Why go spend $5 at an arcade when you can play the same game on a console? I understand the nostalgia and the venues are great for tournaments, but that doesn’t run a business. It’s sad to say that Arcades may only be popular in Japan because of their culture, America? We just want to wear sweat pants and spill chocolate milk while raging at online SFAE.

    • $18011339

      That is the biggest crock of shit I’ve ever heard. I’m tired of fighting game players being stereotyped as lazy, fat, sweat pants wearing chocolate milk drinkers. I drink lemonade.

    • mozart danno

      Hahaha silly bastard. Arcades need something else in America to attract more people to them kind of like the Dave and Busters franchise except geared  towards mostly but not only young adults which should have a full bar and grill, billiards, bowling, go cart racing (depending on area), lazer tag and a stage that local bands can play on. Im not saying it needs all these options to work but its a start.

      • This is what saddens me. There will never be another pure arcade going forward, me thinks. D&B gets it – what ever happened to Ski and Steve H’s D&B tourney? Was it successful? It really would be a good look if they turned their eye on the FGC.

        • Doug Pendleton

          Management started tripping. They wanted to charge more or something like that. I know that they put the kabosh on the weeklies because they wanted more money.

    • Nazareth Gabriel

      >  Why go spend $5 at an arcade when you can play the same game on a console?

      Why pay for a meal at a restaurant if you can do the same at home? Why pay for an entrance ticket to watch your team or favorite band live if you can watch them on TV?Why pay $5 to spend a good time with friends, on original hardware without delay, meet new people and compete? Yeah, I don’t know either, I prefer to stay at my basement trolling streams and playing laggy games online.

      • OrehRatiug

         Except you pretty much just agreed with his argument. Sales have been declining in Movie theaters, sporting events and the like. People just like the convenience of being lazy, which would be a reason that eating out is still popular, means less cooking. The arcade provides and atmosphere you can’t attain anywhere else, but that doesn’t mean people are willing to avoid it if it means they have to drive half an hour less.

        • Louis Lam

          Sporting events and live concerts aren’t going out anytime soon, if ever.

          • OrehRatiug

            Except arenas have mentioned lowering ticket sales, no they might never die out, but sports are much bigger than the arcade scene.

        • RAB

          Way to pull statistics out of your ass. Movies have been shattering records lately, over and over. 

          • Rip

            Thats because of ticket prices and inflation. The “records” they’re shattering over and over is the amount of money it brought in to the box office. If they aren’t breaking records then something is SERIOUSLY wrong since ticket prices are what? Up over 75-100% from 15 years ago?

          • Stephenson Oluwadare Bamidele

            thank goodness someone knows what they are saying. This guy is a complete idiot. Talk about statistic out of your ass. The irony is too much.

            Regardless, it is indeed terrible how being confined to a physical edifice has broken many businesses. From clothing shopping, movies, and gaming, no one wants to leave their house for these things that are no longer outside luxuries but in house necessities.

            I do hope people support Super Arcade. I love a good online mode, but man…..Id really hate for these bastions of gaming to all but disappear.

    • tiki.92

       Why go? Because you love the place.
      I went to my local arcade during one of their “Anime Game” exclusive tourneys.
      I don’t play any of those game or don’t have any interest in them. But I went anyways to support the place, because I love it. I bought food from the machine, I bought a Card to play some of their NeoGeo/SF cabinets, I bought buttons from them all in that night. Just to support.

      Arcades in america need their version of an 8 on the break Steak though, that’d be dope as fuck!

      Arcades do need to offer more than just games and tourneys to survive though to be honest. It’s great for us players, but an arcade can’t sustain itself w/ just that.

    • Squidhead

      For one thing, you can still smoke cigarettes inside of Japanese arcades.

      • RunningWild1984


      • Andrew Norris

        And when you import a used cabinet, everything inside is usually covered in cigarette ash.

    • Just Tim

      Arcades at least don’t suffer from ISP-induced lag, all thanks to data caps and throttling.

      You’re just saying that because you got Comcast from FAILadelphia!

  • Joshua B


  • webweaver13s

    What happened exactly? Does anyone know?

    • All anyone really knows is that some people showed up on Tuesday, Jan 29 and started pulling cabinets (legally and lawfully).  Outside of days like WNF and TRB, Super Arcade has almost nothing in it.

    • windsagio

      arcades are dying everywhere.  With possibly a few exceptions the FGC just isn’t enough to support one.

  • zedk8

    I guess more people play fighting games online nowadays. But even online has its flaws. I can barely find any players online when I play BlazBlue: CT.

    • sb

      I think EXTEND had something to do with that your behind bro

    • Andrew Norris

      You’re kind of 3 iterations of the game behind.

  • Richard N

    Get a Chrono Phantasma cabinet and I’ll donate my entire paycheck!

  • Tokido

    sry gave all my money to smash 🙁

    • Louis Lam

      lmao you troll you’ve been doing nothing but trolling smash on SRK front page articles.

  • Bryan Rosas

    alright, not now but soon.

  • EA575

    You tell us this now? After the donation drive drained us all?

  • Henry Zurawski

    This breaks my heart but I already threw as much as I could afford to skullgirls at the breast cancer drive. I’ll see if I can’t scrounge up some money soon but this really couldn’t happen at a worse time.

  • Somebody give Watson Henry Cen’s phone number so he can get some pointers.

  • PJ

    If people can donate $60-70k just to get their game into EVO, they better cough up some duckets to save a dying arcade.

  • windsagio

    I hate to be this guy, but seriously.  A fund raiser will change NOTHING.  

    You go a little while longer on the money raised, the economic realities don’t change, and then you’re in the same spot a few months down the line.

    Never throw good money after bad.

    • PJ

      That would be fine and logical if this was due to the economy. But it’s not, it’s due to a shitty situation between owners and Watson getting left high and dry, so in this case yes, a fundraiser will indeed help. 

      • windsagio


        SuperArcade was failing before he bought it, he’s not an expert on the business, there’s no reason to believe the economic situation will change.

        • PJ

          Except the fact that it wasn’t failing and another retard who can’t read the article OR the posts made here by Watts himself. Stay ignorant man 🙂

          • windsagio

            was going out of business before wasn’t it?  I remember Watson doing a ‘save supercade’ thing a few months back or maybe ‘end of a dynasty’.

            something like that anyways.  Was that a different arcade going out of business?

          • Pizzama

            Yes, that was Family Fun Arcade, and the fund raiser was to support Ralph, not to save the arcade. If you read the damn article, you would know that Super Arcade was doing fine as a business prior to losing the cabs.

          • windsagio

            y’all might wanna take a chill pill.

            The article above is pretty vague about the hard times or the reasons.  Conflating the 2 stories isn’t all that unlikely, seems to me, especially given the trends in the business..

    • 2Chep

      What are you talking about? You LOVE to be that guy. All the time, everytime.

      • windsagio

        its weird having fans, all things considered.

        • 2Chep

          Hehe ha 😀

  • Mitchell Clarke

    I just hope that Level|Up is prepared for the inevitable relocation. If WNF/Runback is wrecked by this that would suck even more.

  • Danny Craig

    Let it rest in peace already.

    If it needs donations to survive, then its not meant to be.

    Stop dreaming and hanging on donations and look at the reality of this failure as a business.

    • PJ

      Again someone completely missing the point. This isnt an arcade just going belly up, it’s a shitty partner leaving in a shitty manner and screwing the sole remaining proprietor. 

      • sb

        Like the guy said thats business it sucks yea but thats business

  • Streye

     I guess it was a pretty abrupt change if Mike is now the “sole” owner. I hope everyone that has showed up for their pre-major training at every WNF and TRB are putting their money down. Hell, I hope the arcade enthusiasts and anyone that has had a good time there before too. This is very literally one of the last arcades in the US. It would be a shame to see it go. I wish I could donate more, but what I got is what’s going in.

  • I don’t get how the arcade is dying when WNF and TRB get 6k+ viewers every week. 

    • PJ

      I swear do you people even READ the articles before posting? 😀

    • Rip

      How much do each of those viewers pay to keep the arcade running? What? Nothing.. weird. This is how it works, from a player perspective. We go to WNF – we pay $5 venue that goes to Super Arcade, then we pay per game and that gets split to the winners. I don’t know if Level|Up series and Watson split ad revenue, but seeing as they both put in a lot to make it work and Super is already getting venue fee I doubt Super gets much more if any from the ad revenue split. And seriously, ad revenue? How many ads do u see being pushed on WNF/TRB? They would need to run at least 2 every 15 minutes to make it a business

  • Brandon H

      Arcades simply aren’t profitable and has been in decline for quite some time now.   The minute consoles started catching up to arcades, it was the kiss of death for most arcades in America.   Arcades are expensive to maintain, it requires a lot of overhead and expenses.  I’m not sure how the model goes for leasing and buying machines.  However I will say it probably doesn’t recoup much of it’s cost.

      You really can’t compare an arcade to an eatery.   Again you can cook at home, but you can’t cook it the way the would at a restauraunt.  The restaraunt may also serve food you may not be good at cooking or not know how to cook.  As long as food is served in a certain way, that is hard to replicate at home, you will always have restauraunts.

      And as far as concerts are concerned.  You can listen to the same music at home. However many people agree tha seeing a band live is better.  You also get to see the people in person.

     Bottomline, people are NEVER pay for something they cannot buy.  You’re basically buying time to play a game at an arcade.  At home you can purchase the game once, and play as much as you want.   Overall, you’ll spend more at an arcade than you will just buying a game once.  Arcades last selling point was competition, but with online playing becoming better, it killed any hopes of arcades justifying their existence.

      So let’s recap, in arcades you have to buy space, buy or lease machines, make sure the arcade is wired to power the macines, and buy card or coin machines.  That’s a lot of overhead and investment for something people will never go to.  Arcades are just a good business decision.  I’m 33 years old, and was raised in arcades.  Went me entire life.  But the side of me that understands business knows it’s obsolete.  There is no coming back.  It’s worth donating for the cause, but you can’t save an arcade, it’s simply will never be a sustainable business in these days and times.

    • PJ

      Someone else who didnt bother to READ THE ARTICLE. 
      Super Arcade was doing fine, making small profit, and then something happened between Mike and the other owner and 3/4 of the cabinets are now gone in the arcade. THAT’S why he needs donations, to replace the cabs that are gone. It would have taken you less time to read the article than to write that needless novel you just did bro. 

      Super Arcade was doing fine. My home arcade where I grew up, 8 on the Break in New Jersey is still functioning strongly, and we even have what they claim on their website to be “the world’s largest arcade” here in New Hampshire, Funspot, still up and running and going nowhere soon. People do and will go to arcades whether you believe it or not.

      • Brandon H

          We also have Gameworks here in Seattle.  It will never go out of business.  That’s because there is are other things to do besides play games.  You can eat overpriced food, drink beer, watch the game, and play games like ski ball.   The fighting game section with AE is constantly empty, and every once in awhile I scrub may get on and mash DP until he loses.  Some people couldn’t even select their character. 

          Anyway, I understand you like arcades, but let’s not be delusional here.  Arcades are dying.  everytime I look up, we’re trying to save an arcade.   If the arcade business were profitable, Mike Watson would have no issue finding someone else who would want to invest.  But he needs to rely on donations.  Why?  Because anyone trying to make money isn’t going to invest in an arcade.

          Arcades to some degree are propped up by things like WNF, or the Break..  It gives some advertisment to the arcade, and I’m sure the tournament organizers pay money to be able to run a tournament there.  And a lot of time a good core scene can keep an arcade afloat.  But at it’s best, Arcades are niche.  This isn’t even up for debate.  The evidence of arcades being a failing business is obvious. 

        • PJ

          True but coming in here in THIS ONE particular situation and saying things like “donate for the cause but you’re not saving anything” is pretty jackass to say the least. As it’s been said, it’s not like Ralph and Family Fun where the place just can’t support itself anymore. Completely different scenario and while I know it’s just the internet… I still get pissed off at people here (not singling you out, there’s quite a few) and their “donating won’t do jack” comments. Specially towards a person and place that has done nothing but support the FGC the whole way.

          • Mario Klinge

            You shouldn’t be getting pissed.  It’s business, not a charity.  Certain business are no longer as profitable as they used to be.  Arcades are one of them.  Not only that it has only been about a year since it’s open and it needs donations. That’s not a very long running before it started to struggle.

          • PJ

            No, maybe pissed was the wrong word. I get “highly annoyed” because braindead people like you STILL can’t read the fucking article and see that SA was NOT a struggling arcade, and NOT the reason it needs these donations, lol. Not enough /palms on the internet for you my friend.

          • windsagio


            Hows this then,

            S- happens, sometimes your business gets put in a bad place (and not knowing the details, one is left to wonder about how they got into that position).  begging people for handouts to save a business is unethical at the best of times.  (Watson even references that in his posts up there, but then goes on to say this is (naturally) a special occasion).

            And maybe, just maybe he should have kept track of the issues with a core asset of the business he was taking over.  

            Guy needs a real investor, not free gimmees.

          • Mario Klinge

            I only read part of the article.  The end result is still the same.  You are too emotional hence the childlike insult you threw at me.  Arcades provide arcade games for customers to use.  If they are not prepared for the loss of one game or many of them then they weren’t prepared as a business.  They can take out a business loan and get more games.  They probably weren’t making much of a profit anyway hence they can’t buy a couple of cabinets and swap out the games.  Donating will do something but that’s just momentary.  e.

          • heatEXTEND

             You are the one being insulting by refusing to actually read anything that other people post.

            Class act, keep writing those novels.  

    • RunningWild1984

       Online play becoming better?

      lol only if you can get Verizon Fios in your area, and even that is a stretch.

  • Blood Burger

    Wish I could do more, but a nigga is broke and has no car. =/ Watch my videos. I’ll send the money to SA.

  • Hey_Sim

    Donate Donate Donate Donate Donate Donate Donate Donate Donate Donate Donate Donate 


  • Where can you go for help if you can’t reach out to your community?

  • Martini Whoelse

    I bet even half of the money EVO got from FGC donators would be more than enough.

    In any case, I don’t believe a donation will “save” anything, only prolong the inevitable.

  • Super Arcade !!!

    i shouldve posted something right away when this story was placed front page and i apologize for not having all the info posted as clearly as possible for everyone.  i have just been so busy running our weeklies and i dont get home till roughly 4am i am also making arrangements to have things handled at super arcade in terms of getting it back to working order, so thats my excuse and once again i apologize.

    heres the situation at hand.  super arcade is not a failing business and has been able to stay afloat without any issues.  the problem is it stayed afloat because it was a fully functional arcade with working arcade cabinets and a very popular console venue.  now the cabs have been removed and without the revenue from arcade machines it is impossible to keep up with the cost of operation.  each day the business is occupied, not open, it is costing me at least $200 out of pocket to keep the spot rented.  under normal circumstances that would not be an issue because our income from the arcade cabs covers that.  if super arcade was having an issue with covering the lease or standard cost of operation than this drive would all be for null.  but its not, the drive is to help me get arcade cabs back in here so we can be fully operational and stronger than ever.

    as stated in the description on my wepay link, i have somewhat of an issue with morals and ethics when it comes to taking donations to keep a business alive.  i do believe that if an owner cannot support his own business he probably shouldnt be doing business.  and if that owner has to ask for help to keep his business alive, its probably not worth investing in.  but once again, the argument to this is that the business was generating enough money to stay alive until a massive blow occurred and the rug was pulled from under me.  and also for this drive i am going to be giving away a huge amount of prizes for the participants for helping me so its not truly all just a blatant donation(this is obv to make myself feel better about the whole ordeal)

    as i stated, if anyone has any questions feel free to email me at or tweet me @SuperDojo and ill to get back to you with any answers that i can.  i will be taking a picture soon to show the prizes that are going to be given away so keep an eye out!  thanks again to everyone who supported me and my efforts here as i am truly truly thankful.  if you have ever stopped by the arcade you will know that this isnt just your regular coin operated business, this is almost like one big family and believe it or not, even at my old age i know about 95% of my customers names and truly make an effort to make sure everyone here enjoys their experience.  sorry for the long read if you feel then need to know more i am here to answer your questions.

    thank you,

    • Celyot

      Give any thought to streaming a donation tourny? Use entry fees as donations, though you can still give other prizes to the winners. The primary prize would be a venue to continue playing. Could be held on the 13th to get some of the Wednesday numbers.

    • teleportinturtle

      Is there a target amount you can post? It seems like less of an insurmountable task when there’s a goal in mind.

    • RenaTurnip

      Yeah, is there a target goal in mind? That might help us out a lot, here. I can’t provide much but I sure as heck don’t want to lose seeing Super Arcade each week…

  • Super Arcade !!!

     again, this isnt a case of super arcade not being able to make rent or pay bills, so this is a 1-time ordeal to restock the place with cabs that were abruptly removed.  there is no true target due to the fact that i dont have a “debt” or a “bill” that needs to be paid.  the goal is basically to collect whatever we can and use all that towards purchasing as many cabs as possible.  the money received and the money i have on hand will be the determining factor as to exactly what is purchased.  i have been working on deals non-stop since tuesday to get things back in order.  the only number i can give out is the cabs previously in here were valued anywhere from $40,000 to $50,000 and included some shooting and racing games that are expensive and thats definitely not what im looking to pick up atm cause it would not be feasible. 

    we will probably run some type of stream to get a final push but as far as now all my time is being dedicated to hunting down cabs for the right price and moving forward.  if you guys have cabs for sale and willing to work out a good deal please contact me.  im looking for sit down japanese style stuff such as astrocabs.  thanks.

  • Squidhead

    Where did all of these said cabinets go?

  • PJ

    Well I sent this in to Eventhubs 4 times this week already and still no posting. Figures, that site would rather post liang’s funny moments videos and “this may or may not really be in Injustice” stories than something that actually affects a part of the FGC… /palm

    • No use getting upset over trivial things. If Eventhubs doesn’t comply, then that’s their problem. There will be consequences.

  • Mario Klinge

    If you are against donations then why don’t you offer to give back the money that people donate to you once you recoup your losses?

  • Doug Pendleton

    Then it would not be a donation Mario. It would be a loan. 

  • If you already haven’t done this, I think Super Arcade should focus more on console play vs arcade play. Keep the current cabinets you have, just implement a pay system for the consoles. Get someone to help you with a card system where players can use credits to play the console vs buying arcade cabinets. It’s worth a shot considering all the major tournaments are played on console and not the arcade. I understand the sentimental value in an arcade cabinet since I grew up playing in the arcades. *Shout outs to Put-Put Golf and Games* But, somethings are really just outdated and needs to be up-to-par with the “Professional fighting gamer experience” via PS3 or XBox 360.

    Its just my opinion though.

    • heatEXTEND

       This might actually not be that bad of an idea lol

    • d3v

      They need to make it so that people still need to quarter up and not pay for time.

    • Shekeib Shaffiey

      they have sfxt and umvc3 in a cabinet at super arcade that you pay for based on time played. It’s really cheap but I don’t see people on it too often, but that was a while ago.

  • locazo87

    Reading some comments, Americans does not deserve any Arcade Places, theres too many silly people comparing the arcade experience with online play. Online play is laggy, and most of any friends you could find there will be lost on one or two years. Its obvious that most people who likes online play over going Arcades are just some noob brats who could lose all their money challenging skilled people. Arcades is for gamers as clubs for dancers, you can watch a live stream of your favorite club and dance alone in your house but its not to be the same thing than going. Arcades is the best places to find friends, getting away from home when you are boring to play with people you dont know and wont give a shit about you, and sparing time with a community who like the same type of  games as you. And the real skilled players are there.

    • Michael Gacillos O’Hair

      “Arcades is the best places to find friends”

      A few friends, yes. And a multitude of enemies, even if only enemies for less than 390 seconds at a time.

      • heatEXTEND

         Those are the best kind.

  • d3v

    People are missing the point. The reason Super needs money is because they needs cabs. As far as I can tell, when it changed hands, one of the former owners took their cabs with them. So those cabs need to be replaced.


    arcades are failing because you all decided to buy a madcatz stick

  • When Jason owned this place, there was never any of these things going on, but somehow the FFA commuity that took over Super and Japan Arcade seem to be omens so far. I’m glad i retired from gaming and stop going to these places soon as Jason stepped down. I miss the good ol’ days prior to the FFA staff days. FFA pretty much fucked everything up in my point of view.