Open Letter to All – Project Storm: SURGE

TL;DR at the bottom.

I always start these posts with a “Thank you to all…” type of intro. I can’t do that this time. This event deserves much much more than that. I cannot even put into words how amazing this event turned out and how much I’d like to thank each and every person for coming and supporting Project Storm: SURGE. I was very hesitant and skeptical about having another Project Storm in this manner. This ‘manner’ is referring to actually renting out an empty room and making the entertainment happen from scratch.

As many of you may know, Storm started as a ‘dance game major’. The genre seemed to have been slowly dying as arcades were going under, dance game machines were breaking down from lack of maintenance, and the regular players were getting older and moving on with their lives. I did NOT want to have another ‘Project Storm’ if I could not have dance games available. Almost giving up, I had a random surge of motivation (yes, pun intended!). I have always depended on these arcades, but always knew that there were players in the community that owned their own machines. I strongly felt that if the community wanted me to put on another Project Storm, they would be there to help me through it. I tend to have a problem with always wanting to do everything myself. For once, I let some of that go and asked for assistance everywhere. To my surprise, that help was ALWAYS there. I just had to ask for it.

With the recent re-surge of fighting games, I definitely wanted to bring both communities together and put on a great event for everyone. Once I booked that hotel, I knew that there was no turning back. This is why this tournament was deemed ‘SURGE’. I was no longer going to just sit on my ass and just let this opportunity pass me by. I was going to move forward with this damn thing and make it work. It’s been a long-time goal of mine to have an event in a convention center or large meeting room.

I had a total of approximately 175 people at this event. In my opinion, this is by far the most successful Storm tournament that I have ever run. Thank you thank you THANK YOU all so much for attending and supporting these events. I feel that sometimes, the work I put in goes completely unnoticed, but each time people thank me for hosting, or tell me that this made their weekend, or tell me that this was the best tournament that they have ever attended… it makes me want to keep going, keep having these events. And I plan on doing just that. 🙂

Here’s the HUGE Thank You paragraph: A huge thanks to Thomas Daley, Antonio Del Valle, Nick Bryan, Levi O’Rear, Cary Cruz, Jerome Tompkins and David Reynolds for running the events. Thank you to Brandon Lange for taking care of the stream pretty much the ENTIRE weekend. Thanks to Justin Denning, Joe Ledesma, Thanh Dang, Steven Lo, and Tim Wendel for running the dance game events. Thank you to Hudson Felker, Chris Wingard, and James Albright for loaning their dance machines and helping us with the move. Thanks to Brandon Lange, Patricia Sheldon, William Dorsch, Anthony Meszaros, Tim Wendel, Jon Pittenger, and anyone else who also helped with the transporting of the machines. Thank you to Charlene Valerio for the shirt designs! Thank you Ben Whitlock for the awesome photo booth and photos to come! Thank you to Sean Scott, Charlene Valerio, Sean Pfeifer, Patricia Sheldon, Jon Pittenger, Jerome Tompkins, and anyone else that helped with Registration! Thanks to Gareth Bafaty, Steve Rosa, Patricia Sheldon, Charlene Valerio, and anyone else who contributed prizes toward the raffle! Thanks to Alex Jebailey, Antonio Del Valle, Krist Theriault, Cary Cruz, Ben Reed, Kyle Brdley, Nick Bryan, and many others who brought their setups for the event. Thanks to Darrin and KJ for the speakers and the amazing Mario Party IRL idea. Thank you to everyone else who helped assist me in ANYWAY possible during this weekend. This was definintely not a one-man show. If it was not for you guys, my events would never be possible.

With all that said, I wanted to give a few comments on a few things.


First things first. The venue fee. Many felt that the fee was ‘too damn high’. Being that it was the first time that Project Storm event had a venue fee over $10, I think a lot of the community did a double-take. If this was an arcade, a lan center, or something like that, I would understand. This time, it wasn’t the case. I think some people went into this thinking that I was trying to make a large profit off of everyone. That’s NOT I go into these things. In all honesty, I was hoping people would see it as a fighting game major or a 3-day gaming experience. Unfortunately, being completely new to the fighting game scene, I think there was a lot of doubt out there. I do know that $30 is high for those that come for one-day. I was hoping more would take advantage of the $20 early venue. Worked for some, not for everyone else. I will look into ways of bringing the venue fee down. BUT, the truth is, if you guys don’t register early, you will end up paying more. Hopefully, I can have a LOT more planning time for the next event in order to either justify paying a $20/$30 venue or finding creative ways to give discounts or incentives. I will work with the community as best as I can. Overall, I hope that those who attended felt that the experience they had was worth the time and money spent.

The hotel staff that helped with the venue was very VERY open and friendly to us as an event. With this known, it’s very likely that I may use this venue again for a future tournament. They provided me with a great deal and I’m sure I helped them out as well.

I felt that the setup for the event worked out pretty well! The only issue was walking from the Main Room to the Crown Room, in which you had to get through the door with a room key. Not everyone had a room key and it was quite an inconvenience. I don’t really have a solution to that at the moment in case I were to do the same thing at a future event. If you have a suggestion, please pass it my way.

It was also brought up that separating DDR from ITG and PIU was a problem as it was difficult to find players for their match being that dance game players mostly tend to enter multiple dance game events. I do believe this can be fixed with either matches designated by time slots or squeezing all machines into 1 room. The latter is less desirable with the current venue, but the former can only work if we have everyone registered and qualified BEFORE the day of the tournament. It’s almost always IMPOSSIBLE to have that happen without someone being inconvenienced. We will figure out how to handle this in the future.

The fighting game events went VERY smoothly in my opinion. A few events started a bit late. Not really much to say about this. I think we got this on LOCK. If anyone has any comments, please let me know.

In regards to the stream, I feel it went great! There was no issues as far as I know. The hotel bandwidth is actually STRONGER than I thought. They said they could give me up to 10 mbps if I needed. Pshhh, we can do 2 streams next year if there’s another stream setup we can get (*COUGHJTBARBERCOUGH*) I plan on watching the entire thing when I get the chance to. I want to grab some highlights and throw it on the StormUnity Youtube account. I have a few broken XLR cables, but I hope to have those replaced next week.

The photo booth was amazing! I hope you guys took advantage of it. I definitely hope to do this again.

Mario Party IRL went so well! We will need to make this an event for next year. DEFINITELY!

I think the raffle will have a max limit to how many you can buy next time. Yes, my raffle got Jebaited. 🙁

I’m sure I’m missing some things, but I just wanted to write openly to everyone and give my thoughts on the weekend. I would LOVE to have another Project Storm this year. If I can make it work, you will see the event. Stay tuned. Once again, thank you to everyone who participated, attended, helped, or watched Project Storm: SURGE. Results will follow very soon.

TL;DR – Thanks to everyone. I’m glad I could combine dance games and fighting games. It worked out. Hotel was awesome. Event was amazing. You are the best! I want to have another tournament. Stay tuned. Long live Storm.

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