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Open Letter to All – DDR Storm XIV: A Storm Reborn

Posted on Posted in Announcements, Events

The Official DDR Storm XIV Photos can be found here: http://bwhitlockphoto.com/ClientProofs/DDRStormXIV

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After DDR Storm 12 was over, the very low turnout had me saying to myself that the DDR Storm community was pretty much done for. Arcades were dying. Working machines were becoming scarce. The community was growing older. We were all growing up and moving on to our real lives. I had a lost a lot of hope in continuing to run dance game tournaments. It just seemed like it wasn’t meant to be.

When Amanda Roth told me that 2013 would be 10 years since my first DDR Storm, I thought to myself that this could be one last hurrah. That 10th anniversary event happened last year and the spark of passion I had turned into a burning flame. The large amount of support from everyone led me to believe that this community would never die. We are a huge family. A lot of us (including myself) found this community to be our perfect social circle. It took me back to the first DDR Storm where I finally felt that I found a group where I would actually fit in. So from that event forward, I made a vow to myself to host DDR Storm on an annual basis until the day comes where it cannot happen anymore.

Well, this past weekend was one hell of a rebirth.

This was definitely the largest DDR Storm event that I have ever hosted in my 11 years of tournament organizing. We had over 175 attendees from Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, Louisiana, Ohio, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico & as far as Washington State! There were tons of new faces. Many were people that have entered multiple dance game tournaments, but never attended a DDR Storm. A few were even completely new to the dance game tournament community. It was amazing meeting all the newcomers and seeing familiar faces again! I hope everyone enjoyed their selves, made some new friendships, rekindled old friendships, created experiences, and had lots and lots of fun.

Everyone seemed to have LOVED the venue and well, I couldn’t keep anyone away from the BEACH! C’mon guys. It’s just the beach. 🙂

So, I would like to start by giving a thanks to Monica Quarto at the LaPlaya Resort for being the easiest and best Sales Manager I have ever worked with. This awesome venue is available to us because she’s willing to work with an event that is unlike 99% of her other clients. Even though we trash the room like the big kids that we are, she is absolutely happy to have us there and wants us to keep hosting at that location every year. We’ll see about that. 😉

Thanks to Nick & Tiffany Denty for their 3 dance game machines, their strength with moving said machines, their rental of a 26 foot Ryder truck, and their 18+ hours of total driving. Nick also helped with every machine issue and the organizing of 4th Mix PLUS. Tiffany also helped with staffing my registration desk for pretty much the entire weekend. They are completely committed to the DDR Storm community and this should be obvious in everything they have done for the event this weekend.

Thanks to Justin Denning for loaning his 3 dance game machines for the event which Nick & Tiffany picked up from him. Even though he was unable to attend, trusting us with those machines isn’t something I would expect.  Without his machines, the In the Groove and Pump It Up Fiesta 2 tournaments would not have taken place. He also assisted during the planning process as rules were being formed for the events.

Thanks to James Albright, Tim Wendel and Anthony Perfetti aka Team Oni for giving us the opportunity to experience DDR 2013, which is the newest Dance Dance Revolution mix available to play. They plan on moving the machine to The Geek Easy in Orlando for the public to play.

Thank you Steven Lo for taking care of In the Groove. There are not many within the community that understand what it takes to organize a proper In the Groove tournament that the players would be happy with.  Not even myself. He led the way to create a custom song list for both Low and High Divisions. I’m sure he received multiple inquiries and comments from players on a non-stop basis. Not only that, he helped coordinate travel for anyone that needed ride to and from the airport. He also gave these individuals a place to stay before and after the ride to and from Daytona. He did all this while he was taking college classes. I feel that a lot of people in his situation would have absolutely quit. He held strong and came through. I honestly think it’s because of Steven’s organizing that many ITG players felt that DDR Storm would be a legitimate tournament for them. Thanks so much buddy.

Thanks to Lucas Loman, NicX, Jimmy Shave, Joe Ledesma, Darrin O’Brady, and Pirin for volunteering to be organizers for the dance game tournaments. Lucas was done with DDR Extreme in the fastest time! Of course, it had nothing to do with having 2 machines, haha. NicX took care of Supernova 2 qualifying while Jimmy took care of the brackets. Joe handled the Pump It Up tournament which was completed within a day. Pirin organized the Extreme High-Stakes tournament which was a fun and original idea. Darrin took care of the DDR Challenge tournament as he always does a great job at hosting.

Thanks to Steve Rosa, Jon Pittenger, Andrew Cook, and Tyler Dean for volunteering to run the side tournaments. Steve took care of the NES Remix Challenge and the Pokemon Stadium 2 Mini-Games. Jon took care of Mario Kart 64. Andrew led the way for Amplitude. Tyler demanded an NBA Jam tournament and I had no choice but to oblige. And then I had to win it so I could get my gold medal back. 😉

Thanks to Tony Conner, Malik Streeter, Isaac Solomon, Jon Taylor, and Steve Rosa for putting in that physical labor to help carry and move the machines for the event. They came early on Thursday to assist and I’m glad they were there as it made moving things a lot easier.

Thanks to the vendors as well! Dance Mart for providing raffle prizes and selling dance game related items! I guess Kaze’s Garage Sale was a big help as well, lol.

Thanks to Precision Dance Pads for providing pads prizes, a stepmania setup and the amazing 9 foot dance pad! You may have given us ideas for future tournaments. We … might need you to bring that back again. 🙂

Thank you to Charlene Valerio for the creation of both shirt designs! I think it’s easy for me to say that this was the most loved design out of every shirt so far. You keep wowing us with your talent and it never stops. I’m sure everyone hopes that you stick around for more awesomeness!

Thank you to Ben Whitlock (http://bwhitlockphoto.com) for the photobooth setup and taking the group photo on the beach! This idea was his and was implemented at Project Storm SURGE. Since then, it has been a big hit and provides a lot of fun for the attendees. You definitely help with keeping the memories alive.

Thanks to Collin and Aaron for sticking around at the very end and helping move the last of my equipment. At that point, I was becoming very sick and I’m glad I had the extra help. Thanks guys.

Thanks to my beebee, Lynnsey, for supporting me throughout the stressful last few weeks, helping with moving, bringing me food, petting me, and being the best beebee ever. 🙂

And thanks to each and every person that attended from 1 to 3,000 miles away. You are the reason that I continue to keep hosting these events.  As you can see, this was definitely no one-man show and without the help of all of you, this event would have never been possible.

Now that Storm XIV is done and over with, I wanted to address some items.

Word was spreading that I was going to be looking for a new and larger venue. This was true. With the machine count growing from 5 to 7 from last year, the interest in others bringing their machine(s) has grown. I can imagine attaining 10 machines next year without too many issues. Being that I’m only limited to the size of the 3800 square foot room, it was the only option I felt that I had at the time. Also, being in between 2 major airports an hour away doesn’t make the trek easy on attendees that fly in. But after multiple individuals shared their love for this particular location, I went ahead and booked a weekend for next year. I don’t want to announce anything yet, because I don’t want to make it official yet. I will never turn down any opportunities that come up in life, especially if I feel it would be a better choice for future DDR Storm events. Once all decisions are final and contracts are signed, you will know. But aside from all this, you can definitely expect DDR Storm XV next year in May 2015.

The streaming of the event was not a top priority this year. Both last year and this year, we were only able to stream In the Groove. This is because my current streaming capture card is not compatible with the output of DDR machines. For next year, I plan on putting more focus on the stream to make it more presentable and entertaining for audiences. I hope to have a brand new capture device that can handle streaming of DDR and In The Groove. If possible, we could have multiple streams.

This is the first DDR Storm I have ever had where there were no major pad issues. Unfortunately, there were other issues. The 3 power outages we had was obviously because of the overload of power on the circuit. I was later informed by the general manager that they had designated high power outlets which were not being utilized. We made the switch and there were no longer any power issues. Knowing this for the future, we hope to avoid any power outages at future events using this ballroom.

The food and drinks provided in the room was a mediocre service. Drinks were pricey for the little cups, the food was not that great, and the water was not refilled on a normal basis. I shared my disappointment with the manager. If this room is used next year, we will probably replace the cash bar with more water stations. I also hope to convince them to let us bring in outside food, even if I have to pay for that convenience myself.

As far as other events I will be hosting, I will continue to move forward with the monthly events in Jacksonville, FL called Arcade Jax, which take place at the Dive Bar. You can find information on that on the Twitter @ArcadeJax and the Arcade Jax Facebook Page.  I’m also planning a Storm Unity Podcast with Kevin Fields where we will talk lots about gaming and butts! I also have a plan to host a Florida Speedrunning Charity Marathon coming soon later this year. All Storm Unity information which include the podcast, charity marathons & DDR Storm updates will be posted through the Storm Unity Facebook page (http://facebook.com/stormunity) and the Storm Unity Twitter (@StormUnity).

If anyone still wants to purchase any DDR Storm XIV shirts, contact me with your size and we can work something out.

Final Results from this event will be officially posted soon.

If you have any questions, suggestions, or comments, please feel free to contact me on Facebook (http://facebook.com/tygerstyle) or Twitter (@StormUnity / @tygerstyle). Once again, thanks to everyone who attended, helped, and supported. I had an amazing time at this event. I really hope you did as well.

We hope to see you all again next year!

Who knows… maybe I’ll evolve into Tangrowth. 😉

3 thoughts on “Open Letter to All – DDR Storm XIV: A Storm Reborn

  1. Thank you so much Josh. The 10 years I have been involved in this community have gotten me through a lot and I have made so many friends. I hope these events carry on many years into the future even if we are a bunch of old people with walkers playing DDR. You make me want to get involved in these events and that is an awesome thing. Thank you again!

  2. I helped with the DDR Extreme tournament alongside Lucas, it’s probably why it went by so fast :V

    But seriously though, thank you so much for hosting these events Josh, this was my very first Storm and I could not believe the fun I had all weekend long. Your perseverance and dedication is what brought us all together and keeps bringing us back to our passion. There are also tons more people to thank, but in all honesty, with your help, they were all able to give you a good boost to help your event succeed like it has in the past, and I can guarantee you that this love and compassion will continue for years to come.

    Thanks for everything Josh, you tangela-lookin man 🙂

    Julian A.

  3. Had a great time as always Tyger! Love this community and of course love these games! Already can’t wait for next year!

    Thanks for everything.

    -Rezin

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