Uh…. is this thing on?

Well, if you don’t know what Gamer Zone is, this is probably going to be really boring 
Yes, this is a pathetic company owned Xanga ‘blog – but it will probably be sort of entertaining to anyone who’s interested in GZ and what goes into a place like this.
This isn’t my first ‘blog – over at GarageGames.com you can find a lot of my .plan files (game developer blogs – which, eventually, they broke down and renamed as blogs rather than .plan files, since hardly anyone even remembers the .plan file craze anymore) on game development stuff, and some entries relating to GZ.  the best of the GZ related stuff is this:
That is the very original version of Gamer Zone when it was at Harry & Broadway, and only occupied 2 bays.  Now that we’ve moved to above Agents of Comics (Excuse the cell phone pics – why can’t cell phone cameras be worth a crap in low light?!)
That last ugly pic is of one of our projection screens.  I love that thing – while it might not look great there, it’s awsome, and its EIGHT FRIGGING FEET WIDE!  I love it.  There’s actually two of those side by side, both are for consoles (XBox, PS2, GameCube).  However, I learned the hard way they suck for anyone who’s good at DDR   (That would be customer complaints, not my complaints – I’m not good enough to determine how bad that setup sucked.)
When I compair the two, I’m a bit amazed we’ve made it this far.  Ye gods it’s been a lot of work over the last 20 or so months we’ve been open.  Unluckly, it’s came with a pretty heavy price for me – I don’t do much game development / contract work these days because so much of my focus went into GZ.  I pretty much have fallen off of the radar for gamedev stuff.  
But GZ is finally leveling off, and doing pretty well.  So I’m going to be getting back into the groove on things that, well, pay quite a bit better than GZ does 
And if anyone wonders – no, I’ve probably not worked on any game projects you’ve heard of (most things I’ve worked on for contract gigs never made it to market) or worked with much of anyone you’d quickly recognize (I did do some consulting through a third party to Glass Egg, who did a lot of the work on Forza Motor Sport for the XBox.
The whole DDR “thing” is a pretty good example of how Gamer Zone ends up working.  We get an idea, and chat with some people, and throw together the 1.0 version.  Which tends to suck   1.0 for DDR was the softpads + XBox + DDR UltraMix 2.  “2.0” would be the whole StepMania + Projector + Doesn’t-Suck-As-Bad-As-SoftPads step.  Now, after a buttload of feedback and testing from quite a few people (who don’t suck at DDR  we’ve got a solid direction to go.  No more projector, and the new pads are out the door in exchange for building metal pads.  Yes, building them – it’s a project I have contemplated doing many times for myself, and I happen to have 75% of the parts to do it left over from other GZ building projects.  And yeah, I’m pretty handy with this sort of project.
I’m sure someone will ask the question – why the heck don’t we just buy a machine?  Um – cost -vs- returns.  A “real” DDR machine would cost between $6k and $9k (with some exceptions – but I don’t always trust the lowest prices I find on something like this, and people would probably never show up if I bought a DDR Solo Mix cabinet)  I charge $1.50 / hour for people to play.  A minimum of 4,000 hours of gameplay before I break even on a real machine   (If it was played by just one player from open until close, it would take 285+ days to pay the machine off.  OUCH.)  That’s assuming nothing breaks, needs replaced, etc. to set those costs back.  And I’ve already been burned on “Oh, but tons of people will show up!” type stuff for tournaments in Halo 2, Counter Strike, etc. (Yes, we’ve had some that were good turn outs, but that was the exception not the rule – only two of the Halo 2 tourneys had good turnouts.  And CS was such a flop it wasn’t even funny.)
Which boils down to – I’ve got to “grow” our setup to match the number of players I have.  I can’t say I would NEVER buy a DDR machine (or ITG – which I’ve never seen one of in my life , but I’d have to be doing a lot of DDR business to justify that.  Damn owning a business sucks somedays – reality gets in the way of fun.  But for anyone that ever shows up – please provide feedback, so I can make this rock.
I had created a Xanga profile for GamerZone a couple weeks back, then wizitchizit 
mentioned that he was posting about the pads on Xanga.  So I had to break down and see what was goin’ on – morbid curriosity struck, and I had to see what people were saying 
It didn’t take long to see something that pissed me off though.  No, not that someone said something negative about GZ.  I do care about that and all, it’s what happened – who ever was working the counter at the time was so absorbed in thier game they pretty much had to be slapped up side the head to get service.  Holy crap – that’s just wrong, and it pissed me off a lot.  Anyone who’s behind the counter at GZ has a very important job, and I remind them of it often – customer service.  If you’ve get a bad experience at GZ, be sure to post, email, phone, or just shout at me to tell me it happened.  And maybe even who was working the counter.  And no, I don’t get particularly defensive if someone posts that we did a shitty job at something – just means we need to fix the problem so it doesn’t happen again.
Oh wow – ok, this is getting pretty damned long.  Sorry – if you actually read the whole thing, congratulations, you appear to have not died from boredom 
Davis, Gamer Zone

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