Friday, July 16, 2010

Empire Arcadia: The Gamerʼs Pyramid Scheme

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With recent events in the fighting game community, there is no doubt that anyone following the fighting game scene has heard of Empire Arcadia. Although Empire Arcadia may be illustrious, many do not actually know what the organization really is or how the organization operates. In an attempt to inform the community of the organizationʼs structure, history, and practices, this article will be dedicated to clearing up misconceptions about Empire Arcadia through direct unambiguous language.

What is Empire Arcadia?

Empire Arcadia is (according to their website) “the home of the greatest gamers” which in itself is pretty vague. With many people confused as to what Empire Arcadia does, video interviews and an MTV special have shown that Empire Arcadia is a company dedicated to “preserving gaming culture and making sure it stands the test of time.” Again, this explanation really does not give the viewer any specific details about what Empire Arcadia actually does. The only thing people are left to make conclusions on are what they see and hear about the company.

Empire Arcadia can be thought of like a fraternity in a college. They take the same classes as everyone else (play the same games), party with an exclusive set of people (play games amongst each other), take the same tests (attend the same tournaments), host parties (hold tournaments), and have letters to illustrate their alliance (EMP). What separates fraternities from normal students are the resources that are available to the fraternities. Fraternities usually have test banks, good relations with professors, et cetera. But in Empire Arcadiaʼs case, there are no significant resources. Countless videos show that the Empire Arcadia gamers play on dated hardware and occupy substandard housing in Brooklyn. Sure they get to play games with each other, but what separates them from other people that invite their friends over to play video games? Nothing.

It is important to take motive into account when starting an organization. In general, people want to feel special and different from everyone else. Empire Arcadia is no different in this aspect. They play the same games as everyone else, yet they want to feel important about what they are doing so they give it a name. When one really thinks about what Empire Arcadia is, they realize that it is no different from an online clan. They are a group of gamers that share the same prefix (EMP) on their gamer handles and practice (in general) in the same location. While this is one of the motives behind the inception Empire Arcadia, it does not truly explain why the organization exists. This will be further explored later in the article.

The Structure of the Regime

Empire Arcadia is composed of two divisions, upper management which is solely Triforce (The Emperor) and workers which are the EMP Gamers (Knights and Valkyries). The upper management deal with any administrative matters and the gamers do what they do best, they play games. There is more to this structure that meets the eye. In the interest of making money, Empire Arcadia would want to attain talent in a variety of gaming genres to create potential income. It is often boasted that “Empire Arcadia has the greatest gamers in any genre.” There is actually simple logic behind this. If Empire Arcadiaʼs only obligation is to provide a place for gamers to practice, which happens to be their place of residence, it would be in their best interest to get as many gamers as possible. It costs Empire Arcadia nothing to ʻsignʼ a new member. So when Empire Arcadia signs a new member they are gaining potential return on their investment. Since signing a new Empire Arcadia member costs nothing, anything made from the gamer is profit.

One could think of Empire Arcadia as a pyramid scheme, Triforce is the founder and finds gamers with talent to work for him. So the upper management is the one who benefits the most. Like in all pyramid schemes very few succeed: Justin Wong is the exception to the rule, yet Empire Arcadia makes it seem as if he were the norm. As you dive deeper into Empire Arcadia and become more invested (like with all pyramid schemes) you realize what the structure is like and come to a crossroad: Do you quit or do you try to preserve what already exists? Many have taken the latter. With no other options available, the Empireʼs pyramid scheme worked. Players with talent continued to support Empire Arcadia and the ARC and tried to acquire new talent to “expand the empire.” This all changed when Evil Geniuses, a professional gaming company, focused their attention on the fighting game genre. A good portion of the star players, including Justin Wong, have left Empire Arcadia and have signed with Evil Geniuses, effectively starting the collapse of the Empire Arcadia pyramid scheme. In due time, Empire Arcadia will only be a 40 year old man with a Power Glove.


The ARC is just a residential building in one of the worst parts in Brooklyn. This is where some of the Empire Arcadia members live and practice. There are stories of people getting robbed on their way to the ARC, but these may be rumors. Empire Arcadia members have the exclusive ability to play in the ARC no questions asked. While ʻnormalʼ gamers need to know someone in Empire Arcadia or bring food to get permission to get in. The current ARC in Brooklyn is one of the later iterations of the ARC. Many failed rent payments have caused previous versions of the ARC to be shut down. The ARC is filled with gaming consoles and dated televisions for the gamers to play on. This is the hub for the “greatest gamers of all time.”

Rentpire Arcadia

Empire Arcadia, more specifically the members who live in the ARC, have had problems paying the rent and utilities in the past. With sponsorship money running thin and no way to compensate, Empire Arcadia responded by holding a ridiculous amount of tournaments in the New York City area to potentially win some rent money. (This will be later discussed in the “Events” portion of the article.) The Empire Arcadia members who win tournaments are sometimes asked to donate a portion of their winnings to the ARC to keep things running. While this may be a favor or spelled out in a clause in their ʻcontractʼ it is unjust at least. It is blatantly obvious this happens, when Empire Arcadia members are asked to comment on this, the question is completely dodged. The goal of a company that supports gaming culture should not leech off of the winning players, it should reward them for doing well. This empiric structure only serves to feed the design pyramid of Empire Arcadia: Triforce rules all.

Deterioration of the Empire

Recently Empire Arcadia has had many of itʼs members leave the organization for a variety of reasons. Some were made public immediately and some were held back from the masses in fear of “legal consequences.” Evil Geniuses made a huge dent in Empire Arcadiaʼs fighting game roster by signing Justin Wong, Martin ʻMarnʼ Phan, and Ricky Ortiz. FLoE, FightingGM, and Arturo Sanchez have also declared that they are not affiliated with Empire Arcadia anymore. Arturo Sanchez left Empire Arcadia for Team Sp00ky, a gaming organization that runs on donations. There is no doubt that Empire Arcadia is deteriorating, and if nothing is done soon to correct this, Empire Arcadia will be a thing of the past.

Empiric Conspiracy

One of the many interesting aspects of Empire Arcadia is the mentality of itʼs players. The players have been manipulated to the point where they think Empire Arcadia will be the key to their gaming success. Empire Arcadia does not cover their players travel costs, tournament entry fees, or cost of food per trip. So where are the benefits of being an Empire Arcadia member? When Empire Arcadia members are asked about things of this nature (anti-Empire Arcadia related subjects) they either become extremely defensive and attack you or they just completely dodge the question. One of the greatest question dodgers of all time is Triforce. His ability to weasel his way out of a question is unprecedented.

Generally speaking, many Empire Arcadia members shy away from speaking about the organization in itʼs entirety as if they were rigorously trained to do so. Could this be a part of the Triforce brainwash program? Even when presented with hard evidence players still shy away from speaking bad about Empire Arcadia. It could be because they are immensely scared or it could also be the acknowledgement that what is being asked about or being said is in fact truth. Logically speaking, why would a person part of an organization or a person who was once part of an organization speak badly about it? In doing so they would be admitting that they were ignorant in joining the organization and would want to protect their reputation. Even members in the organization who see with their own eyes the living conditions, lifestyle, and business model of Empire Arcadia decide to remain willfully ignorant in thinking that Empire Arcadia will be their ticket to stardom. Perhaps the legal ramifications (if any) that Triforce threatens his beloved players with is what is stopping players from speaking their mind. It could be a clause in the alleged ʻcontractsʼ they are required to sign. While the validity of these contracts are questionable, there is no doubt that Triforce flexes his legal arm by threatening players who are trying to leave Empire Arcadia with lawsuits against their families. Countless claims and a uniform fear to quit the Empire leaves the community wondering “What is the deal with Empire Arcadia?”


Empire Arcadia holds tournaments in the New York City area for a handful of games. Many would argue that this helps the community grow, while this may be true to an extent, the manner in which they are held is questionable. Letʼs start with why Empire Arcadia holds said tournaments. It is pretty simple, self preservation. Since Empire Arcadia is home to some of the best gamers in New York City, the Empire Arcadia members that enter tournaments have a good chance of winning. Since Empire Arcadia potentially makes money with each Empire Arcadia member that wins, it would be in their best interest to hold as much tournaments as possible and flood the brackets with Empire Arcadia members to increase the chances of making money. One could view Empire Arcadia tournaments as rent collection sessions and nothing more.

While in Empire Arcadia events many new inexperienced players are treated with disrespect, some players are teased by being so politely informed that they “wasted their 20 dollars.” This in turn discourages people from entering the fighting game scene and cuts off potential growth in the scene. The argument that Empire Arcadia events are “for the community” is total garbage. The only reason Empire Arcadia holds tournaments is to make potential rent money and to confirm their dominance in various games. It is often heard that “Empire Arcadia is here for the community, look at what we do.” The fact is to the uneducated mind incapable of critical thinking, it would seem that Empire Arcadia does help the community, when in reality it does not. The people have caught on to this and the turnout for Empire Arcadia events have dwindled down to embarrassing numbers. Empire Arcadia have effectively alienated their potential clients by treating them with disrespect.


Among the many laughable attempts to create a respectable media outlet, Empire Arcadiaʼs Twitter, Facebook, tournament ʻepilogues and prologuesʼ, and more importantly their Youtube account, are constantly filled with nonsensical content. If a company is to be taken seriously, they have to be extremely careful about what content is affiliated with them. A good portion of the media released by Empire Arcadia is fighting game related, but some of the media does not need to be on a gaming ʻcompaniesʼ media outlet. Said media only serves to embarrass the company and give the company a bad name.


While this article will most likely be closed at some point it is imperative that some points be made. It is often found that if something is exposed, the most common replied action would be to silence the exposure. Only in doing so, silencing the exposure adds to the validity of the content being presented. There is a very good chance that the same situation will occur to this article. Also, do not expect logical responses from this article. In most cases people will personally attack someone when they do not have a reasonable answer. With that being said, most of the replies to this article will be hate filled attacks that contribute nothing.

It is interesting to note that when a user posts something on the internet that the masses agree with and enjoy they are praised. There are no words associated with a ʻpleasant poster.ʼ However, when a user posts information that someone has a problem with for whatever reason (denial, embarrassment, ignorance, et cetera) they are immediately deemed a ʻtroll.ʼ While that may be, we all know name calling gets people nowhere (I think this was kindergarden 101) yet people still partake in it.

On a side note, this thread, at some point, will most likely be renamed “Empire Arcadia: The Collapse Of The Gamerʼs Pyramid Scheme” given that it is not taken down.