Report #2232 5777N08

Elsie Bloom’s account of “something a bit strange” at the Strayworld Arcade in Mesa, Arizona.

Interviewer: Ruby May Valentine, archival assistant at Ordway’s School of Library and Information Sciences.

Transcription by Ruby May Valentine, archival assistant at Ordway’s School of Library and Information Sciences.

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Bloom: So, I just tell you what happened?

Valentine: Yes.

Bloom: Okay, so, it was like last month. I was at Strayworld for a tourney. Street Fighter V. I was there with my boyfriend, Matt. Matt and I met on a Discord server for local fighting game enthusiasts. I’m not the best fighter or anything but I’ve won a few cash prizes at local tourneys here and there, so I frequent them a lot. But anyway, the event was hosted by… Dumb Luck? No one had ever heard of them, but the cash prize was, get this, ten thousand dollars. That was quite a lot compared to a lot of the other local tournaments. I’ve never even thought about winning that amount of money. I’ve always wanted to compete at EVO or something, but I don’t exactly have a whole lot of time to dedicate to the games with work and all. EVO’s a huge fighting game event for the best of the best, you know? Either way, Matt and I knew we had to try our best to win. Ten thousand dollars would pay our rent for over a year. We live pretty much paycheck to paycheck, so the thought was unbelievable.

When we got there the place was packed. I’ve been to Strayworld quite a few times so the thing I noticed immediately was how different it looked. The cabinets had all been switched out with some oddly modern looking things. Strayworld mostly has restored retro cabs that are a bit rough around the edges, so it was quite a shock. There was even a caterer, and we were told the food was free for attendees. Matt and I would never pass up a free meal, so we got some buffalo wings and fries. We had met up with our friend Lucy at some point and caught up a bit. She was just there to spectate. Lucy mostly plays shooting games and the like but enjoys watching the fighting tournaments. She seemed a bit miffed that the Parodius cabinets were nowhere to be seen.

Most of the night was somewhat of a blur after that but let me tell you I was sweating. I had gotten all the way up to the finals. So had Matt. We were both so relieved. Despite our prize being guaranteed at that point, we wanted to put on a good show. I personally didn’t care much whether I won or lost, ten thousand dollars. It was ours. The match was just about to begin when the power went out. It was only for a moment but when everything came back on the place seemed empty. I noticed a man wearing a “Dumb Luck” T-shirt leaning up against a pillar near the lobby. He was wearing sunglasses and smiling. He asked us if we were ready to start the match. I said, “Where is everyone?” He replied that the final match was a private event for a select few that the game would be live streamed to. We were weirded out at this point but figured we’d just get on with it.

The match was fun. I won. After the match, the man handed us a briefcase. Ten thousand dollars. There it was inside. Matt and I went home after that just sort of in shock about the money we had just come up with. I went on discord to message Lucy, but her account seemed to have been deleted. I was thrown off by this, so I tried texting her. I still haven’t heard from her since the night of the tournament.

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A bit strange indeed. There is a company registered under the name “Dumb Luck” that seems to primarily host eSports events. In the archive of their calendar there is a Street Fighter V tournament listed for the date 5776A15. I initially didn’t think much of this report until the team and I did further digging. A few weeks after the tournament, at least 105 missing person reports were filed with the Mesa, Phoenix, and Tempe police departments. After sorting through these, nearly all of them had marked themselves as attending the event on Facebook. Including one Lucy Walsh.

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