The poser spokesman

So a story has been circulating through the news lately, and it’s something I happen to know a bit of insider information about so I figured I’d share. This, of course, is about Chris Kooluris, the guy from NYC who turned his bedroom into a small arcade. You can read about what he did, and that he lost his fiance because of it, here.

Now, let’s start earlier. He joined the arcade collector forums for KLOV/VAPS, apparently looking for help in building his arcade. He posted for awhile, and before long things soured. He disregarded advice, was combative or obnoxious for no real reason other than ego, and ignored rules of the forums. He’s since been banned permanently for threatening people via private message. It seemed from the beginning that he was really pushing to be a sort of public spokesperson for the hobby. He works in public relations, so the Wired article that started all of this was likely arranged by him, though I don’t know for sure.


Yup,this is him.

Now before you all get uppity and defend the guy, let me throw this out. Buying a few games and throwing them in a room is something anyone can do. He spent $32k on about $10k worth of games, and has one of the most poorly designed MAME pedistals I’ve ever seen. An example of what I’m talking about is that the player 3 and 4 controls have 6 buttons each, which no game in existence uses.


6 buttons per player, and angled joysticks….yikes!

In the wired article, he tried painting the KLOV community as a bunch of haters. I can clear that up right off the bat. The community there didn’t really give a shit that he had a Fix it Felix and a MAME pedistal. Most collectors have at least one multicade. MAME is very commonplace, especially since most people have limited space. As is typical with articles like this, things were taken out of context. If he was an honest, humble dude just looking to learn and get into the hobby because of his love of games, he’d have no problems. I have a MAME cabinet in my collection, and I’ve NEVER gotten shit for it. It’s all about how you talk to people, and this guy apparently sucks at it because he really tarnished his own image online. To be clear, I’ve NEVER had an issue with anyone on those forums that blew up, and none of my fellow collectors have either. Sure, there are some bad eggs, but MOST of the bigger names on there were his detractors. The idea is simple: if you want to learn about the games, fix them, and enjoy them, then you’ll be fine. If you want to go there to brag about what you just spent a ton of money on and don’t have any interest in learning about, then obviously there will be friction. However, you can choose to take that friction and laugh it off, or get combative. He chose the latter.

Anyways, pedantic ranting aside, let’s just call this what it really is. This is a story of a guy who spent 32 grand for his 15 minutes of fame. He’s not representitive of the arcade collecting/restoring community. He’s just like every other guy with expendable income who buys games to put in his place. Hell, I know a private collector who dedicated an entire floor to his arcade, and he has ~95 arcade machines on the floor up and running. Where’s the story for him? Nowhere. Know why? Because he’s not in it for the fame.

This kid overspent on his games, did pretty much no work on any of them, and had zero interest in learning anything about them. He is also known to have PAID people to come over and play games with him. Sorry, kid, but having money doesn’t make you special, no matter what you spend it on. He wasn’t really in this for the games, he was in this for the “I have cool shit” aspect, and fame he was able to get from his contacts. Let’s face it, without any contacts, he’d be low on the list of people Wired would approach as far as home arcades go. Hell, MY home arcade is more substantial, and I spent about a fifth of what he did. Considering all of that, I’m amazed that TIME magazine dubbed his home arcade as the best ever!!! What an absolute joke!

The real kicker here is that I was one of his supporters. I spoke in his defense when he mentioned the stuff about the wired article, but never read it when it was released. I had no idea he chose to paint the community in a shitty light, otherwise I’d have written this sooner. I’ve gotten shit from time to time from local collectors about having a bunch of JAMMA games in my collection instead of older titles, but that’s just a “to each their own” thing. Some people like older games, some like newer games. Don’t throw a fit online because someone disagrees with your preference for Fix it Felix or whatever. I don’t let game opinions bother me because they’re just that, opinions.

To Mr. Kooluris I would say this: You are not our spokesperson, no matter how much you’ve tried. I don’t care how viral that story goes (it’s been picked up across dozens of media outlets.). When all the shit is sifted through, you’re just a poser (regardless of what you think) with money and contacts, and people should know that. This wasn’t done for the hobby, this was done for your ego. You give those of us who really give a damn about the hobby a bad name and shitty image. Not all publicity is good publicity, and telling a story about how you threw some cabs in a room, which lead to your fiance losing you, is a pretty shitty image. If you wanted to help the community, why not suggest the story and interview different collectors? Instead we get a sensation-style piece about a guy with too much money who threw some globs of paint on the wall and called it art. You’re nothing more than a poser, my friend, like i-r()k from Ready Player One.

All of this makes me wish someone did a REAL story on arcade preservation, interviewing people who do restorations and collectors who’ve been at it for decades. We don’t need just one spokesperson here, we have a community. But, if we DID need one, this guy would NOT be it.


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16 responses to “The poser spokesman”

  1. Chris Kooluris says :

    This story, the story people around the world are reacting to is not about arcade preservation. It’s about how hobbies can go to far. It’s about how men and women don’t always see eye to eye on what’s important. It’s not AT ALL about preservation or KLOV. But I’d like to address something in your analysis that is completely false and completely inaccurate. That I am a poser.

    Why? Because I bought some games and spent more than most? My love for games wasn’t manufactured this year just to get some press. In fact, I spent my entire youth inside arcades. I grew up with a cabinet in my house when I was young. I even worked in the arcade / video game industry for almost 8 years. Poser? I’ve logged more hours gaming than anyone I know. Just because I don’t want to work on monitors and bondo wood doesn’t mean my love or appreciation for games is less than anyone else’s.

    And here’s the kicker. The haters on KLOV are all hypocrites. Is preserving games is the goal, than what is so wrong with a guy like me buying up restored games? That’s like saying a rich dude who collects cars is a poser and not a car enthusiast just because he didn’t put the cars back together himself. It’s no different.

    Also, the ONLY reason people care about this story is because of how my relationship ended. Do you really think I wanted my engagement to end just to get press? I’d rather have a healthy loving relationship any day over games or press. But what happened happened and it was a story they world can relate to.

    All over the world people have been sending me kind notes. There’s only one place that’s unhappy with me, and that’s KLOV…hmmmm….And you say I’ve given KLOV a bad name, painting its members as being hateful and mean. Let’s see, 35 page thread on me where people call me queer and gay. Why don’t you publicize that? I’m sure the media would love to expose the close minded nature of the community.

    You see, you guys need to believe your lies about me. That Kaneda is some gay poser who bought his way into this hobby and he doesn’t really care about games. But the truth is, I love games, always have, and yes, I admit I paid more than most, but who cares, it’s my money not yours. And I make good money because I know how to get press.

    I wish you guys over at KLOV all the luck. Must be a hard pill to swallow that this poser fag has people around the world excited about arcade games…And the only place that’s upset about this is the one place that should be happy the world is talking about arcades. Gosh, getting nuked by Kaneda, how does it feel?

    • Mr. Persona Non Grata says :

      I’ll try my best to address this in order. First, if this was all about your relationship and not about collecting, then why mention KLOV and call them out? Why bother talking about how they turned on you, so to speak?

      As far as being a poser, allow me to clarify. I’m not saying that you aren’t a gamer. I don’t think anyone who spends that much on games to fill such valuable real estate in their home could not be seen as a gamer. However, your portrayal in this makes you appear to be an “arcade guy”, and when it comes to that I stand by my initial assessment. You’re someone who bought a few machines, not an arcade guy. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not bashing your interest, as that’d make me the biggest hypocrite ever, but it’s the portrayal I’m referring to. Considering your background and job, you know well enough that the vast majority of people who read this story will associate you as such, and make a distinction between regular gamer and arcade person. While you claim the distinction between collector and preservationist (if that’s not a real word, it is now), but that’s not what is factoring into this entire thing. The story of how this hobby negatively impacted your personal life is not good press for the community. I’m not sure if you threw that angle in on purpose or not after getting burned at KLOV.

      As for the relationship thing, I’m sorry it didn’t work out. That being said, no I don’t think you wanted your engagement to end to get press. I DO think that you’re using that to capitalize on fame, and the arcade part was your angle. This was done for your own exposure, not that of the community. You just used that to have a better story. Who knows what actually happened between you two, but I’m willing to bet that throwing a few machines in a room isn’t what broke it in and of itself.

      As for the threads lately on KLOV, I’d be fine publicizing that, because it was of your own doing. Tons of people are on there, with newcomers every day. I was one of them not too long ago. I posted tons of stuff about being excited about the hobby, and technical stuff, and never had an issue. You know full well why things made a turn for the worse, so if I DID choose to do a story on that whole debacle, I’d put it in perspective and context. You made your bed, here, they’re just reacting as internet forums do. ALL internet forums. Sure, many of them are being tools about it, jumping on the flip flops or your voice or whatever. You gave them a flame target. That’s the internet. Welcome.

      I think I explained this as well as I could at this point, but I’ll sum up. It’s not that you overpaid for arcade games. Tons of people do, basically anyone buying cabs off of ebay. The issue is having a piece done that basically is saying “arcade collecting ruined my relationship”, as if it’s a Jerry Springer episode, and being portrayed as an arcade guy when you actually aren’t. Then taking pot-shots at the community because you weren’t able to deal with the people there. Like I’ve said, plenty of people come in and have no problems. I’m not sure what it is about your personality that made it not work, but you’re the common denominator there. Oh, and what you did isn’t exactly getting the world excited about arcade games, it’s showing that collecting has a big negative impact.

      Finally, getting nuked by Kaneda? Really? So you’re claiming this didn’t have anything to do with KLOV, yet it appears that this was definitely something included in the story to take a parting shot. We aren’t nuked, per se, just now some are slightly embarassed to mention being in the hobby because people are going to hear that and add a negative connotation to it. This isn’t a good thing. When it all comes down to it, you ran a story about how you fucked up a relationship, and blamed it on arcade collecting. If not for personal fame at our expense, then why would you do it?

      • Chris Kooluris says :

        Hey man, I wish all you KLOV guys the best of luck. I really do. The world is enjoying this story even if KLOV is not. My intentions were to tell a story about the room long before my relationship ended. That’s what the story became. From the hundreds of letters and notes I’ve been getting from all over the world, this story is not going to keep anyone from collecting, in fact, it’s inspired both men and women alike to live life on their terms. I just laugh because for some of you KLOV is everything. Get out…come to my arcade, have fun. There’s a lot more to your lives and my life than this story and these games. I’m gonna go enjoy it. I suggest you do the same. Love,


      • Mr. Persona Non Grata says :

        I don’t doubt it’s having a positive affect on some people, just not happy it’s done while also painting the arcade community as the villains, so to speak.

        That being said, I have no personal grudge against you and wish you no ill will. I agree, there is much more to life. Believe me, I’m not someone who thinks KLOV is everything, but I’m VERY passionate about the hobby, so anything that hurts it is something that affects me personally. I just disagree with your intentions and actions, that’s all. Enjoy the publicity stunt that this appears to be, and good luck with your future endeavors.

      • Mr. Persona Non Grata says :

        I’d just like to add that the money thing was an issue with some people because you threw your wealth in their face. Like with this post in response to someone who said they know wealthy people that don’t dress in extravagant clothing, and instead choose more sensible/affordable attire:

        Originally Posted by Kaneda
        You are a tool man. You have no friends, let alone millionaires who wear sweat pants to work. Are you rich? I bet you aren’t even middle class. Money avoids you like vaginas. So just leave, be white, fat, and a loser who collects games.

        Can’t imagine why the community had issues with you….

    • Pepto says :

      You love games, but you suck at playing them…correct. All the press you are getting is from people laughing at how XXXXX you are.

      • Mr. Persona Non Grata says :

        Please, no ad hominem attacks. While I don’t personally agree with what he did, that doesn’t give anyone the right to attack him personally. Leave that shit at home.

      • Chris Kooluris says :

        I challenge you to Street Fighter any day and we’ll see who sucks 🙂 I’ve always said my best games are fighting games, but I also love Donkey Kong, Tron and PunchOut! Even if I’m not that great at them.

      • Mr. Persona Non Grata says :

        I’d take you up on MvC. I haven’t played that against a real opponent in ages, so I lost a step.

        Don’t sweat Donkey Kong. The reason I don’t own one is because it’s just punishingly difficult, and I find it less than redeeming.

    • mcs says :

      Nobody really cares why you bought your games or how much you paid — we just get annoyed at attention whores (regardless of how much someone else is willing to pay them for being attention whores).

      Your pathetic attempts to generalize an entire community because of a few people who said mean things is just juvenile. If you want to be the kid who cries to mommy because someone was mean, so be it — just don’t expect to be respected for it.

      • Mr. Persona Non Grata says :

        I’d just like to add to this. He also claimed that KLOV was the only community to have a negative view of him, but from what I’ve seen he is viewed negatively on pinside and BYOAC as well. Much of it had to do with the fact that he bought his Fix it felix from someone in the community, and refused to finish paying for it. Supposedly they eventually worked it out, but only after a lot of pressure from the community.

  2. Pepto says :

    How about you bet all of your arcade cabinets against mine on a SF2 match. I’ll start making arrangements to have your games shipped to my home now.

  3. Fancy White Flip-Flops says :

    That’s the real message. You are perfectly normal. Accepting who you are, and being proud of who you are. Living life on your own terms…Some people have difficulty in accepting who they are, either because of personal or societal discomfort or pressure. Most people in the community know from experience that accepting yourself will lead to your becoming a happier, more open person.

  4. Mayunashi no Rei says :

    I always got irritated at your inability to start threads in the correct subforum.
    Acchh! That always seemed disrespectful of the rules and people who came before you.
    I was a big anime dork as a teen and certain mainstream shows/movies like akira make it hard for me to treat you like a person. I hear the name Kaneda, or find out you like ninja scroll or GITS, and a switch flips. Ugh…

    • Mr. Persona Non Grata says :

      Not for nothing, but I happen to like GITS, Akira, and Ninja Scroll as well. Does that mean you can’t treat me like a person? I like other anime too, like Ranma, HSotD, FMA, etc. Some of us grew up with those as our gateway drug to anime, what’s so horrible about liking it?

      I do agree with the forum stuff, though. That’s a big reason people got turned off to him in the first place. That, and his attitude, since he came off super obnoxious.

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