Ever have one of those moments when you realize that someone else is living out one of your childhood dreams? I had one of those moments when I read about Peter Hirschberg and his private 80’s arcade:
Finally, after a couple of years, a pile of money, and a struggle or two with contractors and local building regulations, Luna City Arcade is complete.
Missile Command, Space Invaders, Defender, Asteroids, Q*bert—all the old pizza parlor favorites are here, chirping away with the same old sounds and waiting for a quarter. Luna City, as he calls it, is Hirschberg’s personal time capsule: The walls of the 60- by 40-foot building are lined with posters for “Star Wars,” “Tron” and “Battlestar Galactica” (the original series, not the recent remake). The collection is up to 65 games at the moment, and another three are on the way.
“This is what heaven looks like,” said Hirschberg, as he welcomed a small group of my friends and me to his recent unofficial grand opening, where about 50 of his friends and co-workers, and their kids, showed up to play.
Yes, this is what I dreamed of doing back in my teens hanging out with friends at the local Aladdin’s Castle or the arcade known as Area Code 313. I swore that someday I’d have my own personal arcade stocked with the hottest games and reserved for me and my buddies to hang out in. To date I own exactly one full-size arcade machine, the venerable Crazy Climber, and that sits in the basement of my parent’s house because I don’t have a house of my own yet to put it in. It still works just fine, though, and I still suck at it.
Truth is I’d probably not bother with building a whole arcade for myself these days. These days I’m more inclined to wire up my basement to hold LAN parties in, once I get a basement that is, as that would actually take a lot less money and still result in quite a bit of the same camaraderie and wasted afternoons. Still I can remember when this was my dream so I’ll take comfort in the idea that someone out there has realized it.