ASCII by Jason Scott

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Face to Face with Luna City —

I’ve been mentioning Peter Hirschberg and his arcade for some time now, as well as his other projects. All positively, I might add. And by positively, I’m using that as a shortcut for “drooling incessantly over how much style he exudes in everything he does”. It’s really just a great thing to know guys like this are in the world.

So during my planning for Shmoocon, I realized that I’d be relatively nearby where his arcade is, and that, with my rental car, I could probably go there and back without too much trouble. So I brought this up with Peter and he was all for it.

In doing this, I had to sacrifice a little bit of my time at Shmoocon; a real shame, because I really do enjoy these things. But come on, I’ve been following this guy for a decade and here was my big chance to meet him for the first time, as well as see in person his big project. So grabbing a few random attendees (Dan and Nick), we set out for the sixty-or-so-mile trip out West to where Luna City is.

Something’s definitely up with me, energy-wise, so Nick ended up having to drive a bit of it. (Additionally, on the way back, everyone got to see me tiredly swerve in a highway, so it was thrills all around). We got there around 8pm, and wouldn’t you know, Peter and his wife had the whole thing up and running beautifully to greet us.

As promised, I bought my collection of vintage quarters, which Peter is of course loathe to go down the road of. He is just as likely to go for adding tokens, so that people not only can play the games and he doesn’t have to worry about stuff, but they could be souvenirs for their time spent at Luna City.

And make no mistake, Luna City is the sort of place you carry memories of for some time afterwards. It’s almost a temple, a place of worship, for arcade games. It’s the cleanest, nicest arcade you’ve ever been in, because it’s been created from the ground up on the template of all the classic 1970s and 1980s arcades that flourished around video games and pinball machines. It’s futuristic, yet of the past. It is otherworldly, yet as familiar as a favorite dream. Peter and I discussed this place for a while, and I think what I was trying to get across was how for many people out there, he’s achieved their dream too. In other words, the fact that someone, somewhere, did this represents for others a vicarious triumph of their own dream. A lot of people wanted something like this, and he did it.

I forsee myself coming back many times, if only to get better pictures! The ones I took were sub-par, mostly me playing around a bit when not talking to Peter (we had a decade to catch up on, after all) or playing a few games. It’s been a long time since I touched a working Space Wars cabinet, and Peter indulged me a few games. In fact, the last time I’d touched a Space Wars was 1979!

This City has a great future. Feel free to browse my uneven photo album that I took there.

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  1. I live right next to the last arcade I know of in my area, and it’s really a shadow of what it used to be… sigh.

    But now what I’m wondering is what’s the story behind the stacks of Simon in the pics ??

  2. Chaz says:

    Outstanding shirt.

    I can’t get enough of reading about this please; he really has done a special thing.

    What’s with the enormous pile of “Simon Says”?