Peter Hirschberg's Private Arcade
By James Grahame
If I ever start to obsessively collect things, I'll make a conscious effort to choose something small like vacuum tubes or flash memory cards. I definitely won't choose arcade machines, because it would take only a year or two to completely fill my basement.
Peter Hirschberg and family recently faced this very problem (you might remember his brilliant LEDhead handheld game emulator and Vertibird simulator from past posts). While he could have restricted himself to a collection of vintage Mattel handhelds, Hirschberg started buying and restoring classic arcade machines from the 1980s.
His collection eventually overran the basement and his kids' former playroom. In a desperate quest to reclaim the house and avoid cocktail game cabinets in the dining room, Peter and his wife Julie did what any average Generation-X couple would do -- they built a separate 2-story 2400 square foot building and dubbed it Luna City Arcade. Heck, it even had its own blog to document the construction process.
Luna City features authentic "arcade style" carpet and lighting, along with literally hundreds of vintage gaming posters from Hirschberg's collection. It certainly qualifies as one of the largest private collections in the USA, and I can imagine losing myself in this place for hours on end.
The collection now numbers almost 70 arcade standups including must-have classics like Asteroids, Defender, Pac-Man, Tron, Galaga and eight pinball machines including Gottlieb's magnificent Black Hole. I am in awe and can only imagine the number of hours invested into restoring and maintaining these magnificent machines.