Peter Hirschberg has just finished his stunning retro-gaming heaven, a Valhalla for the best arcade video games ever. His Luna City Arcade has 57 fully-restored arcade classics, which span from Asteroids to Zaxxon, plus a whole load of pinballs. Amazingly enough, he does all this on his own dime, for the love of it. It's open to the public now, and the best thing: entrance and quarters are completely free. Check the video, huge gallery and the interview with Peter after the jump.
Jesús Díaz: Stunning museum, Peter. When was it completed?
Peter Hirschberg: The building was completed just a couple weeks ago. I'm still working on the inside a bit, but it was good enough to have my first Game Day over there. The building is 60'x40', with 12' ceilings. There's a bathroom and a finished upstairs. The outside matches the house, with cedar siding and stonework around the bottom.
The electrical system was a pretty interesting aspect of the building. We had two 400amp breaker panels installed, along with commercial-grade wiring, to handle the load of all the games (our entire house is only 200amps). Between the gameroom and the house, we are using an entire outdoor transformer.
JD: Is there any admission fee or could people just get in and spend quarters on the machines?
PH: Nope, totally free. I insist that people use the quarters I provide. The change machines are set to dispense quarters for free. My rules are "don't use your own money" and "don't take my money home with you."
JD: What's your crown jewel, your fave arcade of them all?
PH: It would be a tie between Discs of Tron, Tail Gunner, Space War and Lunar Lander.
JD: And what's the public's favourite, what machine sees the most traffic?
PH: The favourite game among visitors would probably be Galaga. The only reason I got that game was because people kept harassing me for not having it. I don't really like the game that much. Star Wars is another really big favourite among guests.
JD: Do you think there are any modern games that capture the feeling of the classics?
PH: I like the game Echoes, and Geometry Wars. Back in the heyday of the arcade, Geometry Wars is what we thought arcade games would look like in 20 years. It's the first game since the '80s that I can play and not feel dirty.
JD: What's your favourite home gaming system?
PH: I like the Wii since it has that childlike innocence that I miss in game systems. I don't play it that much. It's pretty much just for the kids. But I do like playing Geometry Wars on it. The control scheme is pretty interesting.
JD: Do you receive donations from any big companies to maintain the machines or is it just you and friends?
PH: I wish! This whole thing was financed entirely on my own nickle. Any big companies out there? This is your chance to sponsor me!
Indeed. Hopefully all those dirty rich EAs and Microsofts of this world could spare some of their own quarters in helping Peter with this amazing effort. In the meantime, if you want to help him, contact him at his page. [Peter Hirschberg]