SDCC 2009: Tron Legacy and Flynn’s Arcade

One of the big trailer reveals at Nerd Prom 2009 was TRON LEGACY (the artist formerly known as TR2N). Feast your eyes on the virtual insanity:

(If that footage didn’t give you a nerdgasm, then you simply have no joy in your soul.)

But the trailer wasn’t the only Tron related goodness happening in San Diego. There was also the re-opening of Flynn’s Arcade. Hidden in the streets of downtown San Diego – open for one weekend only! – was a recreation of the arcade hangout from the 1982 sci-fi classic.

The arcade, however, wasn’t simply promoted on the floor of the Con. Instead, there was a long and windy road to uncovering this underground nerd-vana.

The game started with the distribution of gifs to assorted movie websites (along with physical tokens to Flynn’s Arcade). Somewhere between four to five gifs were spread out amongst the fan community, each containing unique lines of code. When these lines of code were put together, they formed… gibberish.

Upon studying the complied code, people began to figure out that it contained a substitution cipher, where various symbols would translate into different letters(i.e., $=h, !=t, and so on). After some quick cryptography, the gibberish was revealed to be html code for a website that didn’t exist.

But once the code was used to construct the website, it pointed people to visit Flynn Lives, a website filled with conspiracy theories and documents attempting to track down the elusive Kevin Flynn.

Then on Comic Con weekend, the site directed fans to gather at a specific location on Thursday, Friday and Saturday night. There, people were provided with maps, paper, and blacklights. They were told that there were three FLYNN LIVES posters hidden in the area and that each of these posters held clues to solving the mystery. It turned out that each of the posters contained coordinates that directed people to the hidden location of Flynn’s Arcade.

The arcade itself was a late-70s, early-80′s wonderland. Journey and Michael Jackson blared over the soundsystem. You could enjoy freeplay on a bevy of classic arcade games, ranging from TEMPEST to CENTIPEDE to the classic TRON arcade game. There was even an air hockey table. But most importantly, you could actually play this bad boy:

That’s right. SPACE MOTHERF’N PARANOIDS – the fictional game created by Jeff Bridges in the original film. I’ve wanted to play this machine ever since my young eyes were first entranced by the bright neon world of TRON. And play it I did.

But rather than bore you with more descriptions, we present this footage of the interior of Flynn’s Arcade, courtesy of our friends at the Mep Report (who were out with us that evening).

After ten or twenty minutes, the lights suddenly started flickering on and off. Suddenly, a set of double doors opened in the back of the room, revealing a long black hallway. Once I realized that I was the last person left in the room, I tore myself away from the SPACE PARANOIDS machine and made my way through. Inside the hallway, I was greeted by multiple posters displaying concept art for TRON LEGACY.

Then, as I turned the last corner, I came face-to-face with a prop model of the new lightcycle (which I’m told is the only one in existence).

I’m sure part of my glee stems from the incredibly immersive evening that I enjoyed, but the above photo doesn’t do justice to how amazing it looked in person. It was simply beautiful.

But just because you weren’t there, it doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the glory. WE’LL FIX IT IN POST is running a contest to give away a FLYNN LIVES t-shirt (size Large) and a couple of Flynn’s Arcade tokens! To enter, simply leave a comment in this thread with your favorite Tron memory. We’ll do a drawing on August 4th and the winner will receive this sweet prize package. Good luck!

And keep your eyes on WE’LL FIX IT IN POST for updates on when the next stage of the Kevin Flynn saga begins to unfold.


  1. MJ

    My friend spent a summer working at Ben & Jerry's in a small beach town. After a long day of scooping Chubby Hubby for sandy kids, he and his co-workers made lemon daiquiris to drink while they cleaned up the shop. One of his co-workers was cleaning up around the waffle iron, which they use to make delicious homemade waffle cones. Someone had left a waffle in the waffle iron all day,

  2. When I was I kid my mom used to take us to a Dairy Queen. The best thing there was a Tron Arcade system. I remember begging my mom for quarters after finishing my food. Good Times.

  3. I think my fave memory is reading the novelization of the film when I was in my mid-twenties and discovering the existence of the deleted-from-the film love scene between Yuri and Tron (this was prior to the DVD release… I'd never heard about the scene on laserdisc).

    It made me realize that while the film was from my childhood, there were likely other aspects of it that I would

  4. My earliest memory of Tron is my father waking me up at like 2am to watch it with him when I was a kid. My brain was like wtf this is awesome lol.

  5. I'm part of the younger generation, so I never got to be a part of this Tron hype. I remember going on some forums and seeing the Tron Guy cosplay/costume when he first made that costume. After that I finally watched the movie. This is my sad Tron memory… =[

  6. My favorite TROM memories were from playing the TRON games on my Intellivision. Mind you, I was born in 1980, so I'm not even sure when I started playing the games – in particular, TRON: Deadly Discs. That game rocks. Need an online version. :)

  7. B

    My aunt had just bought her first VHS machine and she promised to let us watch Return of the Jedi. When we got to the drugstore/soda shop/rental place (it was a small town) Jedi was checked out. Instead we got Tron and a gallon of Bluebell ice cream. I knew nothing about the movie going in and it blew me away. When I eventually saw Jedi I was disappointed that it wasn't as bad ass as Tron!

  8. You are the lucky SOB ever. I would have loved to have been there. I used to watch the movie weekly. My VHS tape started to get the lines in it from over use.

  9. I think my favourite Tron memory was immediately pulling out my Sinclair Spectrum straight after watching it and, in the wake of seeing how cool making games was, worked out through sheer trial and error how to change the colour of the aliens in Space Invaders. I thought I was a total genius and proceeded to flash this off to everyone I knew, and believed that in 20 years time I would be the new

  10. I'll never forget the awesome feeling I got when my next door neighbor first showed me his new Tron action figure and lightcycle. The toys were truly amazing, and are still quite underrated to this day. When I saw the iconic lightcycle in this post the memories came rushing back. Tron Legacy will be amazing.

  11. I remember my young self being enthralled by the technical wizardry on screen. It blew my mind, and I am glad that the universe is being cared for again.

  12. Tron was the first movie I ever saw. It ranks up there in my heart with Back to the Future and Jurassic Park as my all-time favorite films.

    I really wish I could have been in San Diego for Comic Con this year. I had to cancel my CC plans abruptly.

  13. b

    I'd have to say my favorite memory was a friend of mine getting the DVD the weekend before release, then throwing an impromptu video party. About 10 of us showed up, bringing pizza, beer, jager, and chips. Great times.

  14. Tron has always been one of my favorite arcade games. It consumed many quarters from me. I'd love to get one for my personal arcade at home. I remember people in the arcade going "What is pascal and why does the top of the cone say it?" or "Why does it say RPG now?". Being able to have some inside knowledge that they didn't was always fun for me. As a bonus,

  15. Foxdave

    I was a little too young to see Tron in the theater when it came out, but I remember when we rented the video. It was 1985 and for some reason we had been renting lots of Jeff Bridges movies, including Starman. When we got around to Tron, it was an amazing experience. It was so different from anything else I had ever seen before.

    I'm so jealous that some people got to actually

  16. c

    My family rented Tron on VHS about 20 times when I was a kid. We probably should have just bought it. I remember that even my mom loves the movie.

    The existence of Tron Legacy basically proves that love is real.

  17. sippycupz

    Awesome! My favorite TRON memory… just the first time Flynn entered TRON in the movie. I loved how crazy and unique the movie was after that, I was mesmerized. To be honest, I just saw the movie a year or two ago. I literally just slapped myself for waiting that long to see it, so you don't have to! It's one of my favorite movies now. Thanks for the contest guys and can't wait for

  18. I am really looking forward to Tron Legacy. I had a lot of fond memories of Tron growing up. I was 6 when it hit the theaters, and it really fueled my interest in computers. I remember my cousin and I getting Frisbees and playing our own disc games. Good times.

  19. I remember discovering the movie on the Disney channel (back in the 80's when the Disney channel was still cool). I'd watch it every single time they aired it, which was a LOT. Never could get enough of it. :)

  20. My experience with TRON has been sporadic until 2 nights ago. I heard of the movie years ago, never got around to watching it aside from a tiny clip or 2, I remembering hearing great things about it at a job I worked at when the DVD was first released but I passed it by. I played through the Tron world in Kingdom Hearts II and eventually purchased the DVD sometime after KH II was released but

  21. I am a big fan of Tron and recently enjoyed it again as it was being riffed by Jonathan Coulton and Paul & Storm. Tron and Discs of Tron (especially the environmental version) are two of my all-time favorite arcade games. I can't wait for the new movie to come out! Looks like it could be awesome!

  22. My favorite TRON memories are watching the movie, of course. I also rmember standing on a chair while playing the arcade games. Being a so young at the time, I probably lasted like 45 seconds per quarter, but I loved the franchise.

  23. I freakin' love Tron. It was the first movie that really blew my mind with special effects. I can't wait to see what they can do now with such high production values.

    I'd also love to win that Flynn Lives t-shirt.

  24. My favorite Tron-related memory is taking my wife to see it at a "midnight movie" showing at a local theater a few years back. And, of course, the remastered DVD release, the original video games, and the inevitable Blu-Ray release.

    If only I'd been there for Space Paranoids… I'm jealous as hell right now.

  25. ThePatchman

    Tron is such an amazing film, I am so glad there is finally a sequel! That shirt would be really awesome to have! I need a new nerd shirt.

  26. When I was a kid, TRON was by far one of my favorite and most viewed movies. My friends and I used to carry around frisbees to randomly stop at streams and drink water from and throw at each other in an attempt to derez. I had the BEST light blue, glow in the dark one, which made me the coolest kid on the block.

  27. My fav memory of TRON was being taken to the movies (the first real movie I went to a theater to watch). Before that…I had only seen pure animated movies. This was also the first movie my dad ever took me to.

  28. Avi

    Watching Tron with my dad and brother after we got our first VCR. I don't know how many times we rewatched it, but we might try to beat that record before TL comes out!

  29. I actually never saw tron until I played Kingdom Hearts 2 and then was wondering what Disney movie the Tron-inspired world was from…led me to watch the movie!

  30. Anonymous

    Tron was a great movie, and I enjoyed the Tron game back when arcades still were around. That is awesome seeing Space Paranoids actually being played.

  31. Anonymous

    last week our class held a similar talk about this topic and you point out something we haven't covered yet, appreciate that.

    - Kris

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