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Forgotten & broken down Soviet-era arcade games are now being restored for Moscow’s newest museum

David Goran

The Museum of Soviet Arcade Machines is a private interactive historical museum, where is presented a unique collection of more than 50 mid-1980s playable arcade machines from the Soviet Union. Most of the arcade games still work while some are getting restored.

The museum was founded by three enthusiasts, they collected arcade machines from the former Soviet Union, removed them with love and care so they can be played. The collection continues to grow constantly. The first Museum of the Soviet Arcade Machines was opened in Moscow in 2007, it had a great success among Moscow citizens and foreign visitors who found there exactly what they are looking for: exciting time machines.

Entrance of the museum in Moscow.

The entrance. source

 

A very unique collection of arcade machines that were released in the USSR in the ’70s.

Very unique collection of arcade machines that were released in the USSR in the ’70s. Source: Jason Eppink/Flickr 

 

Two-player multi-sports game

Two-player multi-sports game. Source: Jason Eppink/Flickr

In 1975, USSR’s Ministry of Culture started to reproduce adapted copies of American and Japanese arcade machines. This was followed by locally made machines like ‘Pepka’ (the Turnip) and ‘Konyok-Gorbunok’ (the Little Humpacked Horses) based on Russian fairy tales of the same names. The Moscow Museum became so popular that one was not enough and two more museums were founded – in St. Petersburg and in Kazan. The museum contains a mix of working and defunct arcade machines, and it’s now the largest public collection of mid-1970s arcade games manufactured in the Soviet Union.

The museum's collection consists of more than 50 different types of slot machines in working condition.

The museum’s collection consists of more than 50 different types of slot machines in working condition. Source: Jason Eppink/Flickr

 

The arcade video game Magistral displayed in the museum.

The arcade video game Magistral displayed in the museum. source

 

An elaborate version of Snake

An elaborate version of Snake. Source: Jason Eppink/Flickr

 

Racing game, a knock-off of the Kee (Atari) Indy 4; An electromechanical Duck Hunt

Racing game, a knock-off of the Kee (Atari) Indy 4; An electromechanical Duck Hunt. Source: Jason Eppink/Flickr

At that time, only military factories had the technological know-how to create arcade machines. 22 military factories made machines for the whole Union and many of the machines have been sitting since the 1970s when they were built in secret during Perestroika. There were more than 100 different types of arcade machines. After the Soviet Union collapsed, the production stopped and the computer era had something new to offer, so these machines were broken, sold for details, forgotten.

Most of the games test your shooting or driving skills.

Most of the games test your shooting or driving skills. Source: antjeverena/Flickr

Arcade Games were a part of childhood and youth of Soviet people. They were made at secret military factories from the seventies up to the Perestroika. Forgotten and broken down Soviet-era arcade games are now being restored for Moscow’s newest museum and now it is possible to play and feel atmosphere of the passed epoch. Around 20 of 37 different kinds of machines are now in working order. They operate with old Soviet 15 kopek coins, the hammer-and-sickle emblem of which itself conjures up a bygone time. (The Museum of Soviet Arcade Machines).

Morskoi Boi (Sea Battle) The most popular Soviet arcade machine; and two-player periscope game

Morskoi Boi (Sea Battle) The most popular Soviet arcade machine; and two-player periscope game. Source: Jason Eppink/Flickr

 

Pastoral shooting game; Magistral (Highway) racing game

Pastoral shooting game; Magistral (Highway) racing game. Source: Jason Eppink/Flickr

In the 21st century, three young people got an idea to create a museum to save the machines for future generations. So forgotten and broken down Soviet-era arcade machines are now being restored for Museum of Soviet Arcade Machines and now it is possible to play and feel the atmosphere of childhood and youth of the Soviet nation.

Victorina a traffic sign matching game

Victorina – a traffic sign matching game. Source: Jason Eppink/Flickr

 

Gorodki - based on a children's game where you arrange sticks in different patterns and try to knock them down

Gorodki – based on a children’s game where you arrange sticks in different patterns and try to knock them down. Source: Jason Eppink/Flickr

 

Basketball the ball is moved with puffs of air

Basketball – the ball is moved with puffs of air. Source: Jason Eppink/Flickr

Founded in 2007, the Museum continues to grow. Guests can throw the old Soviet coin and try their luck at games such as “Battleship“, “Sea Battle“ “Safari“, “Sniper“, “Tank Battle“, basketball, pinball, earliest video games “Race“, “Gorodki“ and others. The museum is open to the public seven days a week as a functioning arcade.