I enjoy some of the bizarre museums that exist these days but this must be one of the most specific. It houses arcade machines that were made in the Soviet Union in the mid-1970s – so about forty years ago.
Many of the machines were restored having been found abandoned and unloved in old arcades, landfills and junkyards. One of the displays, for instance, was made from three badly damaged ones.
There’s something mildly spooky about seeing these machines that once brought pleasure to the youth of the USSR. The graphics on the machines and their boxy designs hallmark them not only as artifacts from another era but also of their Soviet Union origins.
Most of the machines are in working order and visitors to the museum are given coins so that they can play. This is an interactive museum in the best possible way.
The creepy side to all this though is that the machines were built with training in mind. The idea was that players weren’t just passing the time and having fun, they were learning skills that would help them – and the country – reflexes, marksmanship, accuracy and coordination that would be useful for members of the military to have.
The machines were manufactured in military facilities.
Although machines from the rest of the world were used as inspiration for the games, the makers had to change the characters featured. Instead of the characters they saw in machines from other countries, they replaced them with figures from Russian folk tales and legends.
They were also required to give young people ideas for their future jobs for those who didn’t go into the military world.
WHERE IS THE MUSEUM?
The Museum of Soviet Arcade Machines
Superstar Moscow, ул.
Кузнецкий Мост, 12,
JJ is originally from the UK and has lived in South Florida since 1994. She is the founder and editor of JAQUO Magazine. You can connect with her using the social media icons below.