According to Wired, 32/70 of the world’s only video games ever built or played in the Soviet Union have been unearthed and are now on display in an old bunker at Moscow State Technical University called the Museum of Soviet Arcade Machines. Supposedly during their use (70’s – 90’s), most games cost 15 kopeks to play (like 15 cents, not including exchange rate). They had mechanical score counters like older pinball machines, but they didn’t track high scores – it wouldn’t have fit the Soviet model.
Here is the gallery of games. From pong-like to graphics more on the level of Donkey Kong, they resemble games we had in the U.S. mostly in the early 80’s. One is called “Sniper-2” and still has a large rifle-like gun attached. Most of those shown in the gallery had a military angle, like “Dogfight”.
It will be interesting to see how long it takes for video game emulators to take shape and multi-game boxes to develop with these games in them once students get a chance to take them apart and develop code emulators. Although as a kid who grew up with pinball machines and an Apple II in my house, playing an emulator game – even in an arcade type shell – still isn’t quite the same as the original. The muscle memory just isn’t there with different controls. The nostalgia still remains though.
I think when I return to Mockba (Moscow) one of these days, I may have to visit this little museum. For Bay Area locals who want to play old arcade games, check out the arcade at the Boardwalk in Santa Cruz.