Ever play the video game Turnip Strength Tester? How about Winter Hunt or Little Structures? All of these—and more—can be found in the basement of a small university outside of Moscow that hosts the remarkable Museum of Soviet Arcade Machines.
The Soviets produced 70 different video games based on early Japanese designs, from the late ’70s to the early ’90s. Married couple Anjel Van Slyke and Connal Hughes recently visited (after being inspired by an article in Wired), and reported back on their experience, providing terrific photographs. The 20-year-old games themselves are different in shape than their Western counterparts (“hulking consoles that looked like they were designed with the same sense of fun that an engineer would use to construct a hospital waiting room”), but the relics themselves are fascinating. (Trivia: Not a one keeps a high-score list). “Even the best photos can’t do it justice as they don’t capture the atmosphere, which was perfect,” writes Hughes. “As soon as you walk in you feel like you’ve discovered some secret bunker of fun and we were little kids who couldn’t wait to start trying everything.”
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