Arcades used to be a popular way to pass the time way back in the days. Now, at least in Russia, they are not easy to find since media and internet culture almost monopolised the entertainment sphere. Despite this, many people still remember the soviet arcade machines fondly. For those of you who never encountered them or simply want to refresh your memory, here is a list of most popular soviet electronic games.
1. Morskoi Boi (Sea Battle)
The name of this arcade is pretty self-explanatory. It allows you to take part in an actual sea battle. The cool thing about it is that you get to gaze through the authentic looking periscope and adjust it. Just like in an actual submarine!
When a player looks through this periscope, they see calm blue waters of a sea framed by sharp mountain peaks. On the horizon enemy ships menacingly move from one side to the other. You have one job – to sink them releasing powerful torpedoes. If you hit the target, the whole marine landscape darkens dramatically and your enemy bursts into flames.
Of course the visual effects are rather basic but it brings this sweet feeling of nostalgia we all sometimes need.
2. Magistral’ (Main Lane)
The screen greets you with a pixelated image of a man that looks suspiciously like a modern hipster with glasses, beard and beanie. Intriguing already, right? When you start it you see that it is a simulation of a race.
The idea is simple, you should get to the finish first in order to win. The car moves pretty fast and you have to be quick enough to avoid collision with other vehicles on your way. The game has different settings, so to spice things up you can choose race, nighttime, or icy road mode.
You can play alone against the computer or with another person against each other.
3. Avtoralli (Rally)
It’s another car race arcade but unlike Magistral it’s more about precision and patience.
In this game you’ll be trying to drive your vehicle to an exact spot on the playing field. The screen is dotted with little flags and when one starts blinking you should try to ride over it. The person who hits more of these stops till the time runs out, wins!
It’s better to play it with a friend, otherwise the process of idly riding around the flags might seem a little too sad.
4. Gorodki (Townlets)
Almost every soviet child played the game of gorodki in their yard. Kids arranged wooden clubs in certain figures and then tried to knock them out by throwing a bat at the structure. The more fell the better! Kind of like in bowling.
There is, apparently, an electronic version of this popular activity. The principle is the same, you have to launch a bat at the figures. The definite plus of the arcade is that a bat won’t accidentally hit someone’s face leaving a charming black eye (as it was known to happen when you play gorodki in real life).
5. Zimnyaya Okhota (Winter Hunt)
Probably one of the trickiest soviet arcades to play.
It’s big screen depicts a very Russian view: a lot of snow, pine trees and birches. Right at the bottom of it hangs a rifle that you’ll use. It shoots rays of light, so it is completely safe even in a crowded space. When the game starts, little glowing figures of animals start moving around the forest. Each perfect shot will score you exactly 10 points. Sounds easy, right? When you get to it though, you realise how hard it is to actually hit the targets. The tiny animals move way too fast!
6. Soda Water Machine
Although it’s not really an arcade game, these soda machines were very common in the USSR. They are truly one of the symbols of it’s time. The principle is simple. You drop a coin, pick your favourite flavour, and the machine fills a glass with bubbly soda.
If you would like to play any of the arcade games mentioned above, you can still do this in a couple of places in Russia. All of this machines can be found in Saint Petersburg and Moscow, in the Museum of Soviet Arcade Machines. Their addresses are Moscow, Kuznecky most, 12 and Saint Petersburg, Konyushennaya sq., 2b.