Arcade games from Soviet Russia

We’re in St Petersburg, and yesterday we played soviet era arcade games, with kopeks & everything!

Unsurprisingly, the 1983~1990 games looked like our 1975~1983 games. There were a LOT of electro-mechanical games. Even in 1985-1990, few were actually electronic “video” games. And there was a surprising number of military games (sniper, torpedo, tank buster). A few fairy tale or sports ones, but mostly military.

They also had basically no game design either. Most were “point, press button” kind of games. One of those electro-mechanical games, for example, was a sniper setup that had you shoot 20 targets with 20 bullets… but there was no timer. So if you managed to get all (very easy to do after a few tries), that was it. No ranking possible, even among friends keeping score (unless you had someone with a stop watch keeping track, I suppose). Understandable of course; the way these came to be was likely people (don’t ask me who) getting super rare imported western games years after their release. They would try to copy them with very little context or understanding of how things had evolved in the field…

Anyway, it was a really interesting dive into this unlikely “industry”. If you ever go to St Petersburg, go check it out!




February 22nd, 2017