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The Soviet Arcade Museum

December 30, 2018
Museums

Last Updated on

It’s no secret that traveling with small children can be complicated. Long lines, strangers on the bus, and droning history can all make kids feel like they’re still in school, and not on vacation. When children get bored and tired, they start misbehaving; when children misbehave, everyone struggles.

Our child friendly tours offer well-balanced tailored tours of St. Petersburg that let the adults see St. Petersburg while keeping the little ones and yourself entertained.

These itineraries are completely customizable, though there are two interactive museums which we highly recommend for everyone, not just children. These museums are “Grand Maket Russia”, the second largest miniature layout display in the world, and The Museum of Soviet Arcade Machines. In this article, we’ll focus on the Soviet Arcade museum.

’15 kopeks’: The Museum of Soviet Arcade Machines (The Soviet Arcade Museum)

If you are feeling nostalgic and would like to spend time with the kids in an amazing museum, this is the best choice for you. Though they call themselves a “museum” it’s more like a functioning arcade with vintage machines.

When you visit the Soviet Arcade museum, you can be sure that you’re playing the original vintage Soviet-era arcade games no modern copies are allowed in the museum!

The Arcade Museum’s History

The Soviet Arcade Museum is one of the most unique museums of St. Petersburg and has only been open since 2007. This interactive museum was founded by enthusiasts who wanted to revive these legendary arcade games for future generations. The museum’s “exhibits” were collected throughout the country, carefully restored, and put on display.

The first Soviet Arcade museum (officially, The Museum of Soviet Arcade Machines) was founded in Moscow. Due to it’s huge popularity, they decided to open two more locations. One of these locations is just steps away from the Church of the Savior on Blood in central St. Petersburg.

Interior of The Museum of Soviet Arcade Machines in Russia
Museum of Soviet Arcade machines (photo credit jasoneppink | license: Creative Commons)

Video Games in the Soviet Union

In the USSR arcade machines first started appearing in the 1970’s, in place of American and Japanese arcade machines. Throughout the country, 22 military factories created about 100 different kinds of arcade games up to 1991.

Children supporting their friend playing the “Sea battle”

Engineers used the latest technology and the newest electronics, therefore arcade machines were extremely expensive. At the time, the price for one arcade machine cost about as much as a new car. In the Soviet Union, arcade machines were commonplace- you could find them in parks, hotels, cinemas, train stations, and other places.

To pay for a game, players would insert 15 kopeks (15 cents of a Russian Ruble) or a special token into the slot. When you won, you weren’t awarded coins, tokens, or tickets back. The most you could hope for with a victory is additional game time. This way, players didn’t form “unhealthy addictions” and lose big sums of money.

After the fall of Soviet Union, the production of arcade games stopped. All the games were dismantled, sold for parts or simply thrown out. Minting of 15 kopek coins ceased, so the currency used to pay the old machines became less commonplace. Eventually technology became dated, as did the arcade game fad.

Nowadays, the desire to play Soviet Arcade machines is returning. In 2010, the first national Soviet Arcade game championship was help and it still continues today.

Soviet Arcade Museum in St. Petersburg

When you arrive, you will be given a pouch of vintage coins when you arrive, which you’ll use to play the vintage arcade games.

You (and the kids) will be transported to another decade while you enjoy the museum’s collection of more than 50 arcade machines from 1970’s and 1980’s.

Interior of Soviet Arcade Museum in St Petersburg Russia

These machines were the absolute best inventions of the time and included games such as: “Highway”, “Sniper”, “Sea battle”, ”Safari”, ”Basketball”, “Table Football”, and others. Though they might not be familiar titles, you’ll likely find ones that are similar to the ones you know from back home.

After playing, take a moment to visit the 1973 photo booth and drink a glass of soda from the 1960’s soda machine.

Try The Soviet Arcade Museum for Yourself

As we mentioned, this museum allows you to play with these pieces of history not only in person, in St. Petersburg. But, they have also created a digital version of one of their arcade cabinets, “Sea Battle”, which you can play right now, on their website: http://morskoy-boy.15kop.ru/en/.

They also have photos of the mechanical innards of the arcade cabinet, to give a peek at just how far technology has come.

We offer the Soviet Arcade museum as an option in our “Kid-Friendly tour” and our “Night Out on the Town” evening option. If you would like to arrange a tour to this wonderful museum or just have questions, please contact us using the information on our ‘Contact Us’ page, and we’ll happily assist you.

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