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Soviet Arcade Games from the 70s and 80s (arcadeblogger.com)
256 points by videotopia on June 15, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 35 comments

Wow this brings back childhood memories! I played several of those and “Sea Battle” was my favourite. :) I think it was the physicality of the controls - I can still remember the smell of the rubber on that periscope! The actual gameplay was very primitive, very much in line with some of the Flash games that were so popular in the past on the web.

I also had a handheld “game console” which was a one-game thing with an LCD with 4 buttons that would move a wolf character out of a famous cartoon to the 4 corners of the screen to catch falling eggs.

This “handheld game console” is in fact a complete clone of Nintendo Game & Watch. :)

Probably from Elektronika, maybe you can recognize it from here: https://www.gameandwatch.ch/en/faq-questions-answers/game-wa...

Oh yeah, that’s the one! :) “Nu Pogodi” is the one I had.

During my recent visit to Saint Petersburg, I visited the Museum of Soviet Arcade Games, and I would highly recommend all the games to everybody who is interested in the games! In case you are in the city, it's one of my top 5 places to visit, at least if you are interested in games. I went there alone, but I would highly recommend bringing a friend, as some of the games are designed for two players, and it's far more fun to play with a friend than a random stranger.

My favorite games were Sniper and Sniper 2, but I would recommend trying everything.

Similar museum trip in Moscow in ... 2011? 2013? I think Sniper was a fave until I tried Gorodki. :)

EDIT: http://game-game.com/32102/

Also, morskoi boy: http://morskoy-boy.15kop.ru/en/ and flash version: http://morskoy-boy.15kop.ru/en/game/

OMG, i will definitely put my hands on any game, arcade or not, that has a ship wheel! it looks so awesome. we have all these forms to explore and yet we have been leaning towards standard forms introduced by consoles for years now... i was reading how gamers were so happy about the new xbox controller announced at E3 recently, and yet as a casual gamer i see the same thing. maybe their latency / responsiveness issues is all that was addressed.

Completely agree. What makes these old arcade machines (Western games included) are the uniqueness of the controls. Trackballs, Spinners, 360 joysticks, thrusters, yokes all added to the immersion. These are the things that connected players to arcade cabinets and the games. Today's androgynous joypads just don't do that.

Feels obligatory to mention Steel Battalion with its massive controller setup [0], that was an early 2000 console game.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steel_Battalion#/media/File:St...

Good call.

This is what’s so exciting about the Play date (https://play.date/) - I have the hope it brings back that retro vibe, with a different input mechanic for a twist.

You would definitely enjoy alt.ctrl.GDC (https://www.gdconf.com/alt.ctrl.gc) - it's a section of the Games Developer Conference Expo dedicated to people using alternative/experimental control schemes.

I've been lucky enough to visit this place twice; it's one of my favorite things to do in Moscow.

I'm the wrong generation for most of these games. But I did play a significant amount of pinball back in the day.

Never been there but if I ever get to Las Vegas the Pinball museum will be on my list of places to visit.


if I ever get to Las Vegas the Pinball museum will be on my list of places to visit



Also watch for events at the Museum of Pinball in Banning, CA, east of L.A. http://www.museumofpinball.org/

https://www.pacificpinball.org/ in Alameda CA is really great.

Thank you! I'm going to be out in SF this winter and I will definitely check it out.

In the article it states that visitors to the museum get 15 kopeks to operate the machines. 100 kopeks is one ruble. 1 dollar is 64 rubles. Therefore it costs something on the order of 0.001 cents to operate one of the machines. That’s some crazy inflation!

You have a small mistake in your calculation. 0.15/64 = 0.002$ which equals 0.2 cents. But!

It's much worse, actually. Russia conducted redenomination in 1998 with a coefficient 1000. Which means that 1000 old rubles were replaced by 1 new ruble. So considering this it would be 0.0002 cents.

Actually, in 1980th an official rate per US dollar was 0.6-0.7 RUB. But black market deals were 8-10 RUB per $.

Very interesting images! (Of course St. Petersburg!)

I'm left wondering about the soundtracks on these machines. (Maybe it's mentioned somewhere and I missed it?) I assume that they had sound (going by USSR synth tech) ... and not that the proprietors simply played pirated rock recorded on old x-ray plates!

Funny, I visited the Moscow museum just a couple weeks ago. What I especially enjoyed was was this solenoid based basketball game. Two player, about 15 places on the playing field where the ball could land. Each player the to hit the right button first to engages a little solenoid that would “throw” the ball towards their net and eventually score a basket. It was a reminder that for me, sometimes the simpler games are more fun that the complex high tech games.

Yes! This is a great game and existed in ice rinks and other places in middle America while I was growing up in the 1980s and early 1990s.

EDIT: Ah, here it is! Turns out TFA says specifically the Moscow game is an exact clone of Sega Basketball:


Which came out two years after Midway's Basketball... ;-)


Amusingly, Morskoi Boy/Sea Battle was one of the games in the arcade aboard Typhoon class SSBNs. A submarine game, on a submarine.

Apparently the Akula/Typhoon even had room for a 4x2 meter "swimming pool" and sauna.


There's a really awesome video game museum in Berlin on Karl Marx Allee that features an East German Soviet PolyPlay arcade machine with Wasserrohrbruch running on it. It's a terrible game, but the museum is worth a visit for anyone not going to Russia who wants to try a few Soviet-era games.

I remember seeing a photograph of what was supposedly the inside of a Typhoon submarine and they had a similar submarine video game cabinet as the one in this article.

NI remember when my dad used to take me to arcades when I was a little kide: the sea battle was there! Nice.

I presume the high score list on the machines contained 10 or so entries of the same score? That is of course, after the machine calculates and redistributes the scores of the top performers.

You are thinking of communism. This is the USSR, the scores are all sent to Moscow and then one point is reissued to each player. Then anyone who asks what happened to the rest of the points is sent to the gulag.

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