Behind the Nickel Curtain: A Gallery of 80s Soviet Arcade Games

Posted by Michael Sacco on Sep 13, 2010 in Videogames |

Soviet-era arcade machine

It looks like even the folks behind the Iron Curtain couldn’t resist the appeal of an arcade. Dangerous Business highlights their visit to the Museum of Soviet Arcade Games with shots of the amazing arcade machines therein, from the undoubtedly thrilling “Torpedo Attack” (above) to the slightly more mundane “Traffic Sign Quiz” to the incomprehensible “Turnip Strength Tester” (below). What’s notable is that none of these machines seem particularly jovial — all hard edges and dull colors, the hardware equivalent of “programmer art.” Connal Hughes of Dangerous Business noticed it too, commenting that they “looked like they were designed with the same sense of fun that an engineer would use to construct a hospital waiting room.” Who would’ve known that Brutalist design could even produce these kinds of machines? I guess when things in your country are as bad as they were for the Soviets, you have to take what you can get.

Soviet Arcade Museum

The lobby.


Air Battle.


The infamous “Turnip Strength Tester.”

Michael Sacco is a writer and editor, currently working as Senior Editor at, part of Aol’s Joystiq network. His previous work includes an extended stay at Blizzard Entertainment. Follow him on Twitter!

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