John came across the Museum of Soviet Arcade Machines in his Moscow researching, and unsurprisingly was rather keen to visit. It was only a short walk from a metro station and so qualified as a rainy-evening activity. This place is like geek heaven. It’s a huge building filled with old Soviet-era arcade games – most of which are still in working order. It’s not cheap though. It actually cost more to visit this museum than to visit St Basil’s Cathedral at 300 rubles each, which seemed a little odd at first. However, entry comes with a little pocket of old Soviet-era kopeks which you can use to play the games! We had fifteen coins each, so then we had to make some very tough decisions. Where to start? A bunch of them were a little too complicated for us, requiring knowledge of the Russian language we didn’t have. Still, we tried pretty much everything we could. Some were rather frustrating – the steering wheels on the racing games were so incredibly loose and non-sensitive that we were swinging them around wildly to get our little pixellated cars moving. John was a crack shot at the shooting games. I didn’t fare so well, until I worked out that aiming at the lit-up animals was useless and I needed to aim about a centimetre below. Then those fake-geese were falling from the sky…well some of them at least. The place was decked out in a really cute retro style and they even had old soda machines – also taking only old Russian kopeks. We didn’t try the soda though, as we were a bit reluctant to spend our precious kopeks on something to drink! We played until our old money ran out, and then hit up the photo booth for some genuine film photographs. They were overly dark and a bit awkward, but it was fun and they’re stuck down in my journal now.
As we were leaving, John noticed that there was another one of these museums in St Petersburg. And so there would be a second visit.