—I am a museum custodian. I keep showing things and telling things. It was the funniest at the very start. We had this basement in the south-east of Moscow, which was open once a week, from 7.20 PM to 10 PM. And there would be people trying to reach us from Argentina and begging us to open on Tuesday because they had only two days in Moscow and the museum
was on their bucket list. The night of the opening, we had exactly seven visitors, and two TV crews, Channel One and NTV, were competing to get them into the picture.
At first, I wanted to install the Battleship machine
at home, but it was taking up too much space and there was no place left for a second device. So we used the garage and showed it to some friends. They said, "Wow, let’s play! Don’t stop!" But we felt awkward bringing friends to garage exhibitions, so we had to make a real museum.
The public that we had in mind were in their thirties or forties, people that had childhood experiences of the arcade machines and remembered them fondly. After three years, when we did a visitor study, we discovered that 70% of our core audience had never seen arcade machines before. And yet, people came to spend their time with us. Students, teenagers, young families, lots of international tourists. We wanted to treat them to a programme on innovative new technologies, because our museum is not about heritage, but rather about creative engineering. Forty years ago, these machines represented the pinnacle of engineering invention.