GDC15: The Mechanical Museum

Well, this post should not be included in the GDC category at all, but it was the last thing I did in San Francisco, it is about games and it was not very far from the event.

The exact name is “Musée Mécanique, Antique Coin Operated Arcade”. It is a private collection that consists of over 200 working coin-operated machines from the 1800s to present day video games. You can visit it for free and it is located on Pier 45. With just 25-50 cents you can enjoy pure classical mechanical machines and the first digital arcade machines.

Some friends of mine recommended I visit it and what I can say is that, sincerely, if you plan to come to SFO you cannot forget this place. It is within walking distance from Pier 33, the Alcatraz Tour starting point. Here you have a photo of the entrance.


I tried almost all of the machines I found there: music boxes, enormous furniture with animated pieces, mechanical games, old digital games and small machines that show you, in a 3D stereoscopic old way, historical slides and old erotic ones as well. I spent more than two hours playing and having fun there.

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I can say, on top of everything, that I was able to play the first Star Wars arcade machine. It was so good, a 3D vector view with a comfortable joystick to pilot and to shoot from the X-Wing Fighter, first into the galaxy and then into the Death Star. I found this video on the Internet. Here is a picture of the machine I played with:


You can find a large photo collection of almost all of these machines in the museum’s website: Be ready, it probably will knock the wind out of you!

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