Once-illegal video games from Communist Czechoslovakia are now playable

Cue up the “In Soviet Russia...” jokes.

Although the 1980s were formative years for the video game industry in America and Western Europe, computer designers in the U.S.S.R. faced a much more uphill battle. Due to bans on Western imports, early affordable home computers like the ZX Spectrum were far more difficult to come by for citizens of, say, Czechoslovakia, who relied either on smuggled technology or clones of the original products.

Still, it was impossible to stifle creativity in the field of amateur gaming, which soon saw an entire underground culture develop around the creation and trading of homebrewed video game titles. While the surviving games have long been restricted to speakers of languages within the former Soviet Union, a group called the Slovak Game Developers Association recently made some hidden gems of Soviet history available for the first time ever in English, providing Westerners with a handful of video games covertly designed and manufactured in Communist Czechoslovakia.

We assume something got lost in translation on the way to Czechoslovakia.SGDA

Available to play and download now — Ten titles (of varying degrees of stability) are currently available to test out, including titles like Perfect Murder, Super Discus, Agent 99, and... um... something simply called Pepsi Cola. The collection can be played in-browser, or downloaded as .TAP files to play with any Speccy emulator, such as Fuse.

We assume these can be a bit buggy, but c’mon. You’re literally playing Cold War history.

Era of Emulation — There’s arguably no better time to be getting into retro video gaming than now. The countless emulators out there coupled with diehard DIY communities ensures no shortage of nostalgic goodness to mine. While there are some obvious frontrunners in the industry (for better or worse), you really will be hardpressed to find something that isn’t catered to exactly your tastes. Seriously, anything you can imagine.