Prague, July 13 (CTK) – Czech Jan Orna, 38, is addicted to game machines, but not as a gambler but as a fan who collects old slot machines and shows them in a special game room and a museum he has opened near Prague, daily Pravo wrote on Thursday.
“Each machine has a specific sound of its own…With my well-trained ears, I immediately notice if any of them goes wrong,” Orna told the paper.
He started collecting game machines in 2004. At present, he has more than 170 of them in a wooden hall in the Cerveny ujezd village, west of the capital city.
For six years now, he has been running a room with historical arcade games, actually a kind of a museum.
“When I saw the colourful machines at travelling entertainment festivals for the first time, I felt fascinated. For me, they were magic colourful worlds with which we, children, connected long invented stories,” Orna told Pravo, referring to his impressions as a boy.
Out of nostalgia, he later decided to collect old game machines he remembered from childhood.
In the beginning it was not that difficult to buy some. The first machine cost him 5,000 crowns.
In the meantime, he acquired far more expensive ones, importing them from countries such as the USA, Germany, Britain and Japan.
Nevertheless, the most unique of his exhibits comes from Kolin, central Bohemia, where it stood unnoticed in a garage for several years.
“A guy who formerly run game machines at a swimming pool and wanted to get rid of them answered my advertisement. It turned out that he kept a real jewel in his garage – the Challenge game from 1974. I bought it immediately for [an] unbelievably [low price of] 2,000 crowns,” Orna is quoted as saying.
He said Challenge, a machine version of table tennis, belongs to the oldest exhibits in his museum. Besides, he has displayed unique machines from the 1980s that witnessed the birth of arcade games, and also more advanced and contemporary machines of all kinds, including classical shooting games and sport simulators.
Hardware and electronic parts are the most demanding aspect, as they need a technicians’ control almost every day. This has forced Orna to upgrade his knowledge of electronics, though he is an economist by profession, Pravo writes.
He says the retro machines need special care bordering on “cherishing.”
“More and more people come to visit our game room, pushed by nostalgia. Mainly people in their thirties and forties come to play a game and show something from their childhood to their kids,” Orna says.
He plays his machines only rarely. “I am a collector, not a gambler,” he says.
Orna has never sold any of his machines.
“I would never do this at any cost. I want our children to keep the chance of admiring the magic blinking colourful machines,” he adds.