Inside Novelty Automation's Automata - Atlas Obscura
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London, England

Inside Novelty Automation's Automata

Take a look inside historically inspired machines, satirical automata, and penny games with the very fellow who made them at this homemade retro arcade.

Fly a drone and snoop on the stars. Launder money. Operate a nuclear reactor. Go on an all-inclusive 3-minute holiday. Win a Nobel prize. Get divorced. All for just a handful of tokens.

At this special access Obscura Day event, inventor Tim Hunkin, the owner and mastermind behind London's Novelty Automation, will give guests an introduction to the arcade and its satirical and historically inspired machines and automata.

From 10 to 11am, before the arcade opens to the general public, you'll have a chance to ask Hunkin questions—and he'll even open up the machines to show you how exactly they work. These aren't the sort of adventures found in traditional arcade games like Pac-Man or Asteroids. Instead, they're based on British clockwork automata from the 18th and 19th centuries, which had names like "The Miser's Dream" and "The Drunk In The Graveyard." With a sprinkling of new digital effects, the potential for Hunkin's games has reached new heights. And perhaps, inspired by "Alien Probe," "Instant Weight Loss," "Pet or Meat," and "Is it Art?," you'll head home to dream up and craft novelty machines of your own.


  • This special access event takes place at 10am, before Novelty Automation opens to the general public.
  • Novelty Automation is located a 5-minute walk from Holborn Station.



Advance Tickets Only. All Sales Final. No Refunds or Exchanges.

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