Visitors to the PEEK&POKE computer club in Rijeka, Croatia are encouraged to let their inner geek run wild and play Pacman on an 8-bit machine, use the computer Andy Warhol used for his early digital art, or simply kick back and play Mario Kart.
The permanent exhibition, which covers over 3,000 square feet, is the largest collection of its kind in Europe. PEEK&POKE, which was initiated by the Calculus Association and opened in 2007, features calculators, punch-hole computers, early games consoles, obsolete desktops, as well as stranger relics like the infamous Virtual Boy, a 1995 marketing failure by Nintendo, which used a series of 224 red LE diodes and vibrating mirrors to create depth illusion. But it left users feeling dizzy and nauseated and prominent scientists claimed it could cause sickness, flashbacks, and even permanent brain damage.
The name refers to a binary programming method once common in the eight-bit BASIC language era, where a PEEK was a direct data retrieval of one byte from memory, and a POKE was a direct set of one byte.
Many of the exhibits are kept fully functional to facilitate the club’s goal of remaining a gathering place for computer enthusiasts for learning and entertainment.
Visitors to PEEK&POKE are free to roam and play at the educational and not-for-profit project, which prefers the label computer club to museum. While having the rare and vintage items expected of a traditional museum, the personality, intimacy, and interactivity of the place is more akin to a very enthusiastic collector showing friends around their basement. Which in a sense, it is.
Know Before You Go
The museum is walking distance from the city centre.