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Watch: From Pac Man to Whack-a-Mole - life size arcade games bring family fun to Great Yarmouth’s Out There Festival

PUBLISHED: 09:40 31 August 2017 | UPDATED: 13:02 31 August 2017

Matthew Harrison has designed and built a collection of human arcade games.
Picture: Nick Butcher

Matthew Harrison has designed and built a collection of human arcade games. Picture: Nick Butcher

Archant © 2017

Nostalgic arcade games always bring a smile to people’s faces, both kids and ‘grown up children’ alike.

Matthew Harrison has designed and built a collection of human arcade games.
Picture: Nick ButcherMatthew Harrison has designed and built a collection of human arcade games. Picture: Nick Butcher

One fan has taken his love of 1980s computer games and seaside amusements to a whole new level, by re-imagining them as a life size immersive experience.

Great Yarmouth born designer and artist Matthew Harrison has created 10 giant versions of classics including Tetris, Whack-a-Mole and Space Invaders.

MORE: Great Yarmouth Out There Festival to feature balloon heritage of the town

In total 10 games have been designed by Mr Harrison who said the Yarmouth assembled devices would be “coming home” for the resort’s Out There International Festival of Circus and Street Arts in September.

The 41-year-old, who now lives in Bradwell, added: “They’ve been all over the country. In total, we’ve probably had about 15,000 people giving them a go.

Matthew Harrison has designed and built a collection of human arcade games.
Picture: Nick ButcherMatthew Harrison has designed and built a collection of human arcade games. Picture: Nick Butcher

“I had the idea for the big games about three years ago. With the help of SeaChange Arts I got funding from Without Walls, a consortium of outdoor street artists.”

He came up with the idea of opening a life size amusement arcade venue at the old Co-op building in Great Yarmouth’s Market Place.

However after getting the funding, he has taken the games up and down the country to various festivals with the help of Lee Marsh who also helped build and construct them.

“With the history of the arcades in Great Yarmouth, and them having been built here, it will be great to see them coming home.

Matthew Harrison has designed and built a collection of human arcade games.
Picture: Nick ButcherMatthew Harrison has designed and built a collection of human arcade games. Picture: Nick Butcher

“I used play them a lot when I was younger so these full size games are very nostalgic for people by age, but also people of my parent’s generation who remember taking their kids there or the youngsters today who recognise games like PacMan from apps on their phones.”

Communications director at Seachange Arts, Darren Cross, said it would be one of the many great activities as part of the Out There Festival in St George’s Park in Yarmouth next month.

“It’s quite amazing that two Great Yarmouth acts, Matthew and the Drill House’s resident artist Dizzy O’Dare, both received funding out of 12 across the whole country.”

You can try out the games for free as part of the Out There Festival. They will be set up on the grassed area between Trafalgar Road and Bath Hill Terrace opposite old Art College on September 16 and 17.

Darren Cross with his children Norah and Charlie try out the fun games.
Picture: Nick ButcherDarren Cross with his children Norah and Charlie try out the fun games. Picture: Nick Butcher

Classics re-imagined

Here are some of the classic arcade games re-imagined as life size immersive experiences.

• Tetris - Stack as many giant colourful foam-sized pieces as you can before the timer runs out with the help of friends and family sliding pieces to you from behind a wall.

• Asteroids - Use a pump gun to fire foam pellets through targets.

• Whack a Mole - Hit a giant foam hammer on the heads of your friends and family members.

• Donkey Kong - Play as Kong and throw barrels at Mario to dodge.

• Frogger - Balance a frog on your head and cross a road and a river without dropping the amphibian.

• Pac Man - run around a giant maze as ‘Pac Man’ while being chased by giant ghosts.

• Lazer run - Get through a course of elastic ‘lasers’ without touching them by crawling or climbing through.

To see more of the games in action go on Instagram and search #actualrealityarcade hashtag.

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