Picture of Declan Dineen

Declan Dineen


FeatureExploring a very different kind of arcade

A day in the National Videogame Arcade.

It's not where you'd expect to find a place like this. Nottingham's more famous for Robin Hood and Su Pollard than video games, but that's been changing over the past ten years thanks largely to Gamecity, a festival started by Iain Simon. Gamecity is a unique celebration of video games that takes over the city, and has one guiding ethos: everybody should be able to play, see and discover games for themselves.

Do you remember the New Yankee Workshop? It was a TV series hosted by Norm Abram, and each episode Norm would make something out of wood. A table, perhaps, or a chest of drawers, or maybe even some serving trays. When I first got Sky TV in the late 90s I became obsessed with the New Yankee Workshop, I would watch it daily despite having absolutely no intention of even picking up a saw. It was oddly comforting, probably for the same reason cookery shows are still amongst the most popular things on TV: people enjoy watching other people make things. Video game creation may not be as visceral as wood or food, but as the recently concluded Double Fine Adventure series proves, it's just as compelling.