MAKE STUFF Spotlight: Awkward Arcade

Posted by Janneke Earl, over 2 years ago

Awkward Arcade The Mashing James Medd

MadLab has spent the last month on tour with Make Stuff: a series of community events taking place across Greater Manchester featuring coding, crafting, building and making workshops and activities – all designed to get people engaged and creative with technology!

One of the attractions currently touring with Make Stuff is the Awkward Arcade – an experimental video arcade, showcasing a series of games encouraging players to think and interact in unusual ways. The games can be as existential as they are exasperating, encouraging physical participation and mental gymnastics in equal measure.

Featuring titles such as Line Wobbler, Every Day The Same Dream, The Mashing, Guppy, Hand Foot Co-Ordination & Isochrone, this is the first time the majority of these games have been shown outside of a purely digital environment, specifically chosen and built into cabinets for the Arcade.

The Awkward Arcade presents a great opportunity to experience some of the innovation and intrigue of modern indie gaming along with the social and interactive elements of the original arcade environment, revisiting a bygone era of video-games.

The Arcade was assembled and curated by James Medd – artist, musician and resident technologist at MadLab. James hails from Nottingham originally, studying Creative Music Technology at the University of Hull before moving to Manchester to complete an MA at the University of Salford. Since then he’s been making music, instruments, installations, robots and arcade cabinets across the country, teaching classes on programming, sound design and interactivity along the way.

He was kind enough to answer some of our questions about the arcade, gaming and making stuff!

What does the Awkward Arcade do?

The Awkward Arcade is an experimental video game arcade, showcasing unusual games from developers and artists all over the world. It fuses modern innovative and alternative games with the classic setting of the arcade.

Awkward Arcade Isochrone

Who’s it for?

The Arcade is for anyone who likes to think they know what video games are – including both experienced gamers, and non-gamers. It delivers new experiences, and always surprises audiences.

How did you start making stuff?

I started making stuff as a studio engineer and performing musician, looking to make unusual tools for playing music when I was a student. This groundwork in interactive technology lead me on to create more creative installations and curiosities, before eventually building the Awkward Arcade.

Awkward Arcade The Mashing

What’s your favourite arcade game?

My favourite classic arcade game is Mr. Do (1982) – no matter how many times I play it, it still makes me tense. My favourite Awkward Arcade game is probably Guppy, the game about being a small fish in a big pond!

You can come and experience James’ Arcade at any of our upcoming dates in Oldham, Trafford & Leigh across August and September – check the events section for all details!

If you’d like to learn more about the Awkward Arcade, head to or email