"Come Play!" is a ton of fun

"Come Play!" is a ton of fun

"Come Play!" offers a free arcade of cardboard games for visitors to play

"Come Play!," an interactive cardboard arcade on display at Cambridge Arts’ Gallery 344 until April 30th, offers a vibrant and thoughtful atmosphere for families looking for a fun and educational activity. The opening night, which occurred on Monday, February 11th, served as the perfect celebration for the efforts of the undergraduate students of Lesley Art + Design who put together the arcade. Children and parents alike swirled around the opening reception, bringing with them the same energy and consideration which so obviously went into the creation of the arcade games.

During the public reception which kicked off the display, there were many children who bounced around the gallery with laughter and demonstrated a genuine amusement for the games the display provided them access to. Even the adults couldn’t help but smile when they engaged with the arcade. Don’t let the fun and games fool you, though. The arcade serves a greater purpose.

Ryan McQuade, the professor who led the class which created this arcade, spoke with enthusiasm while he informed the crowd of the intent behind the arcade. He spoke with great energy, evidently proud of the students’ work. “The idea behind ["Come Play!"] is that each game is tailored to a specific individual’s needs,” he said, speaking about the intention of the arcade. Each of the games is designed with a specific end user in mind. One game, a tilt maze, is designed specifically around the needs of an individual in a wheelchair who wishes to play with his sister. Another game, a “yarn pult” is designed for an older woman who can no longer stand for long durations and who is incapable of precision because of her impaired eyesight. These are only a couple of the many games on display at the "Come Play!" exhibit. Each of the arcade games exemplify the user design process applied to create a unique and engaging experience for a wide variety of individuals with specific needs.

As I was about to leave the exhibition, I witnessed a child begging his parents to let her stay and play with the arcade games. Even though these games were designed with specific individual needs in mind, they still offer a great deal of fun for the general public. "Come Play!" is well worth a trip to the Cambridge Arts’ Gallery 344. The interactive exhibit is fun for everyone.

The projects on display were inspired by “Caine’s Arcade,” Nirvan Mullick’s 2012 short video about 9 year old Caine Monroy, who built a homemade arcade out of cardboard in his father’s auto parts shot in East Los Angeles.

The Cambridge Arts Council is a city agency that funds, promotes, and presents high-quality, community-based arts programming for the benefit of artists, residents, and visitors to Cambridge, MA. In addition to exhibitions and educational programming presented in Gallery 344, Cambridge Arts stages high-profile events such as the Cambridge River Festival, a signature city celebration and regional event.