I have missed out on the events in this year’s Compass Festival as I was unable to travel into Leeds due to the recent restrictions so it was good to be able to experience their latest offering in Trinity Kitchen.

Anxiety Arcade is a replica 1980s games machine which were a familiar sight in pubs, clubs, bowling alleys and other places where they could cause most nuisance to the regulars! I was never a big fan as I was probably a bit old, being in my 30s, and they were still a bit primitive but I had to sample the updated version on offer here.

I was told by the charming woman in attendance on behalf of Compass Arts that it should take about twenty minutes to play but, in the event, I kept hitting the wrong buttons and going back to the start. This meant that my relationship with the machine was probably destined to cause me anxiety rather than explain it, and I don’t think that that was the point.

The scenario is that you awake from a weird dream, and who hasn’t done that at least once over the past year, to find yourself getting up but being in the twilight zone between dream and reality where everything seems odd. You are then presented with options, one of which is going back to bed, and, if selected, sends you back to the start. The first time I tried it I was curious as to what would happen but after hitting the option a couple more times in error I gave in.

I was offered help by the operator but my objective was to sample the machine so that I could write about it rather than to become proficient. Just as well really. The virtual you is moved around the bedroom using a joystick and at certain stages of the journey a question mark appears over your head prompting – you guessed it – a question. I told you that they were primitive in the 80s. A row of buttons marked A and a second row marked B enable you to chose the answer to the question. Not rocket science, unless you happen to be me.

There are no right or wrong answers to any of the questions which was a comfort, meaning that you shouldn’t feel overawed by it so why not pop along and give it a go.

Anxiety Arcade is at Trinity Kitchen as part of Compass Live until Sunday 30th May. It is open between noon and 7.00pm each day and is free to play.

I think it is time I hit the Go Back To Bed button after all that thinking. Night night.

Photographs by Stan Graham

For other Compass Arts events please go to https://compassliveart.org.uk/

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