Bored Grandad Creates Life-Size Versions Of His Favourite Classic Arcade Games

by : Emily Brown on : 09 Apr 2020 12:01

An inventive grandad has overcome his isolation boredom by creating life-size versions of his favourite classic arcade games in his back garden. 

Landscaper Andy John, 49, has had to put his job on hold recently as the majority of his work involves building fences and patios for other people.


While others have turned to home workouts, baking and Tiger King to pass the time, Andy came up with the fun idea of using the tools usually reserved for his day job to create huge, 3D versions of classic games.

Granddad mimics Donkey Kong in his gardenGranddad mimics Donkey Kong in his gardenKennedy News and Media

Andy commented:

I’m just bored. Anyone that knows me and sees this, wouldn’t be that surprised.

I can’t do anything at the moment… I’ve had to stop working and so I needed something to cure the boredom.

I used to play arcade games when I was a kid and so a lot of my inspiration comes from there, other than that it’s just random.

Granddad celebrates playing Space Invaders in gardenGranddad celebrates playing Space Invaders in gardenKennedy News and Media

Using an assortment of objects including wooden sticks, garden tools, canes, ladders and other garden furniture, Andy got to work, with his first creation being a ‘hook-a-duck’ style game.

He created the game simply by ‘throwing some garden tools on the floor’ and attaching some string with a magnet on the end to a piece of cane.

Granddad playing operation in his gardenGranddad playing operation in his gardenKennedy News and Media

He then attached notes to the garden tools, with suggestions for pastimes like ‘[eat] beans on toast’ and ‘watch TV’. Using the cane, he snapped up the garden tools and ‘had to do’ whatever was written on his catch.

Andy explained:

The games came from that idea. I don’t really think too hard about which game I should do, I just think of the idea, build it all and play it.

I don’t rehearse it or anything and I don’t plan them out before I build them, I’ve not practised anything.

Granddad shooting space invaders with hosepipe in gardenGranddad shooting space invaders with hosepipe in gardenKennedy News and Media

Andy has since gone on to recreate more elaborate games, including Mario Kart, Donkey Kong, Pacman, Space Invaders, Operation and Snakes and Ladders.

The creations typically take Andy around an hour to build, play and tidy up. Amazing footage, filmed by his wife Claire, shows Andy imitating Donkey Kong, Luigi, Pacman, and all manner of other characters, even going as far as to don costumes and mimic their movements.

Granddad playing snakes and ladders in his back gardenGranddad playing snakes and ladders in his back gardenKennedy News and Media

Andy continued:


I’ve got all sorts of bits and pieces hanging around and so I just use that.

With my Mario Kart one I actually put a small steam train in the course, I don’t know what it’s doing there, to be honest!

The ‘Bikeroo’ (Buckeroo) one was the easiest to step up. I balanced a bike on a board and basically got a load of items and started putting them onto it. I got Claire to kick the board at any point whilst I wasn’t watching and it would fall over.

Granddad playing Buckeroo with a bike Granddad playing Buckeroo with a bike Kennedy News and Media

Having already created some of the best-loved games out there, Andy is now trying to come up with his new challenge.

He said:

My nephew keeps telling me to do Kerplunk but I haven’t got a bag full of balls, I’ve got to improvise with what I’ve got.

I also want to do Tetris but I’ve only got so much wood, I’d have to make every one of them fit. I think Hungry Hippos would be quite easy to make.

A lot of people like the Donkey Kong game. I think it’s because of my legs when I’m jumping up and down.

I have these two big, long ropes at the moment after pulling up the decking and so I was going to try and do a ‘Donkey Kong Country’ one where I swing along the garden, I’m going to try and work that out first!

Granddad playing pacman in his gardenGranddad playing pacman in his gardenKennedy News and Media

Andy’s amazing creations have gone viral on Twitter, where his videos have racked up more than 134,000 views and 3,000 likes.

Speaking about her husband’s new hobby, Claire said:

Andy’s imagination is – I think the word is – warped!

It’s just a bit of fun really and we’re just trying to make people smile. People have loved the videos and they’ve had so many views.

He will create the games whilst I’m inside the house working. I can just see him outside the window arranging random items in the garden.

Andy and ClaireAndy and ClaireKennedy News and Media

Claire continued:

He does it and then asks me to film him. I have to do it from the bedroom window to get the whole scene in, the neighbours must think we’re absolutely barking mad!

He’ll also dress up in whatever gear he has in the garage to play the games, he now wants to try and create Tetris and Kerplunk, so that’s gonna be quite hard.

Though hopefully Andy won’t have to find ways fill his boredom for much longer, I’m sure I’m not the only one who would love to see more of his creations!

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Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.

Topics: Life, Coronavirus, Isolation, video games