Downtown Denver transforms into a life-size arcade this summer.
—Background Photo by Laura Brooks, Illustration by Amanda Croy
Halo 5 may be one of the most anticipated video games of 2014, but it’s got nothing on Denver’s new release. This month, leave your Xbox at home in favor of some open-air gaming with OhHeckYeah (OHY), a street arcade popping up along downtown Denver’s Champa Street.
On Thursdays and Saturdays from June 7 to July 26 (7 to 11 p.m.), the corridor between 14th Street and the 16th Street Mall will transform into an immersive, all-ages play space, with each of the strip’s three LED screens lit up with multiplayer video games. Pedestrians are encouraged to walk up and engage in a bit of friendly competition. The characters—including avatars such as the Big Blue Bear and Catchy, a friendly alien-—are controlled by a Microsoft Kinect that mimics body movements. Several of the games are even set in Denver.
The endeavor is possible largely thanks to a $200,000 grant from ArtPlace America, an organization that works to put interactive art displays in public centers to foster a sense of community. OHY founder Brian Corrigan—who holds degrees in both digital media and business—spent more than a year concepting and prepping the public art project, which also features props (such as game characters) the public can use to bring the video games to life off the screen. “The idea is to use the power of play to connect people on the street,” Corrigan says. Time to get your game face on.
Play different G-rated video games—all designed specifically for OHY—on each of Champa Street’s three giant LED screens.
Each week, OHY will partner with a local organization, such as Jiberish Clothing, to offer free activities, like yoga (June 26 and June 28) and a USA-themed dance party (July 3 and July 5).
Walking history tours
Improv actors from Bovine Metropolis Theater are working with the History Colorado Center to lead comedic but historical street tours of the area. If only history class had been this fun.
Go online to keep up with your favorite OHY video game characters—including Catchy—as Bovine comedians bring them to life on social media with fake Twitter accounts.
5280.com Exclusive: Get a preview of the Oh Heck Yeah's video games here.