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Japanese games designer recruited to design Nottingham playground

Games are often blamed for encouraging laziness among the nation's children.

So step forward Keita Takahashi, a top Japanese games designer drafted in to help transform a kid's playground into a paradise of physical fun.

Takahashi, a 34-year-old gaming "auteur" who has produced titles with bizarre sounding names as Nobi Nobi Boy and Katamari Damacy, is working with Nottingham City Council for a month.

He is set to replace the swings and slides of an existing play area in Woodthorpe Grange park with creations from his own mind.

Quite what he will come up will be a surprise even to himself, he confesses.

"I am not sure what I want to see in the park at the moment," he laughs. "But I do want to produce something different."

Takahashi announced he was working on the project during a talk this morning at GameCity, a five-day games festival in Nottingham.

"In parks, items are usually fixed but I am hoping - if the budget allows and with health and safety in mind - to produce items that are not fixed," he told the audience. "And it would be great to make use of a hill there.

"Designing and making things is what I did at university so it is not unusual for me to do stuff like this."

He says he is unsure if he will use his own strange and wonderful characters in the park because publisher Namco holds the copyright to them.

Takahashi has been to the playground a number of times to work out the space he has to play with and Nottingham councillor David Trimble says the council is looking forward to seeing the end result.

GameCity director Iain Simons said: "It's going to be the best park in the world and we're so pleased to see Keita back here in Nottingham and working on this project."