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David Frampton was just a baby when the neon lights of arcades were beginning to attract flocks of teenagers in the early 1980s.
Now the 31-year-old Hawke's Bay local will have his creation, Chopper 2, displayed at an exhibition in Wellington alongside gaming classics such as Pac-Man and Space Invaders.
Frampton was pleased to be part of an exhibition displaying the gaming icons of his childhood.
"It's great. It's quite an honour really - just being a one-man-band developer, sometimes I feel like I'm a little overlooked."
Chopper 2 will be part of the Game Masters exhibition at Te Papa, which features more than 100 games, including Sing Star, The Sims, Angry Birds and Minecraft.
Visitors can play the games, listen to interviews with designers, and view video game artwork.
Frampton, the sole designer at his software company, Majic Jungle, said there was as much creativity in gaming design as more traditional art forms.
"You're creating a world which people can be a part of," he said.
"When I was doing landscape painting, it was only something that people could observe."
Shatter, a game developed by Wellington-based studio Sidhe, is also on show at Game Masters.
Te Papa concept developer Kristelle Plimmer said video games attracted a broad range of players, from dedicated gamers to those who play the occasional game of Farmville or Angry Birds, to parents who use games to broker peace during road trips.
"I know that there's going to be a lot of parents travelling this summer who will be thankful that they got their child a game console for Christmas.
"Their children won't be going, 'Are we there yet?'."
Plimmer said the video game industry was picking up steam in New Zealand.
"The creation and development of games is a growing area. It's something that can happen here, too. You don't have to move.
"You can live in a rural part of Hawke's Bay and be an internationally recognised game developer."
What: Te Papa Game Masters exhibition
When: December 15 till April 28
Cost: Adults $16, children $9 (under 5s free)
Visitors can race each other in the four-player Real Racing 2 game, have a dance-off in Dance Central 2, and stroll through a 3-D version of Child of Eden.
- The Wellingtonian