One Friday night about a year ago, we trekked out to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to watch and play a game of Pong. There was one interesting thing about this particular port of the game—it was being played on the side of a 29-story office building called the Cira Centre, and it was later certified by Guinness World Records as the "largest architectural videogame display."
This year, Drexel University computer science professor Frank Lee and his team are back with a different game. Using the same basic code they created last year, they've developed a version of Tetris that spans both sides of the Cira Centre, where Pong only used one. It's a more complicated game, and it effectively doubles the size of last year's project. We returned to Philly on Saturday night to see it in action.
Technology and trademarks
On the technical side, not much has changed. As was the case last year, the light grid on each side of the building is made up of 460 programmable LED lights from Philips. This "screen," which is only 20 by 23 pixels, is normally used to display static images or simple loops. With the blessing of the Brandywine Realty Trust (the owner of the property), the team was able to cobble together a rough API and program some basic interactive games controllable via a computer remotely connected to the Cira Centre's network.