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'Pong' ported to 29-storey skyscraper 'screen'

Game on at Philadelphia's Cira Center

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Seventies gaming classic 'Pong' will reach a hitherto undreamed of scale later in April, when a version of the game is launched for play on lights adorning a skyscraper.

The building in question is Philadelphia's Cira Center, a 29-storey edifice opened in 2006. The building features a programmable array of 1500 light emitting diodes that attracted the attention of Frank Lee, co-founder and co-director of the Drexel Game Design Program, an outfit teaching degrees in game design.

Lee has long been fascinated with the potential to run games on the Cira Center's lights and last year got in touch with its owners, who were amenable to the idea.

With that connection made, Lee and colleagues contemplated the kind of games one could play on a pixel-constrained face of a building, where 20x20 resolution is the best they could hope for. Classics 'Snake' and 'Pong' appealed as achievable in the low resolution environment. The latter has since been developed to the point at which a public tournament commences on April 19th.

Entrants will be limited to 100 and selected by lottery.

Players will take up their controllers at the Philadelphia Art Museum which, if this Google map is to be believed, is about 400 metres away from the Cira Center.

Lee's posted a slightly saccharine video (embedded below) about his plans, with limited vision of the game in action on the skyscraper's side. ®

Watch Video

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