Plugged In

Massive Pong game takes place on Philadelphia skyscraper

Plugged In

One of the biggest video games ever is now one of the biggest video games ever.

On April 19, Philadelphians with a clear view of the 29-story Cira Centre were treated to a fully-functional game of Pong on the side of the building.

The Pong project, which kicked off Philly Tech Week, was the brainchild of Drexel computer science professor Dr. Frank Lee. It’s been a five-year mission for the professor, who told Ars Technica he first dreamt up the idea back in 2008:

"I was driving down at night, and saw the sparkling lights at the Cira Centre,” he said. ”The LED lights at the Cira Centre are built-in as part of the structure of the building. Every other night I would just pass by it, but this night I saw Tetris shapes forming in my mind's eye, falling down, and that began this long journey to try to make this game possible."

Players controlled the famous Pong paddles -- each three stories high -- using joysticks hooked up to a laptop wirelessly connected to the building’s LED lighting array (typically used to light it up in different colors to, say, celebrate one of Philadelphia’s sports teams). The game itself actually took place on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art roughly a half-mile away.

Bummed you missed it? No worries -- they're hooking it up for another play session on Wednesday, April 24. No quarters necessary.

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