This month, Philadelphia residents will get a chance to play Pong on what’s being described as the world’s biggest video game screen. It’s a classic marriage of modern architecture and arcade gaming. Beginning next week, Drexel University professor Dr. Frank Lee will be hosting a Pong tournament that will be played on the facade of Philly’s 29-story Cira Centre. Using hundreds of embedded LED lights that will be gamers sitting about a half-mile away, the classic Atari video game will come to life on the side of the building.
The mastermind behind the world’s biggest Pong tournament is Dr. Frank Lee, who first come up with the idea in 2008. ”‘Pong’ is a cultural icon, cultural milestone,” Lee told the Associated Press. “This is my love letter to the wonders of technology as seen through the eyes of my childhood.” Participants will stand on the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum and use arcade-style controllers to play the super-sized video game.
For the uninitiated, Pong was released by Atari in 1972 and is one of the first video games to be widely played. The game is a very rudimentary video version of ping pong or tennis, with dots and lines of light representing the ball and rackets. Philadelphia’s Cira Centre features a complex matrix of LED lights on its exterior, which will be controlled by a custom software program. Lee and his colleagues have already tested Pong, as well as other games, like Space Invaders, Tetris and Snake on the 83,360-square-foot facade. If you’re in Philly and want to check it out, the games will be held on April 19 and 24.