Tetris… on a Philly skyscraper
Tetris: a classic game that my older brother passed down to me at a young age like he should. I’ve dabbled in tetris ever since, whether it was on TI-83 calculators or my present-day smartphone. But never did I think I could play on the side of a skyscraper.
For Philadelphia Tech Week, they took the side of the 29-story Cira Centre and transformed it into a 1000-square foot “screen”. Next thing you know, hundreds of people were entertained by the colorful blocks falling into place on their Saturday night. Awesome! I would have been there if I was a Philly citizen (which is far away from the 76ers game) and appreciate the value of creating a unifying spectacle.
Frank Lee, a game designer and associate professor of digital media at Drexel University, is the man behind not only Tetris, but also designing Pong on the same Cira Centre facade this time last year. In fact, Lee’s version of “Pong” is a Guinness World Record for the world’s largest architectural video game display.
This project began as a personal love letter to the games that I loved when I was a child – Pong last year, Tetris this year. But it ended up as a way of uniting the city of Philadelphia.
His ideas bring me back to a time where I took a couple classes at the University of Minnesota in Virtual Reality (I actually created a Super Mario level that ) and Architectural Game Design. Yup! My group designed a natural disaster SimCity-style game, that was actually progressive in the programming realm, but displayed on a computer screen… not a skyscraper.
Watch a quick video from Drexel University of Tetris on the Cira Centre below.