Tetris goes big time

Ever wish you could play a video game on a really, really big TV screen? That’s just what happened Saturday night in Philadelphia when a group of tech fanatics played the classic video game Tetris on the side of the 29-story Cira Centre building.

The classic video game Tetris is played on the 29-story Cira Centre in Philadelphia, Saturday, April 5, 2014, using hundreds of LED lights embedded in its glass facade. The spectacle kicks off a citywide series of events called Philly Tech Week and also celebrates the upcoming 30th anniversary of Tetris. (AP Photo/ Joseph Kaczmarek)

The classic video game Tetris is played on the 29-story Cira Centre in Philadelphia, Saturday, April 5, 2014, using hundreds of LED lights embedded in its glass facade. The spectacle kicks off a citywide series of events called Philly Tech Week and also celebrates the upcoming 30th anniversary of Tetris. (AP Photo/ Joseph Kaczmarek)

The skyscraper, which has hundreds of LED lights embedded in the building’s glass facade, usually is used to display colorful patterns at night, but on Saturday it was connected to a computer that allowed people to interact with the lights and play the game.

“It has been probably 15 years since I played Tetris last on a Game Boy, and it’s much different playing on the side of building that’s a half-mile away,” the city resident Sam Robinson said. “Everything’s happening so quick.”

It wasn’t the first time Tetris has been played on a building. But the 100,000-square-foot “screen” — which includes the north and south faces of the structure — could be a record.

The spectacle kicked off a citywide series of events called Philly Tech Week. It also celebrated the upcoming 30th anniversary of a game revered as the epitome of elegance and simplicity, said Frank Lee, an associate professor of digital media at Drexel University.

Tetris, created by Russian computer programmer Alexey Pajitnov in 1984, challenges players to rotate and arrange falling shapes into complete rows.

It became a global phenomenon in the late 1980s after game designer Henk Rogers, who had seen Tetris at a trade show in Las Vegas, acquired the rights and struck a deal to put it on Nintendo’s original Game Boy.

Reported by KATHY MATHESON of the Associated Press from PHILADELPHIA, Pa.

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