Tetris is turning 30 this June, and in honor of the occasion — and as part of Philly Tech Week 2014 — gamers have rigged up a 29-storey office block to play the classic title on a grand scale. It’s now something of a tradition for the Philadelphia tech conference, as the same setup was used to play a huge game of Pong this time last year.
The giant version of Tetris, which organizers expect to be confirmed as the world’s biggest ever, was the brainchild of game designer and Drexel University professor Frank Lee. You can view a video of the game in action on the New York Times Bits blog.
Lee and his team utilized the LED lighting already installed in the Cira Centre in Philadelphia, coding a variation of Tetris that was played by opposing teams on two sides of the building. Thanks to some 4G connectivity and a bank of physical joysticks, gamers were able to take on the challenge of Tetris against the night sky.
The event was about building community as well as celebrating a classic game, according to Lee. “Technology has sort of made us isolated from each other. I want us to be with each other and play with each other,” he told the New York Times. A beer garden, food trucks and live music added to the party atmosphere, which attracted hundreds of spectators.
One of the participants was Henk B. Rogers, Managing Director of the Tetris Company, which holds worldwide rights to the game. “When I first played Tetris at the CES trade show in Las Vegas and later met the game’s creator, Alexey Pajitnov, I knew the game was special, but I could never have imagined that almost 30 years later I’d be playing Tetris on a 29-story building,” he said.