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Tonight on the Cira Centre: World’s Tallest Game of ‘Pong’

(The Cira Centre, rising behind 30th Street Station.  File photo by John Ostapkovich)

(The Cira Centre, rising behind 30th Street Station. File photo by John Ostapkovich)

John Ostapkovich John Ostapkovich
John Ostapkovich brings humor and wit, and a wealth of experience...
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By John Ostapkovich

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The exterior of what is fast becoming an iconic West Philadelphia skyscraper will have a new look tonight: the lights on the façade of the Cira Centre are being repurposed for a few hours for the world’s largest game of Pong.

Turning the 29-story skyscraper into the world’s biggest video game is the brainchild of Drexel University professor Frank Lee, director of the computer game creation program there.

(Drexel professor Frank Lee, in his office.  Photo provided)

(Drexel professor Frank Lee, in his office. Photo provided)

Lee (right) says he noticed the moving lights on the Cira Centre and imagined reprogramming them to play Tetris, but Pong worked out better.

While the game will be seen on the north face of skyscraper (you drivers on the Schuylkill Expressway: eyes on the road!), players will be on the Art Museum steps, going head-to-head for short games.

“We are setting up on the steps of the art museum, which has a really nice northside view of the Cira Centre building,” Lee tells KYW Newsradio.   “We’re going to have the world’s biggest Pong.  Basically, the games should last a couple of minutes or so.  We want as many people to play — we especially want kids to play.”

Lee hopes that some among the young players will be inspired to not just live in the digital world but help create it.

Hundreds of people submitted applications to battle on the building soon after the announcement was made.