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It’s Official: Philly’s Skyscraper- Sized Video Game Is World’s Largest

(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)

Ian Bush Ian Bush
Ian Bush is an anchor, reporter, news editor, and technology editor&nb...
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By technology editor Ian Bush

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — New Playstation and Xbox consoles are making this a big month for video gamers.  But it’s an old-school title from the ’70s that has just set a Guinness world record thanks to a Drexel University professor and a University City skyscraper.

The now-rudimentary video game “Pong” was a hit both at home and in the arcades, and helped launch video games into the mainstream.

But it took Frank Lee, director of the Game Design program at Drexel, to return the favor, putting a playable Pong on the façade of the Cira Centre.  But he says it started with a different video game as the inspiration.

“I saw, not on the building but in my mind’s eye, little Tetris shapes rotating and dropping.  That led to my vision of trying to create the world’s biggest video game using the Cira Centre lights,” Lee said during Philly Tech Week, last April (see related story), just before the supergame went live.

Now, it’s official:  Guinness World Records says Lee now holds the mark for the largest architectural video game display — at 59,800 square feet — for plastering Pong up there.

Hundreds of people can say they are part of that record: they controlled the virtual paddles from the steps of the Art Museum, with the results a fleeting part of the city skyline.

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