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Pong on Cira Centre Named Guinness World Record

November 18, 2013

The dream of Drexel associate professor Frank Lee, PhD, that came to fruition in the form of a 29-story video game –Pong- played on the north facade of Brandywine Realty Tust’s Cira Centre is now a world record. Guinness World Records officially recognized the event, which was held on April 19 and 24 as part of Philly Tech Week, as the “largest architectural videogame display.”

“This is a tremendous recognition,” Lee said. “Most people can only dream about playing a giant video game, but thanks to Jerry Sweeney at Brandywine and Chris Wink at Technically Philly, my dream became a reality. To be a world record holder without having to win a race, eat a ton of hot dogs, or join a flash mob is a pretty surreal and utterly cool feeling.”

The display for the giant arcade game, which was created with 400 of the LEDs affixed to the center’s shadowbox spandrels, measured 5,555.62 square meters (59,800 square feet) –the official record.

From a vantage point at the iconic Philadelphia Museum of Art, more than 250 people were able to play the record-setting recreation of the classic 1970s arcade game during two days of 2013 Philly Tech Week.

Lee, who is an associate professor in the Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design and the director of Drexel’s Entrepreneurial Game Studio, recruited a team of his colleagues and students to pull off the feat, which included hacking the building’s lighting control software to link it to the video game. The feat was also heralded as the “Geek Story of the Year” at the Philadelphia Geek Awards and Lee was named “Hacker of the Year” for pulling it off.

“It’s been great to see this event stir up so much excitement in Philadelphia’s growing community of scientists, engineers, innovators and inventors,” Lee said. “I hope this inspires others to dream big. I know it’s inspired me, personally, to come up with something even bigger and better for next year’s Philly Tech Week.”


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