Skyscraper to be transformed into 401ft game of Pong

Most memories of Pong consist of headache-inducing five-hour play sessions on fuzzy 1970s television screens. Now the game is about to get its name in lights, with a 500 LED light version mounted on the side of a building in Philadelphia.

The building-sized Pong marks the beginning of the Philadelphia tech week on 20 April. It will be mounted on the side of the Cira Centre office building from 19 April and use part of its vast 1,514 LED light array. 

Special software has been developed by Frank Lee, co-director of  the Drexel Game Design Program designed to help computer science graduates at the city's Drexel University get into game development.

The building-side LEDs will be turned into 20 x 13 blocks of super-sized pixels, which the game of Pong will then be played out on from across the river next to the building. Pong fans will have a chance to play the game on 19 and 24 April.

Lee has already done a trial run for the software, as well as testing Space Invaders in a similar-sized simulation. But Pong has to be the retro gaming fan's weapon of choice.

Developed in 1972 by Atari, Pong is regarded by most as the all-time great classic video game and is available free on iOS as part of Atari's Greatest Hits app.

“The video game industry is nearly a $70 billion enterprise globally and growing, especially in this region. I hope this project will help people look at gaming in a more positive light, as a way to bring people together both young and old," said Lee.

"I especially want this to encourage kids to follow their dreams wherever they may lead, whether it is making the world’s biggest videogame or anything else.”