The first thing I saw after arriving at the end of the Ben Franklin Parkway was a man in a Tetris costume being interviewed by a camera crew. The second thing I saw were a bunch of teenagers singing the Game Boy Tetris theme a capella. I didn’t know this was going to be such a big deal, but it was Tetris. On a skyscraper.
Yes, people played Tetris on the side of the Cira Centre as the kickoff to Philly Tech Week, and it was pretty darn cool.
I went to see Pong played on the Cira Centre last year, and it had nowhere near the crowd this year's did. Last year I remember freezing with a few other people, hoping the rain would hold off, watching a few rounds of uninspiring Pong play. But Tetris! What a great game. I can't see any type of tiling without mentally positioning them into Tetris-shaped blocks; you just don't do this with Pong. And so there were hundreds and hundreds of people eating from food trucks at The Oval and watching people play Tetris — as well as other games, including a giant, light-up version of Connect 4.
The event didn't go off without a hitch — there were long delays at times between games — but could everything possibly go perfectly when you're playing Tetris on a 29-story building's LED screen? But what really made the event great was how much everyone got into it. People would shout out advice to participants, they'd groan when people made mistakes, cheer when they cleared a line — one player worked his way out of a jam and I thought people were going to start a parade down the Parkway. And they even hummed the Tetris theme to the game of Tetris.
And now, obviously, a few (dubiously cropped and poorly lit) GIFs of Tetris on the Cira Center. Thanks to Technically Philly's Juliana Reyes for encouraging me to make these.
What I really want to know is what drivers, likely unaware of this event, had going through their heads when they looked over and saw an enormous game of Tetris being played on the side of a building.
This is just some quality Tetris'ing right here.
This one, not so much. But who cares! Even if you struggle at Tetris, it's okay. There will always be another time to play, whether it's on an old Nintendo Game Boy or a 29-story skyscraper.
Follow @dhm on Twitter.