The great Tetris wars just reached new extremes, as a group of German students converted a huge university office building into the world’s largest computer screen to play the classic game. Though Tetris itself has been around since 1980, only in 2001 did a separate bunch of Germans first decide it would be fun to play the game at such great heights (and flights). Since then, Americans in Providence, RI, Boston, and Philadelphia have all developed their own massive renditions, but they all pale in comparison to the new German rendition.
“Project Lighthouse,” as it’s called, required the Christian-Albrechts University group to install 56,448 LEDs in each of the 392 windows on the front of the building. And after all that work, they’re not simply playing Tetris. They also use the 1,700-inch monitor that happens to be a school office building as the backlight of a club, blitzing the screen with disco designs and phrases like “INFO” and “MATH” that can be knocked down Breakout-style.
“We put approximately 5,000 hours of work into this,” 23-year-old project manager Jonas Lutz told The Local Germany, an English language news site in Germany.
Think your school wouldn’t be into a final project like this? The university did more than just approve the transformation of the building, it ponied up the funds to make it happen. The school’s €30,000 (about $34,188 USD) seems to be paying off, though, as crowds frequently gather to watch the light show, and its professors can run experiments they wouldn’t have otherwise been able to test.
“At the moment, we’re planning on a project concerning Li-Fi [a system to use rapidly flashing lights rather than radio signals to transmit data],” university press officer Jan Winters told The Local.
Even if the science isn’t really the point, Winters is just glad to see the students so engaged in their work for once. He even has a theory about why they enjoyed converting the building into a massive light show so much more than taking final exams.
“It’s quite special because usually projects are initiated by the teaching body and are carried out by students. This time it’s the other way around.”
While professors in the U.S. might be the ones urging students to spend more time in the library, Winter doesn’t even mind the distraction. The LEDs only cost a few cents to run for an hour, and the light really isn’t hurting anyone.
“It’s not like we have a constitutional right to darkness in this country,” he said.