The Tel Aviv-Yafo municipality has brought back classic arcade games of the Seventies and Eighties and is inviting the public – residents and tourists alike – to take part in the fun. Every Thursday after dark, the City Hall building will be transformed into a giant computer screen with Tetris, Pong and Snake available for free play.
It’s every gamer’s dream to play their favorite games on a gigantic scale and Tel Aviv’s City Hall façade features a 3,000-square-meter screen comprised of 480 LED lights.
The municipality placed two huge joysticks (1.5m by 1.5m) in Rabin Square, adjacent to City Hall, to let players control the game. A spokesperson tells ISRAEL21c that the municipality recently invested in a new screen and “playing games seems like a great way to utilize it for the enjoyment of the residents and visitors.”
The nighttime public gaming fun was launched on August 30 with a Tetris tournament to mark the upcoming DLD Tel Aviv Innovation Festival (Sept. 25-29, 2016).
This is the first time a building in Israel has been converted for a gaming event, but it’s been done before elsewhere. In 2012, hackers turned the 21-story Green Building at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology into a giant Tetris screen. In March of this year, students at Germany’s Christian Albrechts University turned the 14-floor main building into a big arcade game.
While today’s video games are far more animated and complex, the arcade games of the past still have a following. Tetris, the tile-matching puzzle video game, made its debut in June 1984 and changed the world of video gaming. Thirty-two years later, it is still hailed as a favorite pastime.
Snake is an arcade game in which a line grows in length and has to be steered around obstacles. The game originated as Blockade in 1976 and saw a resurgence of interest in 1998 when it was preloaded into Nokia mobile phones.
And Pong, a two-dimensional table-tennis game released by Atari in 1972, was the first sports arcade video game to reach mainstream popularity.
Click here to find out about lots of other cool things to do on hot summer nights in Tel Aviv.