Hackers turn MIT building into giant, playable Tetris game

It’s not the first time a building was turned into a giant representation of the video game Tetris, as even in 2000 a Brown University group pulled off a similar stunt on the 10-story Sciences Library, but in that case they had permission of the university; not so in this case.

Hackers turned the Massachusetts Institute of Tehnology’s (MIT) Green Building into a huge, glorified – and playable – Tetris game. Also known as Building 54, the building houses MIT’s Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Science.

According to the MIT Gallery of Hacks (indeed, run by some at MIT), “hackers have long considered ‘Tetris on the Green Building’ to be the Holy Grail of hacks, as the side of the building is a wonderful grid for the game.” On Friday, April 20, 2012, hackers succeeded in “gaming the system.”

As seen at the Gallery of Hacks, there was a gaming console nearby, controlling the immense playing field. After the words “TETRIS” scrolled across the building the building would then progress into the first level.

Difficulty increased as levels continued, as in the real game. The second level began with more pale colors, making it more difficult to identify the type of block falling. In tht third level, the colors shifted onscreen. Once the game was lost, all of the blocks would fall to the bottom of the building.

Most don’t have to be told the history of Tetris, or at least, how to play it. First released in the USSR in 1984, it is a tile-matching puzzle video game. The objective of the game is to manipulate game pieces by moving them sideways and rotating them, with the objective of creating a complete horizontal line of blocks without gaps.

When such a line is created, it vanishes, and any block above the deleted line will fall. The game ends when the stack of game pieces reaches the top of the playing field.

Tetris is considered on of the all-time greatest video games ever and has won numerous awards and accolades. In 2007, for example, Tetris finished second among IGN’s “100 Greatest Video Games of All Time.”