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Pop-Up Pong Game Promotes Storefront Interaction

Pop-Up Pong Game Promotes Storefront Interaction
Arts & Culture

NYU pop-up space features a larger-than-life pong game that encourages users to make real-time connections

Christina Mauro
  • 18 may 2015

New York University’s Center for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP) has partnered with experiential design agency Urban Matter Inc. to develop an interactive storefront based on the classic 80s arcade game Pong. The project, titled Play Array, allows users to interact with a larger-than-life pong display hosted in a storefront pop-up space and aims to encourage participation in a public space.

playarray_pong1.jpg
The storefront boasts a 6×8 interactive pixel grid made up of 18.5” circular bulbs lit internally with a ring of LED lights.

Prompted to connect to the domain Playpong.me, any passerby can interact with the game by using their personal smartphone—in a motion that mimics that of driving a car—to control the game’s iconic paddles and defeat a passing by opponent. Each player is assigned “green” or “purple” as reflected in the LED colors, and is allotted five misses before it’s GAME OVER. The game’s LED-lit bulbs are made from polyethylene and are held in place by low budget milk crates.

playarray_bulbs.jpg
The project was developed as an effort to bring gaming out of users’ phones and computers and into the real world to re-establish the interpersonal and often spontaneous connectivity that’s been lost since heyday of arcades. Launched on May 8, the game will be on display for a few weeks aiming to generate awareness and interest around the topics of urban science, citizen science, urban innovation, technology and art—all themes close to the CUSP philosophy.

Beyond the more practical urban studies, the game is representative of the increasingly large industry of videogames and e-sports. As gaming at large continues to permeate our culture, artists and creators will continue to push the envelope, accelerating advancements in this technology, and exploring different ways to merge online gaming with real-time experiences.

Urban Matter

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+pong game
+retail
+technology
+Urban Matter Inc.
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+Videogames
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