MIT hackers play TETRIS on a whole building

153 windows become game displays for playable version of building block game


Last Friday night they did it by playing Tetris – turning the 153 windows on one side of MIT's Green Building into the display for a playable, unusually architectural version of the most addictive game ever invented for computer(ish things).

They put a console at ground level to control the game, scrolled TETRIS across the windows at the start of each new game and made each of three levels more difficult by making the colors of each block paler and therefore harder to place as the player advances.

It's not clear how they changed the color of the windows, though PCWorld theorizes it was with wireless LEDs in each window..

It's also not clear who did it, but it's not the first time. Playing Tetris on the Green Building has for years been considered "the Holy Grail of hacks," according to, which is dedicated to the history, art and science of the MIT hack.

MIT hacks are to practical jokes as sandlots are to Fenway Park

What MIT calls hacks other schools call "pranks," though the level of planning, creativity, design and execution aren't even on the same planet, let alone the same page in a dictionary.

MIT hacks are supposed to be clever, funny, surprising, difficult to execute and often involve advanced skills in engineering, project planning and management and subterfuge. There are rumors hackers sometimes suborn the loyalty of MIT employees to allow or assist in the hacks, but none have been caught or publicly named

MIT hackers, whose work, do their work under serious threat of arrest and sanction by MIT Campus Police, who are pressed by administrators to control the threat of whimsy at any cost (though administrators and other preventers of mischief brag about each hack after the fact).

Photo Credit: Nygren via PCWorld

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