Tetris on the Green Building

Location: Green Building (Building 54)
Date: Evening of April 20, 2012.

Hackers turned MIT's Green Building into a giant, playable, and multi-color Tetris game. A console allowed players to move, rotate, and drop blocks.

The Green Building (Building 54) is home to the MIT Earth and Planetary Sciences department.

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.

The game started off scrolling the words "TETRIS" and then would start into the first level. As the player progressed, the second level would start with more pale colors, making it harder to identify the type of block. The third level involved the colors shifting on-screen.

Upon losing the game, all of the blocks would fall to the bottom of the building.

Animation of the end-game

Some videos of Tetris being played on the Green Building were captured and posted to YouTube:

The hack appeared to have been installed by deploying multi-color lighting modules onto the window sills of most of the rooms on the building's river side, creating a 9x17 pixel RGB display. This may have been the second largest full-color video display in the US.

Hackers have apparently been talking about Tetris on the Green Building since at least 1993 when the Hacking Series Committee Calendar (a meta-hack making fun of the Lecure Series Committee Calendars) declared that Tetris on the Green Building would be deployed on April 24th. The hackers in this case were 4 days too early.

Tetris has been played on buildings before, however. For example, in 2000, students at the Brown University in Providence, RI installed a playable Tetris on a 10-story Sciences Library.

A story published in The Tech, MIT's student newspaper, provides some technical details as well as a link to the source code on github.

Additional Information and Photo Credits