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King Pong

A group of German hackers in Berlin has found a way to play a game of "Pong" on a screen that's 8 stories high.


Love letters on the Blinkenlights display

The Chaos Computer Club has transformed the former East German Education Ministry in Berlin into a huge display dubbed "Blinkenlights." It’s a dazzling lights display that Internet users can programme and even play Pong on.

Lights in different rooms are turned on and off at different times to make patterns, which are dramatically visible to the holiday revellers milling about on Alexanderplatz.

The top eight floors on one side of the building have been turned into a 144-pixel "screen," with computer-controlled lamps behind the windows.

Three computers, software, and 144 electrical relays controls when each light should turn on or off, creating a giant moving display.

Internet browsers can get in on the action by going to the site and directing the lights themselves.

They can download software to make their own "movie" - which, if it's good enough, will be shown on the building at regular intervals. Or they can play Pong, just by calling the right number on their mobile phone.

The CCC reports about 10,000 visitors a day at the website, where a webcam gives the latest patterns flashing on the building, updated every half-minute or so. People from all over the world, including Greece, Croatia and Argentina, have sent in their own "movies" to be shown on the building.

"It's pretty far away from Cinemascope, but in the end you can tell the same story with it," said CCC hacker Tim Pritlove, one of the originators of the Blinkenlights.

The Chaos Computer Club said the display would remain until February 2002 when it will be upgraded.