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Bored Waiting at a Crosswalk? Now You Can Play Video Games With People on the Other Side!

What’s more annoying or boring than walking up to a pedestrian crossing just as the lights change, and having to stand around and wait for all the other traffic and pedestrians to do their thing?

Especially when you are in desperate need of a coffee and the coffee shop is just over the road, and there’s a mob of office workers on the other crossing that are now going to get in there before you do an make a huge queue ordering double mocha frappachinos while all you want is to get in and out with a tall black, like what happened to me this morning. Ugh.

Well now that dull boring wait at the lights just got a little bit more bearable, thanks to the development of Street Pong by Sandro Engel and Holger Michel, students at the HAWK Hildesheim in Germany.

This simple but ingenious idea works by attaching a console and screen to the light pole at each end of the crossing. On the screen, the time until your turn to cross is displayed, and (the best part), you can play a game of pong with a person at the other end of the crossing. What an awesome idea!

Besides eliminating some of the drudgery of waiting for your turn to cross, the designers wanted to explore what they call ‘playful urban interactions’. They chose pong for the game to be installed on these units due to it being easy to play, easy to understand in a short time, and the fact that it’s been around since 1972 means it’s widely known and has great appeal as a game to play for just a few minutes at a time.

Originally designed as just a speculative project for a class the designers were taking, after the video got a huge response, the game is now being installed at a pedestrian crossing in Hildesheim. Hopefully it catches on and we can see this sort of thing popping up at boring crosswalks all over the world!


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