City Lights to feature ‘world’s largest’ outdoor Pong game

The City Lights holiday lighting ceremony in Downtown Kansas City will feature a whole new bounce, when the 10th annual event arrives on Friday evening, Nov. 16. This year’s ceremony will feature a 22-story, working Pong™ game on the south side of the Downtown Marriott.

“This will be a holiday lighting ceremony like nothing you’ve ever seen,” said Mike Hurd, marketing director for the Downtown Council and member of the City Lights organizing committee. “We are working with Atari, who is celebrating the 40th anniversary of the original Pong, in an attempt to set the Guinness Book of World Records record for the world’s largest Pong game.”

The City Lights event will celebrate its 10th anniversary at 6 p.m. Friday with the traditional tree-lighting ceremony at Barney Allis Plaza. The beloved event marks the official start of the Salvation Army’s fundraising campaign. Here is a quick guide to City Lights 2012:

WHAT? City Lights, the annual Downtown holiday lighting ceremony, is preparing for its 10th annual event. The celebration is free and open to the public.

WHEN? The City Lights ceremony will run from 6:00 to 6:30 p.m. Complimentary refreshments will be served prior to the event, beginning at 5:00 p.m.

WHERE? The ceremony is at the Barney Allis Plaza, 12th & Wyandotte, although the lighting display encompasses several nearby buildings including the Kansas City Marriott Downtown, which features spectacular, computer-generated holiday images and a special, enormous version of the Pong video game across its 22-story façade.

WHY? City Lights is the official kickoff of the Salvation Army’s annual Christmas Campaign, which raises money to fund Salvation Army programs year-round.

WHO? City Lights is sponsored each year by the Kansas City Marriott Downtown, the Downtown Council of Kansas City and The Salvation Army. The event will also feature entertainment by the Raymore-Peculiar High School marching band and a special appearance by Santa Claus.

PONG! This year, the south face of the Downtown Marriott will be transformed into the world’s largest video game – specifically, Pong – for City Lights. Atari is celebrating the 40th anniversary of Pong this month by launching the world’s first official Pong game in the App Store for iPhones and iPads on Nov. 29.

WORLD’S RECORD? In an effort to support City Lights and the Salvation Army, Atari has submitted and received approval from the Guinness Book of World Records to move forward with an attempt to set the record for “The World’s Largest Game of Pong”.