Germany streets ahead of the arcade game

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8th Dec 2014
Written by: Will Jones

Making light of the traffic: arcade games to entertain pedestrians

Why didn’t the German cross the road?

Because ActiWait.

You heard it here first.

The introduction of a new invention designed to “convert boring waiting times into positive experiences” means there is now nothing pedestrian about the crossings of Hildesheim, a small town in northern Germany.

ActiWait, which was originally called StreetPong, can be found attached to lampposts and allows people to play the classic arcade game Pong against one another from opposite sides of the street while waiting to cross.

The creation is the work of Sandro Engel and Amelie Kunzler, two students at Hildesheim’s University of Applied Sciences and Arts (HAWK), who have been developing the prototype since 2012. In that year, they released a video on YouTube which explained the idea, and it quickly went viral, being watched, shared and liked more than 5 million times.

The device, which finally made its debut at the end of November, will be tested for the next month to gauge the continuing interest of the general public. It is operated by a touch screen and includes a timer to show people how long they have until they can cross the street – or, perhaps more importantly, how long they have to secure an epic victory against the total stranger across the road.

Here is a video showing the original concept:

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