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Tetris is So Much Better When it’s on Fire

Put on your pyro hats and head for the Playa, because this year’s Burning Man festival will feature a playable art installation for the tile-matching titan in all of us.

Fire tetris-gif-08102015

“Well, it’s Tetris … except, it’s on fire,” jokes creator Jody ‘Firetiger’ McIntyre. It might be a simple design, but judging by the over $11,000 dollars donated to the Fire Tetris Kickstarter page, it seems people are more than game. And we can see why.

The structure’s 27-foot (9 meter) frame is made up of 200 “flamepixels,” laser-cut squares of steel, each fashioned with an effects head and thermal igniter programmed to set the pixel ablaze when a player moves or drops a tetromino (yes, that’s really what a Tetris block is called; the more you know).

“Burning man has historically had lots of really amazing large-scale fire art with giant flames,” says McIntyre. “So, we took the opposite approach and asked, ‘What’s the smallest flame we can make and still have it look cool?’ We initially thought we would spell words or something, but then one day we realized … if we made 200 of these blocks, people could actually play Tetris.”

Not only will Fire Tetris feature the standard solo mode, but McIntyre and his team have also programmed a four-person multiplayer battle game. “We decided to go with classic controllers,” he explains. “You’ll have a [D-pad] for left, right, up, and down, plus a button for drop.”

The team estimates they’ll burn through 3,500 lbs of propane during the festival – but they’re confident in the product, and excited to see how the first run goes. What comes next? We can only hope this thing gets bigger and badder in years to come.

More shots of the build and the final product in the gallery below.


IMAGES: McIntyre/Fire Tetris


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