Before he was a world famous starchitect, Bjarke Ingels was an 1980s teenager, pumping kroner into Space Invaders and other classic coin-op video games at disreputable Copenhagen arcades with his fellow grody video game nerds. Ingels has been something of a self-proclaimed gamer ever since, which must be why his firm has launched a fun alternate version of its already amusing website as a tribute to a classic arcade game.
Created with the help of web developers Ruby Studios, Arkinoid replaces BIG’s architectural portfolio with an interactive HTML5 web game. With each BIG project represented by a small brick, visitors are encouraged to break them by bouncing a ball back and forth with a paddle they control with their mouse or keyboard. The layouts of the bricks change each level, even morphing into classic 8-bit designs, like that of the original Space Invaders. Like the classic ’80s games it’s referencing, you can even rack up high-scores in Arkinoid–although good luck beating the current high score: 9,223,372,036,854,775,807. You’d have to be some sort of Billy Mitchell-sized gaming legend to beat that.
According to BIG, the name Arkinoid is a portmantaeu of the Danish word arkitektur and the ’80s game Arkanoid by Taito, although surely not calling it Bjarkenoid is a missed opportunity. Also, as a classic gaming purist, I’m not sure you can really call any game an Arkanoid tribute if it doesn’t feature power-ups that turn your paddle into a laser-firing tank. Still, in the grand annals of notoriously bad architecture websites, Arkinoid might be the most fun–even if it’s more impenetrable from an information standpoint.