The World’s Biggest Jenga Game, Featuring Caterpillars and 600-Pound Blocks 

The Citizen's Guide to the Future
April 16 2014 3:17 PM

The World’s Biggest Jenga Game, Featuring Caterpillars and 600-Pound Blocks 

Jenga has always made me uneasy, so dramatic are the results of a failed move. I prefer to lose discreetly. For some reason, I feel much differently about this video stunt by Caterpillar, in which giant 600-pound Jenga blocks are carefully plucked by various models of the company’s Cat line. The video, which features the best use of Grieg since The Social Network, delightfully shows the familiar yellow machines grabbing the blocks and lopping them on the top of the stack, blowing out tense little clouds of dust with each fateful drop. Since the set features just 27 blocks, half the game’s regulation 54, nature quickly takes its course.

The video’s presumptive point is to show the durability of Caterpillar’s machines as part of its "Built For It" campaign. But the inadvertent result may be to make us much more demanding of our high-concept publicity stunts. Next I would like to request the Boston Dynamics robots play an oversized game of Connect Four. What do you think, Google?

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Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.

Jeffrey Bloomer is a Slate assistant editor focused on video. Follow him on Twitter.

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