For a long time I’ve been thinking about getting out of my comfort zone and try
to develop a game for something like the Sega Mega Drive or maybe the Atari
2600. But for a spoiled high-level developer like me that would be quite a daunting
task so I’ve postponed indefinitely.
Then last week, in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, I stumbeld upon this
awesome project called PICO-8. To quote the official website:
PICO-8 is a fantasy console for making, sharing and playing tiny games
and other computer programs. It feels like a regular console, but runs on
Windows / Mac / Linux.
It’s a virtual console with an 128x128pixel screen that features a complete
IDE for you to writes games in:
Games and applications are developed in Lua and there’s a standard library
with some low-level functions, and a basic 60fps update/draw loop to get
you started but the rest is up to you. There’s some limits as well, for example
on the ‘cartrdige’ size, meaning you don’t have unlimited resources at your
The timing of this discovery (in the midst of corona induced social lockdown)
couldn’t be better so I’ve been spending the last few days building a Tower
Defense game for PICO-8. It’s a work in progess but you can try it out
on the link below. The source code is not on Github, because you can simply download
the ‘cartridge’ from your browser and import it to PICO-8 to see how it
works. The PICO-8 comunity is very much about sharing in this way.
I haven’t really looked at any other PICO-8 code, nor am I very experienced
in Lua so the code is probably not best practice. But hey that was not the idea here;
the idea was to have some fun and I can safely say that PICO-8 is the coolest thing I’ve
seen all year.
Check out my game (under construction) by clicking the image below: