For fun, I recently prototyped a little 'PICO-8 micro-console' (compact enclosure with a Raspberry Pi and square display that boots directly into SPLORE):
It's certainly less practical than commercial off-the-shelf handhelds that support PICO-8 -- it has no battery or keypad (you pair a bluetooth controller to it), but practical wasn't really the goal-- I wanted to build something designed around a high-quality square display.
Internals being tested (Pi Zero W, Pimoroni Hyperpixel 720x720 screen (used pixel-perfect with 5x5 pixels and a minimal 40px black border), USB DAC -> speaker, etc):
I plan to make a smoother white enclosure, this was just a 3D printed first pass with a lot of hand-filing to get everything to fit and figure out hardware. Maybe some day I'll make an extended-case version with a custom PCB to add battery / charging / integrated buttons... but it's nice to call a prototype "done enough to use and share".
I saw someone post a suggestion for SPLORE to add a "play random cart" feature (especially for new game exploration on a handheld without keyboard/web browser, once you get past the list of Featured and New loaded in SPLORE). I liked that idea.
While having that in SPLORE would be cleanest and would stay up to date, I hacked together a quick prototype for myself that loads a random Featured Cart (from a scraped list of the 340 carts on the Featured board as of June 2021) to play around with.
If using it on a handheld it requires an internet connection, of course.
It also adds a Select/Enter menu option to each cart that lets you chain to a new random cart.
[ edit: see follow-up post for updated cart ]
For the newest #tweettweetjam I made a very basic space shooter (layout inspired by Gyruss/Tempest) in <560 characters. It even includes a bit of sound via poke-ing to the sfx memory, since the jam rules say "code only" without separate gfx/sfx assets.
Use ⬅️/➡️ to move, ❎ to fire.
(I may write up a commented / uncompressed version of the code at some point...)
On the last evening of #tweettweetjam I was playing around with free body motion, made a prototype... it evolved into a ~1000 character toy... and I managed to squeeze it down to 560 just before the deadline. The math is buggy when paths get too close to centers, but I sort of like the look so I didn't even try to "fix" it...
Arrow keys move the attractor, 🅾️/Z switches control, ❎/X resizes.
My entry in #TweetTweetJam, in 554 characters.
Cross four levels of increasingly busy traffic, using only the up and down arrow keys!
This was my first time trying a minimal-code jam-- I read various forum tips but I'm sure there's still some compression to be had. Since the jam rules were to use source code only, no spritesheet/map/sfx data, I had the idea of Poke-ing a basic sprite into memory and then using sspr() and palt() to reuse it in different forms... and a little game evolved from that.
Years ago while bored on a train with a deck of cards, I made up this solitaire game (for all I know, it may already exist under another name). So I've turned it into a little Pico-8 cart, my first "finished" game.
(as sounds common, I've started at least 4 other ideas... all in various WIP / playing-around stages, it's just too much fun to try new things...)
Arrange cards to make as many good poker hands as possible. For an extra challenge, play in "Perfectionist" mode where you only score points if you make a pair or better in all 12 hands (across, down, and diagonal), which takes some careful play and a bit of luck.
My personal best score for some time was 44, though I recently managed a 57 when the stars aligned.
Program a tiny virtual console, the "Turtle-2", with increasing levels of capability at your fingertips.
This isn't "done" (there isn't a lot of error checking so there are various ways to make it crash, and I want to add more SFX and animations and maybe figure out custom background music), but it's a playable version of the core ideas. If anyone checks this out I'm curious what you think, whether you find it fun to play around with, and whether you create any interesting designs (share screenshots!)
I'm on the fence about trying to extend it to challenges / puzzles or just leave it as this open sandbox.
I just came across Pico-8, did a few tutorials last weekend, and here's my first cart-- a spaceship flying over an endless 2D parallax scrolling background (with more layers that get added in over time).
The whole experience was a lot of fun for someone who rarely writes software-- just poking around within the tool and trying things out. Thank you to everyone who developed Pico-8 and posted tutorials and tips!
I didn't plan to share anything because this isn't a "game" and I expect the code has all sorts of ugly parts I should clean up. But I saw a talk about how part of the concept is just encouraging sharing in any form. So why not... feedback welcome.
p.s. thanks to @Gruber for the music shared in the Pico-8 Tunes #1 cart.