A beautiful game of Lights Out


About a year ago, [Anthony] decided to embark on his biggest project to date. He wanted something with a ton of LEDs, so when the idea of recreating the classic electronic Lights Out game came to mind, he knew he had the makings of a killer project. The finished Lights Out arcade box is a wonderful piece of work with sixteen 17-segment displays and just as many LED illuminated arcade buttons.

By far the most impressive feature of [Anthony]‘s project are the two rows of 17-segment displays. These are controlled by two MAX6954 LED display drivers on a beautiful wire wrapped board. The 16 buttons for the game are translucent arcade buttons that compliment the RGB LED strip very nicely.

A great display and a whole bunch of LEDs don’t make a game, though. [Anthony] came across this article on JSTOR that told him how to create new 4×4 games of Lights Out and solve them algorithmically to get the total number of moves required to solve the puzzle. As you can see in this video, it’s a little hard to solve the puzzle in the minimum amount of moves. Still, we have to commend [Anthony] for a great project.

Over engineering a game of Lights Out

[Bertho] might have outdone himself this time. He built a Lights Out clone for the 7400 logic competition.

Lights Out is an electronic toy sold by Tiger in the mid 90s. The goal of the game is to turn a 5 by 5 grid of light up buttons off. There’s a catch, though – pressing a button toggles the state of the four surrounding buttons. Check out this Flash game that’s faithful to the original.

[Bertho] read a few Lights Out fan pages and set out to design the circuit. Most of the build is made up of shift registers: the ‘game state’ is saved in five 74hc164 shift registers and a 4557 programmable register. The board is set with a random number generator that toggles bits in the game register until a solvable puzzle is found. A truly spectacular build.

For the light-up buttons themselves, [Bertho] found an old Hack A Day post that describes putting tact switches underneath a LED. The project was put into a nice Plexiglas enclosure after 15 hours of soldering. [Bertho] was kind enough to put a video up of the game in action. Check it out after the break.

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