The Megascroller, For Video Games In The Round


The folks at NYC Resistor have a thing for circular displays, it seems. Their earlier Hexascroller was a ceiling mounted display with six 30×7 displays – good enough to display the time and a few textual message in six directions. The Octoscroller bumped up the display capability with eight 16×32 RGB LED panels. Now the Megascroller, a 32-sided 512×64 display is hanging in the hackerspace, complete with 360° Mario and Pong.

The Megascroller is one of [Trammell Hudson]’s projects, constructed out of sixty-four 32×16 RGB LED matrices. That’s an impressive amount of controllable LEDs, that required a lot of processing power: namely, the BeagleBone-powered LEDscape board used in their earlier Octoscroller

As far as applications go, they naturally have Pong, but a more interesting application is the side-scrolling Mario that requires you to move around the display as you play. You can check out a video of that below.

If you’d like to see the Megascroller in person, as well as a whole bunch of other crazy blinking interactive projects, NYC Resistor is holding a an interactive show this weekend, beer provided.

[flickr video=]

23 thoughts on “The Megascroller, For Video Games In The Round

      1. It’s already over-engineered if it isn’t practical or useful. lol

        I could see this maybe being the beginnings of, say a virtual product display in a showroom. Or perhaps virtual reality entertainment. But as a game thingy, hmm…

        1. Mario might be a poor choice but I imagine it would be cool in a multi-player Zeldaesque or Adventure kind of game. It would certainly add an interesting element and possibly open the door to a new game type.

          I do tend to think more possibilities would open up if the display was “inside out”. I’m really lazy and can’t see myself running around in circles while playing a video game.

          1. Now inside out does sound cool. A display that wraps around you could incorporate peripheral vision into the game play.

            Perhaps the Mario example would work if it drew the tiles beyond the screen but the player stayed centered in your view.

            I guess I am getting at that walking around the screen to play a 2D scroller doesn’t seem intuitive at all.

            Maybe if it tracked your movement and it followed you like say in a turret or gun bay of a plane.

          2. You’d just need to get Mario’s X position from the emulated NES’s RAM. There’s only 2K to choose from. You’d have to do it separately for each game, but so many NES games have been hacked by now it can’t be -too- hard.

            I thought it was motorised to spin when I saw the pic. Yeah, having to walk round, especially with all those wires everywhere, really doesn’t seem practical. Not that “practical” will have been on the list when they invented it.

          3. I’ve long ago discovered that anybody who says, “it’s not too hard….” when talking about anything software or hardware related haven’t actually done anything themselves relating to the aforementioned software or hardware.

            This is right up there with whatever broken hardware is being sold on eBay or Craigslist with the description, “it’s only a problem with X, it should be an easy fix…..”


          4. I admit I haven’t done it myself, and am currently in soldering hell trying to get a much smaller LED matrix working. But I’ve seen it done on the web, so I know it CAN be done. And I understand emulation and NESses. Quite a few NES games have been analysed and had the odd feature connected out to hardware. Certainly the Action Replay / Game Genie etc relies on being able to divine memory addresses representing certain game values, people have done work with those (for years!) to create new cheats.


            Here you go. For Super Mario 1 and 3, lots of data including Mario’s X position address. People have done a LOT of shit on the NES, especially emulated ones! That’s why I didn’t think it’d be -too- hard. Because there’s a huge amount of resources out there for it.

            Took 5 minutes to Google, if I were being serious there’s much more to see.

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