LED Tetris Table

No hackspace is complete without an arcade game project or two. Usually these projects are time-worn generic cabinets scarred by the frustrated kicks of a million teenagers, the decades-old Japanese CRT monitors inside of which are ready to shuffle off this mortal coil. You are lucky if you catch them on a rare moment of functioning, and their owners are always hovering ready to attend to any soon-to-expire electronics.

York Hackspace have done things a little differently though. Their member [John] has an arcade game project, but instead of an aged cabinet he’s produced his own tabletop game with an array of multicolour addressable LED strips powered by a Raspberry Pi. Each LED sits in its own foam cell under the translucent surface, so it forms a low resolution color block display.

It’s a Tetris game in its first incarnation, but there is also a copy of Snake underway for it. If it catches your attention you can write your own games, because all its resources are available in a GitHub repository.

This is one of many Tetris interfaces we’ve seen over the years. Largest was probably this skyscraper, but this oscilloscope version is particularly well-executed. One of our most recent forays into Tetris-land though is also one of the most technically interesting, a 446-byte implementation in a master boot record.

7 thoughts on “LED Tetris Table

    1. I took a year off from life and went and bought about 60 arcade games / pinball machines. I fixed one a week and sold it and that is all I did for a year. The money wasn’t as bad as some might think when some pinballs machines will go for up to $7000.

  1. For some reason I always viewed Tetris as a home version of a factory worker.

    But assuming you are into Tetris this table isn’t too shabby. However I for me would have less colorful buttons and done away with the logo as it is. But that’s an aesthetic taste thing. I would have gone for metallic buttons.
    But seeing how low the table is the colorful nature of the buttons might have to do with it being geared towards a younger user?

    1. Hahaha, yep button color choices and decals – definitely the key elements here! ;)

      I like the diffusion layer that makes a single Neopixel from the strip illuminate a reasonably accurate square within a little walled cell – Game of Life would work well on this (albeit not interactive), Pong’s an obvious one, but would Snake need more buttons?

  2. Nicely done. The top looks very nice even if things are a little sparse below.

    I like how he saved himself a lot o work by using strip LEDs.

    Makes me wonder about making one. I would probably use and Arduino as that’s more than enough for 8 – 10 switches / LED strip and layout the buttons differently so that you can play dual player snake. Hmmm, most expensive parts if probably the perspex, I could just sand some acrylic.

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