Crawling a Dungeon, 64 Pixels at a Time

The trend in video games is toward not being able to differentiate them from live-action theatrical releases, and games studios are getting hard to tell from movie studios. But quality graphics don’t always translate into quality gameplay, and a lot can be accomplished with minimalist graphics. Turn the clock back a few decades and think about the quarters sucked up by classics like Pac-Man, Space Invaders, and even Pong if you have any doubts about that.

But even Pong had more than 64 pixels to work with, which is why this dungeon-crawler game on an 8×8 RGB matrix is so intriguing. You might think [Stolistic]’s game would be as simple as possible but think again. The video below shows it in action, and while new users will need a little help figuring out what the various colors mean, the game is remarkably engaging. The structure of the dungeon is random with multiple levels to unlock via the contents of power-up chests, and there are mobs to battle in a zoomed-in display. The game runs on an Arduino Uno and the matrix is driven by a bunch of 74HC595 shift registers.

It’s fun to see what can be accomplished with as little as possible. Looking for more low-res goodness? Check out this minimalist animated display, or a Geiger counter with a matrix display.

7 thoughts on “Crawling a Dungeon, 64 Pixels at a Time

  1. This is super cool. You could really do a lot with the concept. I’d love to see a big ol’ atomic-age style arcade cabinet with metal art deco flourishes and a 64-pixel VFD display of some kind on the front. Like some kind of retro game system from the 40’s that never existed.

    1. What? When I hear ‘8 bit graphics’ that means 8 bits of color-depth, not “total screen resolution times number of colors possible per pixel”

      How did you come up with 192 bit? 64 pixel display times three (1 for R, 1for G, and 1 for B)? Does this display truly only show three different colors?

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