Monday, October 29, 2012

Play Tetris on a pumpkin with... Pumpktris?

It doesn't just look like Tetris... it's fully playable (source)

One of the best things about Halloween is how it encourages a spirit of creativity in the old and young alike.  The masterful zombie pumpkins currently on display at the soon-to-be-submerged New York Botanical Gardens are one example of the type of creativity that can be expressed through the medium of pumpkin carving... but for all their artistic merit and presentation, they're just static pieces of (incredible) art.

DIY enthusiast and maker par excellence Nathan Pryor sought to create a pumpkin display that was a bit more interactive but no less artistic this year.  After taking a look at an old notebook of ideas that had "make Tetris pumpkins" scribbled in it, Nathan decided to bring the idea to reality in a slightly different fashion.

One that involved a matrix of 128 LEDs and some basic programming thrown in for good measure, because... why not?

The end result - which Nathan details on his blog - is a pumpkin with a fully playable game of Tetris built into in. Players control the motion and rotation of the tetronimos with a joystick that Nathan masterfully hooked up to the pumpkin's stem and gameplay otherwise works exactly as it does in a normal game of Tetris.

It's staggering what you can achieve with the right attitude, LEDs, and the internet these days.

Amazingly, Nathan completed the job in an estimated twelve hours which is about how long it took me to carve Perry the Platypus into a pumpkin last night.  While nowhere near as impressive as the video above, here's my annual crack at pumpkin carving displayed next to my wife's far more intricate Totoro...

And finally, if anyone's read down this far, there's a good chance that Kawaiian Punch will be offline for the next couple of days depending on the wrath of Hurricane Sandy.  So long as we have power and internet connectivity, daily updates will continue as normal.