Tag Archives: tetris

Play a game of Tetris on a pumpkin


Tetris + Pumpkin = Pumpktris!


What do you get when you combine a pumpkin with Tetris? Pumpktris, of course! Three years ago, Nathan Pryor built a fully-playable version of the classic game right into the Halloween doorstep decoration with LEDs for the display and the stem serving as its controller.

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Instead of the glow of a candle, this particular pumpkin got his illumination courtesy of 128 LEDs embedded inside. The Maker had originally planned to use an LoL Shield for the LED matrix, but logistically decided that it wouldn’t work. And so, he created his own LED matrix and programmed it. Set to a Halloween-themed version of the ever infectious Tetris soundtrack, Pryor’s project has certainly left all the nerds talking for years.

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Pumpktris’ face is comprised of a grid of square and holes, which were made using a drill to ensure consistent size and spacing. Pryor then wired each LED bulb externally so that he could space them apart, filling in each hole of the grid. The entire gadget is driven by an Arduino Duemilanove.

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Meanwhile, a short-handled joystick was attached to the stem, which was cut off and reattached to ensure easy mobility when playing. The joystem toggles the internal joystick, enabling players to move the Tetris pieces which light up on the LED grid.

And just when you thought your jack-o’-lantern was awesome… Watch Pumpktris in action below and be amazed!

Play Tetris on this tiny, Arduboy-powered device


Thanks to this awesome little gadget, you can say goodbye to productivity! 


Tetris is arguably one of, if not, the most popular video games of all-time and has been played on pretty much every platform possible, from the NES to graphing calculators to mobile phones. Now there’s another, and much more productivity killing, way to play the iconic game. Introducing the Tetris MicroCard, a fingertip-friendly device that’s no larger than a business card.

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If it looks vaguely familiar, that’s because the aptly name Tetris MicroCard is powered by and shares a resemblance to the wildly popular Arduboy — a wallet-sized 8-bit gaming system for Makers. Once again open source, the tweaked gadget is based on an ATmega32U4 and powered by an internal rechargeable battery that can last for roughly six hours. Like the Arduboy, the Tetris MicroCard features a microUSB port that can be used for refueling as well as for uploading your own open source apps.

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Although it comes equipped with an officially licensed version of Tetris, the tiny console is also fully programmable with Arduino — meaning you can add other games if you’d like. The Tetris MicroCard boasts an OLED display with six control buttons positioned on both sides, as well as a speaker with a mute function, which will surely come in handy when playing in a meeting, in your cubicle or even in class.

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It should be noted, however, that the vertically-oriented device and its screen were specifically designed for optimal Tetris playing, so some of the codes available may not be ideal for the unit’s unique layout. And unlike with its sibling Arduboy, creator Kevin Bates (who we’ve come to know so well) has decided to bypass Kickstarter altogether and make the Tetris MicroCard available for pre-order. With a price tag of $49, it’ll make for a perfect grab bag item, a stocking stuff, or a “just because” purchase! Delivery is expected to get underway sometime this spring.

Tetris and Makers go together like peanut butter and jelly


Everyone’s favorite tile-matching puzzle game made its debut on June 6, 1984. 


June 6th marks the release date of the incredibly popular tile-matching puzzle video game known as Tetris. Created by Russian designer Alexey Pajitnov in collaboration with Dmitry Pavlovsky and Vadim Gerasimov back in 1984, the name originates from the Greek numerical prefix tetra and tennis, which happened to be Pajitnov’s favorite sport. Aside from going on to become a pop culture icon, it was also the first entertainment software to be exported from the USSR to the U.S. and published by Spectrum HoloByte for Commodore 64 and IBM PC.

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For the 1% of you who may have never played Tetris, the game is based around the use of tetrominoes, a four-element special case of polyominoes. These have been used in popular puzzles dating back to at least 1907; however, even the enumeration of pentominoes has traces to antiquity.

Throughout the years, the game and many of its variants have been made available for nearly every console and computer operating system, not to mention other gadgets such as graphing calculators, mobile phones, portable music players and even non-media items like oscilloscopes, pumpkins and the sides of skyscrapers.

To commemorate its 31st birthday, we’ve compiled a few of our favorite projects, inspired by the classic game and brought to life by the burgeoning Maker Movement.

In Your Pocket

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Oregon programmer Kevin Bates has developed a Game Boy-styled, credit card-sized gadget called ArduboyThis open-source platform allows people to play, create and share their favorite games, ranging from attacking aliens to breaking bricks in Tetris-like fashion. Even more, the Arduboy Arcade is entirely free and designed to spark up nostalgia of a more simpler time through its true 8-bit, black-and-white graphics. The device even has a rechargeable battery that lasts eight hours.

On Your Wrist

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Also the brainchild of Kevin Bates, Ardubracelet is a tiny, wrist-mounted unit that features three bright OLED screens affixed to a flexible circuit board, as well as capacitive strips and a rechargeable battery that provides up to 10 hours of gameplay. While you may not think the 0.66” screen makes manipulating shapes all that easy, the responsive touchscreen interface makes matching blocks a simple task.

At Your Fingertips

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Gamebuino consists of an 84×48 pixel display, a mini joypad, three command buttons and a library of pre-set codes that make it easy for any openminded individual to start building a game. From basic staples of gaming history like Tetris to Zelda-like adventures and beyond, the Arduino-powered console challenges its users to create something no one’s ever seen before.

In Your Hand

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Just for some amusement, the jolliFactory crew whipped up a simple LED Tetris game by daisy-chaining two of their bi-color matrix driver modules together, driven by an Arduino. The creation itself was an adaptation of similar projects found throughout Instructables.

On Your T-Shirt

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Luxembourg Maker Marc Kerger decided to show his appreciation for the 8-bit hit by uploading a video of a unique Tetris-playing t-shirt to YouTube. The interactive garment was enabled by the combination of an Arduino Uno (ATmega328), four AA batteries and 128 LEDs. Pretty much the only thing this nifty wearable game can’t do is emit the Tetris soundtrack.

On an Office Building

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In Philadelphia, hundreds of LED lights were embedded in the 29-story Cia Centre building’s glass facade to display colorful patterns for city dwellers. However, for one night, supersized shapes “fell” on two sides of the mirrored tower as competitors used joysticks to maneuver them, creating a spectacle against the night sky that organizers hoped inspired onlookers and players to think about the possibilities of technology.

On Your Nightstand

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Brian Nolte was prone to oversleeping. So much so that the Maker devised a clock that would make it nearly impossible to wake up late. Based on an Arduino, the gizmo shares many attributes with off-the-shelf models including multiple alarms, a backup battery, and snooze features. His alarm, though, goes one step further and ensures its users are fully awake each morning. If the user hits their pre-defined snooze limit, the alarm sounds and will not turn off until they have cleared four lines in Tetris.

On a Trashcan

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The brainchild Sam Johnson and Steven Bai, TetraBIN employs custom-built electronics and LED panels to reimagine an everyday garbage can and to help promote sustainable behaviors and playful experiences throughout a city. A pair of prototype installations initially debuted back at Vivid Sydney 2014, allowing those passing by to collaboratively control Tetris-like blocks on the screen of its outer surface. The pattern of these blocks vary based on the size and shape of the litter, as well as the timing of disposal. 

Inside Your Pumpkin

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What do you get when you combine a pumpkin with the classic video game? Pumpktris, of course! Nathan Pryor built a fully-playable version of Tetris right into the Halloween doorstep decoration with 128 LEDs for the display and the stem serving as its controller.

On a Microcontroller

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AdaCore’s Tristan Gingold and Yannick Moy took the term ‘game board’ to a whole new level by enjoying the tile-matching puzzle on their Atmel | SMART SAM4S ARM Cortex-M4 microcontroller.

On a Breadboard

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Jianan Li designed a breadboard Tetris game around a pair of Atmel MCUs, each running the Arduino bootloader. The main chip is an ATmega328, tasked with monitoring the buttons and controlling gameplay, while the other is an ATtiny85. The eight pin chip listens to its bigger brother, playing the theme song when the game starts, and pausing or resuming to match the user input. More recently, the Maker went on to piece together a pretty impressive, uber mini gaming device as well.

Added Bonus…

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This contraption from German non-profit organization Toolbox Bodensee is comprised of 49 floppy drives controlled by an Arduino and connected to a keyboard to produce a number of theme songs including that of Tetris. The Arduino is tasked with converting the signals from the keyboard into an analog signal, resulting in an recognizable song. The project took just over three months to complete and required 84 3D-printed parts for it to become entirely functional.

Build an inexpensive handheld gaming console with ATmega328


If you love classic games like Tetris, you can now make an Arduino console to play them on the go and in full color.


If you’re looking for an extremely low-cost, minimalist gaming console that will take you back to a much blockier 8-bit era, you’re in luck. That’s because Maker Joao Vilaca has proven that you don’t need to browse eBay or head up into your parent’s attic to find an antique handheld controller, but instead can build one of your own for less than $20 in supplies.

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Impressively, Vilaca required nothing more than a three-axis joystick, a small buzzer, a 2.2″ TFT screen, four AA batteries, and of course, an Arduino Pro Mini (ATmega328) in order to get his version of Tetris up and running.

The high-quality TFT screen featured an integrated ILI9341 controller, which he connected using Hardware SPI. Although the screen shipped as 240 x 320 pixels, Vilaca was able to make it a bit more gamer-friendly by configuring it into a 320 x 240 display. He even employed the help of Seeed Studios’ TFT library to simplify the interface.

Though he selected a Pro Mini for this project, the Maker notes that other ATmega328 based Arduino and Arduino-compatible boards can be used in its place. For those seeking a 5V chip like the Uno, Vilaca reminds us that you’ll need a level shifter from 5V to 3.3V to avoid frying the TFT.

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And what would a video game be without its sound effects, most notably those old-school chiptunes? Cognizant of that, the Maker also implemented a small buzzer to provide audible feedback to the player. Cue the Tetris theme song!

Truth be told, this is not the first nor will it be the last Arduino gaming platform we stumble upon. However, we can’t help but love them all, whether it’s Nootropic Design’s Hackvision, Microduino’s Joypad or Kevin Bates’ latest iteration of Arduboy. Simplicity, nostalgia and Arduino, how can you go wrong? Want to create a handheld Arduino console of your own? You can find a detailed step-by-step breakdown of the project here.

Video: Playing Tetris on a t-shirt

Programmed by Alexey Pajitnov, Tetris was released on June 6, 1984 while the engineer was working for the Dorodnicyn Computing Centre of the Academy of Science of the USSR in Moscow.

According to Wikipedia
, the wildly popular Tetris derived its name from the Greek numerical prefix tetra (all of the game’s pieces contain four segments) and tennis, Pajitnov’s favorite sport.

The game (or one of its many variants) is available for nearly every video game console and computer operating system, as well as on devices such as graphing calculators, mobile phones, portable media players and PDAs.

Recently, tinkerer Mark Kerger created a Tetris t-shirt in honor of the game’s recent 30th birthday. So, what is packed into the humble shirt? 128 LEDs, a fistful of batteries and an Atmel-based Arduino Uno.

In related news, the folks at jolliFactory designed an Arduino-based, bi-color LED Matrix Tetris game earlier this month.

The game – which initially surfaced on Instructables – is built around two of jolliFactory’s bi-color LED Matrix Driver Module, a platform that allows Makers to easily daisy-chain multiple components.

“Just for fun, we thought we could build a simple Tetris game by daisy-chaining two of the bi-color LED Matrix Driver modules together driven by an Arduino Nano (Atmel ATmega328 MCU).
simply by adapting similar projects found at Instructables… We expanded our search to other online sites and managed to find some information which we adapted to build a simple Arduino based bi-color LED matrix Tetris game,” a jolliFactory rep explained.“As this project is simply built for the FUN factor with no intention of using it for long, we did not pay too much attention to build a proper enclosure. However, the enclosure should enable the player to hand-held the gadget to play quite comfortably. What we have for the enclosure is a cardboard box backing with a blue tinted acrylic protective front with the game control push button switches mounted.”

Celebrating Tetris with Arduino



Did you know that Tetris turned 30 today?

Image Credit: Wikipedia

Programmed by Alexey Pajitnov, the game was released on June 6, 1984 while he was working for the Dorodnicyn Computing Centre of the Academy of Science of the USSR in Moscow.

According to Wikipedia, the wildly popular Tetris derived its name from the Greek numerical prefix tetra (all of the game’s pieces contain four segments) and tennis, Pajitnov’s favorite sport.

Image Credit: Wikipedia

The game (or one of its many variants) is available for nearly every video game console and computer operating system, as well as on devices such as graphing calculators, mobile phones, portable media players and PDAs.

Recently, the folks at jolliFactory designed an Arduino-based, bi-color LED Matrix Tetris game, just in time for the title’s 30th birthday.

The game – which surfaced on Instructables earlier this week – is built around two of jolliFactory’s bi-color LED Matrix Driver Module, a platform that allows Makers to easily daisy-chain multiple components.

“Just for fun, we thought we could build a simple Tetris game by daisy-chaining two of the bi-color LED Matrix Driver modules together driven by an Arduino Nano (Atmel ATmega328 MCU) simply by adapting similar projects found at Instructables… We expanded our search to other online sites and managed to find some information which we adapted to build a simple Arduino based bi-color LED matrix Tetris game,” a jolliFactory rep explained.

“As this project is simply built for the FUN factor with no intention of using it for long, we did not pay too much attention to build a proper enclosure. However, the enclosure should enable the player to hand-held the gadget to play quite comfortably. What we have for the enclosure is a cardboard box backing with a blue tinted acrylic protective front with the game control push button switches mounted.”

Interested in learning more? You can check out the project’s official Instructables page here.

Playing retro Tetris with Atmel and Adafruit

Eduardo Zola has created a retro Tetris game using Adafruit’s Neopixel Matrix (8×8, x2) paired with an Atmel-based Arduino Pro (ATmega328 MCU).

“The first thing I needed was an RGB display, push buttons or a small joystick and an enclosure. After some research, I found the Adafruit Neopixel Matrix 8×8, which is very easy to apply because it uses a just a single wire interface and simple handy library,” Zola explained in a recent YouTube post.

“So, I used two, which gave me a display of 16 rows and 8 columns of RGB LED (or pixels). For power, I used a LI battery of 3.7V 4400mAh. It was really necessary to put a capacitor (1000 µF, 6.3V or higher) across the positive and negative terminals of neopixel matrix.”

The next step? Determining how to control each Tetris “piece” in the game.

“Moves like left, right, down, fall and rotate – this could be done with five push-buttons – or just one small component [with a] 5-way navigation switch. For the enclosure I used an old plastic box, but any kind of box [will do],” Zola continued.

“After that, I added some sound effects [with] a small speaker 8 Ohm, [as well as] a vibrating motor, which is turned on for each completed line in the game. I also [included] a bar LED display to show the actual level of the game and another one to [display countdown info for the next level].”

On the software side, Zola employed a variation of Valentin Ivanov’s Tetris algorithm with a number of logic modifications to solve a specific memory allocation issue.

“You can create your own version, and add extras features like background music, or an alpha-numeric segment display to show the next coming piece in the game,” Zola concluded.

Interested in learning more? You can check out Zola’s lab page here.