The PICO-8 bootup screen.

Manufacturer Lexaloffle Games
Distributor Lexaloffle Games
Release date 2015
Media PDF file "Cartridges"

PICO-8 (or "Pico-8") is a fantasy console by Lexaloffle Games for making, sharing, and playing small computer games and programs.

PICO-8 is available for purchase as an app for PC, Mac OS X, Linux (Intel), and Raspberry Pi. It also comes bundled with the PocketC.H.I.P. portable computer. As of mid-2017, the app is currently in alpha mode (version 0.1.10c) and it is currently unknown if it will ever be released as a physical standalone console.

The intention of the PICO-8 is to capture the creativity of writing programs for the small personal computers of the 1980s without the hassles of an arcane platform. The console has built-in tools for creating graphics, sound, music, and code, all of which run within the console's 128-by-128 pixel screen. The PICO-8 uses the Lua programming language.

Games are saved as cartridges (or "carts"), which are just small files that can be shared over the internet. A programmer can publish a cartridge to the PICO-8 forum, where anyone can play it directly in a web browser without the PICO-8 app, discuss it, and download it to examine it in the app's tools. Publishing a cart also makes it accessible from within the app's Splore cartridge explorer.

Users can also export cartridges with a standalone player that can be embedded into any web page, suitable for commercial publication on game networks such as

PICO-8 has an active developer community, with hundreds of games, tools, and resources for learning how to make games.



  • 128 x 128 pixel resolution
  • 16 colors


  • 4 channels
  • 8 waveforms


  • Two 6-button controllers (up, down, left, right, x, o) available from a PC keyboard
  • Connect up to eight 6-button controllers via SDL

Cartridge size

  • 32 kilobytes per cartridge
  • 128 x 128 pixel sprite sheet
  • 128 x 32 tile map
  • 64 sound patterns, 64 music patterns
  • Lua code space limited by characters and tokens


  • Addressable memory regions for graphics, sound, and general use
  • Separate RAM for the Lua call stack
  • 64 values (256 bytes) persistent memory per cart
  • Raspberry Pi GPIO pins mapped to memory

Bottom Of The Screen Shooters for the PICO-8Edit


Official site

This article was featured from January - February, 2017.

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