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PICO-8 logo.png
Developer(s)Lexaloffle Games
Available inLua
TypeVirtual machine

The Pico-8 (stylized as PICO-8) is a virtual machine created by Lexaloffle Games. It is designed to mimic a "fantasy video game console".[1] The coding is accomplished through a Lua-based environment,[2] in which users can create sounds, sprites, maps, and games. Users are able to upload creations to Lexaloffle's official BBS where other users are able to play the games in browser, and view the source code.[3]

Pico-8 games and the program's interface are limited both to a 128x128 pixel, sixteen-color display, with a 4-channel audio output.[4] The Pico-8 program supports a Lua code editor, sprite and tile creation tools, and an audio sound effect editor. The program can load games saved locally on a computer, in the form of text or as specially encoded .png images. The interface also supports a splore mode, where games uploaded to the BBS can be previewed and then played in the Pico-8 program. The PocketCHIP miniature computer shipped preloaded with Pico-8.[5]

Pico-8 gained additional attention in 2018 with the release of Celeste. Originally created as a Pico-8 game for a game jam, Celeste Classic became one of the most popular games on the Pico-8 BBS, prompting the developers to expand the concept into a more expansive, fully realized game. The original Pico-8 version of Celeste is fully playable as an easter egg in the full version of the game.


  1. ^ Debock, Arnaud (August 2015). PICO-8 Zine #1. Retrieved November 17, 2016.
  2. ^ Wawro, Alex (May 3, 2016). "PICO-8 'fantasy console' to become an actual handheld console -- sort of". Gamasutra. UBM TechWeb. Archived from the original on November 17, 2016. Retrieved November 17, 2016.
  3. ^ "PICO-8 BBS". Lexaloffle. Retrieved 20 February 2019.
  4. ^ Hossam, Mostafa (August 16, 2016). "Alone in the Dark is still creepy in its brightly-colored remake". Kill Screen. Archived from the original on November 17, 2016. Retrieved November 17, 2016.
  5. ^ "PocketCHIP online documentation". Next Thing Co. Retrieved 19 January 2017.

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