From programmer Michael Birken comes a new way of drawing video game characters that is probably more complicated than it needs to be, but all the more incredible for it. Birken has designed an algorithm that can place single blocks of color in Tetris by strategically building and destroying lines at lightning speed. Precisely place enough blocks, and you’ve got a made to order line. Stack enough lines and the result is a pixellated picture of…well, anything you want, in principle, though Birken started off training the program to build images of classic 8-bit characters like Mario, Link, and Samus. As you might expect, the process that makes it happen is bafflingly complex, but the results — as seen in this video — are stunning.
If you want to know more about how the algorithm works — complete with handy animations of how to get a single block or precisely printed line — you can do so here. If you just want to sit at your desk hypnotized by the flashing colors and apparent magic of it all, though, we certainly can’t blame you for that.
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