About PlayPico & FAQ
What is this I don't even...
PICO-8 is an 8-bit fantasy console designed for creating, playing, and sharing small video games and other programs. It uses a subset of Lua as the programming language, and has built-in tools for coding, designing graphics, and creating sound effects and music. Developers can then export their creations as "cartridges", which are tiny PNG images that contain all of the program code and assets using a technique called steganography. These cartridges can then be loaded into the PICO-8 desktop application, or the free web player (used on this site), which allows the programs to be run in your browser with the magic of HTML5 and EMScripten.
What is PlayPico?
PlayPico is an unofficial PICO-8 fansite dedicated to finding the cream of the crop games that are posted by users on the official BBS. The goal was, and remains, to create a place where people can find a curated list of the best games created for PICO-8. This is by no means an exhaustive list; it is developed and maintained by just one person, Chris Clower (known as "Scathe" on the official BBS), and is limited to only the games that I have personally found and played, and also limited to my personal opinions and rule set on what makes a game qualify to be included in this list.
What are the hallmarks of a game that qualifies to be included here?
The things I look for include, but are not limited to:
- Cartridges must be an actual game. If it's a "demoscene", tech demo or proof of concept, while I do love and enjoy them, this site is just for games.
- Games must be complete; a WiP that doesn't have enough completeness to provide a lot of gameplay will not be considered. Short games are okay, but not too short.
- Games must not be too similar to other games that are already on here. If you made another SHMUP and it has something truly special that sets it apart, it'll probably get considered.
- Games must not be 2-player only - they have to have a single player ability. I don't have anything against games like this, but I personally don't have anyone to play them with to see if they're good.
- If I find a game breaking bug, it will be a disqualifier. Fix it and let me know!
- Game must not be too basic. Get creative, add some flavor and make it juicy, and let me know and I'll take another gander at it!
A TL;DR of this would be: Make sure it's actually a game, it can't be beaten in 2 minutes on the first playthrough, it lacks bugs and has a respectable level of polish (including nice graphics and sounds), it's not too similar to stuff that's already here, and it's fun.
This is all based on my sole discretion, and may even depend on the mood I happen to be in when I play a game for the first time. I may not always adhere 100% to these rules, they are just a set of guidelines.
What made you decide to do this?
At first, I made this just for myself, and only ran it on my own hard drive (not as a live website), just as a way to organize the collection I had amassed over time of games that I liked. It stayed that way for quite some time, until I thought "Why not share it? Other people might enjoy this list, too." At the time of publishing the page online, which was October 8th, 2016, the list had just 113 games. In less than a year, it grew to several hundred. The site has been well received by the PICO-8 community, so I have been working on expanding the features, polishing up the user experience, and implementing feature requests and constructive criticism that the community has given over time.
Do you make any money doing this?
At the time of this writing, which is almost 1 year from the original launch date, I have not made a single penny. The site is developed and maintained as a labor of love and as my way of giving back to a community that has given me countless hours of entertainment with their amazing games. I have no plans to monetize this website at this time.
Things I will never do with this site:
- Bog the user experience down with tons of ads.
- Put any website content behind a paywall.
- Send spam emails to any users. I may implement a newsletter of some kind that users can voluntarily opt into at a later date, and easily opt out of at any time. Should this newsletter be implemented, it would only contain news and updates about this site and PICO-8, and would not contain any third party advertising.
What technologies were used to build the site?
- jQuery 3
- Linode web hosting
- Intel XEON dual-core @ 2.8 GHz
- 4 GB RAM
- 80 GB SSD
- 40 Gbps network in
- 4 Gbps network out
- Ubuntu Server 16.04 LTS x64
- Let's Encrypt
Content Delivery Networks (CDN)
I'm 37 years old and live in Ohio, USA. I started web development in 1994 at the age of 13 as a hobby, began working professionally in 2001, and have been working at 45PRESS since August 2017. I have 3 kids -- 2 sons and 1 daughter.