610 games and counting

Alex Kidd in Pico World

By Domarius Published on Nov 9th, 2017

"After Miracle, Techno, and Shinobi, Alex has found yet another world to adventure in, and it wasn't easy! Cramming yourself into a world which only exists inside an 8192 token limit is no mean feat! But that's no problem for Alex's mean fist!"


After I don't know how many months, this is finally "finished", bang on the token limit (that part was easy and fun), but staying under the compression limit was a literal impossibility, and I had to run it through PicoTool to get it under. For that reason, I've made the un-garbled code available in a Google doc at this link. But that is exactly at the token limit! No room for edits... so I've also provided this version, which gives you a bit of breathing room if you want to experiment, it's missing some tweaks that the final game has, which are bug fixes and extra minor features like the level intro.

What made it in:

  • All vehicles! Boat, Pedicopter, and Bike!
  • All 16 levels! Though they are between 50-75% of their original size.
  • Janken game (rock paper scissors)
  • Secret level!
  • All enemies! Except for one angry jumping fish in the boat level.

What's cut to fit into Pico-8:

  • The short level and symbol puzzle after the Princess to get the Crown. You get the Crown with the Princess this time, a two-for-one deal.
  • Graphical level map
  • Title screen
  • Continue cheat and secret invisible punch block in bonus level
  • All powerups except the ring. They weren’t very useful anyway.
  • Since Telepathy ball is missing, Janken game is always played with you always being able to see his choice, making it more of a reaction game. I had plans for switching up the gameplay of the original by always making the telepathy ball hidden in one of the blocks in the level but this didn’t make the cut.

One of the things I had to do was crunch down the music into fewer channels, to make room for all the music in the game, making use of the arpeggio feature to simulate multiple note harmonies. Here is a version of the game before I did this - Alternate version of main theme and water theme - the main theme and water music have 4 channels of music (no arpeggio effect). Just play through till you fall into the water, you'll get to hear both songs. Also this version features moving water surface and a smooth transition into the water, which was removed to save tokens (amongst other things!).

If you're a developer and you want to know more about how this was put together and the hurdles I overcame, I'm currently blogging about this on my site. I've only made one post so far, but please use the "subscribe" feature and I'll do an email to let you know when I make a blog update - I'm looking forward to writing about how I crammed the levels into more than the map area can actually fit!

More info - Domarius Games