Pixel Press app: Draw, create, play your own video game

Soon, the only skill you'll need to build your own retro-style multilevel video game is the ability to use a pencil and draw on a piece of paper.

Pixel Press demo
Soon, anyone may be able to craft a retro game. Pixel Press

Mario's multilevel gaming style has endured for good reasons. It's simple, it's fun, and it's addictive. Once you've conquered the realms of Mario and other similar retro games, where do you go next? How about creating your own custom video game? That sounds great, but you'll need to brush up on your programming skills first. Unless, that is, Kickstarter project Pixel Press gets off the ground.

With Pixel Press, you just need the app, a piece of paper, a pencil, and your imagination to create your own game. No coding required.

Here's how it works. You start by printing out the gridded Pixel Press sketch sheet, along with the instructions. You can design five layers on the sketch sheet using certain elements like terrain, hazards, monkey bars, moving platforms, barriers, spikes, portals, and power-ups. You draw all these out onto the grid, with the aim of designing five progressively more challenging levels for your hero to conquer.

Once your sketch is done, you open up the Pixel Press app and take a picture of your paper with the app. The app then transforms that image into a playable game where you control the colors and audio. You can then share your game with other players and try out the creations of your peers.

You can get in on the gaming action for a $10 pledge. Much of the $100,000 Kickstarter funding goal is aimed at building a custom optical character recognition tool that will be able to read the pencil drawings and help translate them accurately into the actual playable games. Currently, Pixel Press is set to work only with iOS devices. Android is a stretch goal.

The app isn't going to blow you away with cutting-edge game design. That's not the point here. It's about creation. It's about nostalgic adults building the dream games they imagined as kids playing Nintendo. It about kids today seeing their own designs come to life.

I'm already thinking ahead to what kind of game I'd make. I'm thinking nothing but moving platforms and spike traps. Take that, Mario.

Pixel Press levels
An example of a five-level Pixel Press game. Pixel Press
 

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