MaKey MaKey Banana Pong

My last MaKey MaKey project was the Apple Piano, which I created for Milwaukee Makerspace‘s participation in a previous Art Jamboree event that Art Milwaukee put on…

The Apple Piano was about sound, as that’s been something I’ve been toying with in Processing for some time. With another Art Jamboree on the horizon, I set my sights on a classic video game… and bananas.

As usual, when I need a nice piece of clip art I head to This time I found a sweet looking bunch of bananas. I only needed one banana so a quick edit in Inkscape got me what I needed.

Wait, but why did I need these banana images again? Because a game of pong is pretty boring… unless it’s Milwaukee Makerspace Banana Pong! Controlled by real bananas.

I found a nice one-player Pong sketch written in Processing, but it was your typical vertical paddle movement, and I needed a horizontal paddle movement. I ended up rewriting the game a bit to turn it all 90 degrees so the left/right of the banana controller would make more sense.

(Disclaimer: If you know anything about me, you know that I believe in crediting people for their work. We’ve got a problem this time. I went through so many Pong sketches that somehow I lost track of the one I started with. I’ve searched for more than an hour and could not find my starting codebase! If I do find it, I’ll update this post to point to it. On with the story!)

Banana Logo

Once I got the game working, I needed to add some fitting graphics, so what better than a take on the Milwaukee Makerspace logo with… bananas. (We’ve got a history of weird/wacky logos.)

One thing I learned was that bananas are not very tough! If you let people pound on your bananas for a while they get really mushy. I should have brought a lot more spares so I could swap them out more often.

Here’s a few photos from the event:

Banana Pong Player

Pong Player

Pong Player

Pong Player

Pong Player

Pong Player

Update: The code is available.

5 replies on “MaKey MaKey Banana Pong”

Have you tried using plantains for public exhibitions? They tend to be a bit sturdier and hold up to more abuse, but I don’t know how well they conduct compared to a banana.

Any video for this and how-to to recreate locally here in Texas credit to you of course…

who said you can’t play with your food… the mushed controllers will make good compost or animal food :)

Todd, if you’ve got a MaKey MaKey and understand how it works, well, that’s the easy part. I could probably package up the application if you just wanted to download and run it for a demo.

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