PICO-8 Favorite Games

A list of my favorite PICO-8 games (so far…)

I’m going to start off saying I have very little history as a “gamer” when it comes to knowing what the classics are, what came before, and what things are based on. (I don’t even know all the genres.) In many cases I didn’t even read up on these games, I just grabbed the carts and started playing.

All of these games can be found at the PICO-8 web site. I’ve provided links to each below. I play them on an Anbernic RG35XX handheld console, but you can play them on the desktop or in a browser.

A Hat on Time
This game is a blast. It’s a platformer, of which there are many in the PICO-8 world. This is one where you don’t die, or… you do die, over and over again. Unlimited lives! I love that. You need to jump (and swing) over pits and around ash clouds(?) and it’s got simple graphics and minimal colors and it all just works. There are times in this game I get stick and think there’s no way I will go further, but then I figure it out! (Or try 50 times… unlimited lives, remember?)
I give it 8 out of 8 bits!

Barp the Balldragon
First of all, I’m still on the first level! I’m pretty bad at this one, but it’s so damn cute. Barp has some platform work to do, but besides running and jumping be “barps” (burps?) balls at the little creatures who are blocking his way. I’ll keep going on this one or give up. I’m not sure yet.
I give it 5 out of 8 bits!

Captain Neat-O in the Time Nexus
Hey, another platfomer! This one is a rich world with a lot of ground to cover. It’s a tough one, with a lot of creatures and obstacles to get in your way. I’ve put in a good amount of time on this one and more than once I’ve gotten stuck and a little frustrated. It is a fun one though, so I’ll probably keep going.
I give it 5 out of 8 bits!

Feed The Ducks
Okay, this game is wild. You are a cat (bonus points there) and it’s called “Feed The Ducks” so I guess you need to feed some ducks. This one did confuse me a little but I eventually got it. It’s a weird one, but also unique, so it’s a lot of fun. I’m still a little confused by it even after I “won” so I am sure I’ll do it again.
I give it 7 out of 8 bits!

ISOL8: Build & Isolate
Supposedly ISOL8 is an original arcade game inspired by old-school games like *Jezzball* and *Qix*. I have no clue so I’ll believe that. You press the two buttons to make vertical or horizontal lines dividing the screen or sections of the screen based on the lines you’ve made. You need to isolate all the bouncing balls. This is a timing and puzzle(?) game, and it’s a fun low-stakes play.
I give it 7 out of 8 bits!

Murder, Death, Chill
I asm typically not a fan of shooting games, but this one is just so simple and (well, short when I’m playing it) I fire this one up pretty often. You basically move left and right a bit and have to keep shooting (either left or right) when the bad guys come at you. It sounds so simple, and it is! Sometimes simple shooting is all it takes for a good game. Super fun shooting effects dress up the otherwise simple background. (Note: My screenshot is terrible, but the game is not.)
I give it 5 out of 8 bits!

All you can do is jump. Straight up. You can’t even move left or right (on your own). The graphics are simple, the concept is simple, but it just works. This is another game where timing is critical, and you need to map out your moves before you make them. Oh, besides jumping straight up you can also suicide yourself to start over on a level, which I’ve done many, many times. It gets progressively more difficult, so it’s a great challenge with such a minimal game.
I give it 6 out of 8 bits!

Thanks for reading! This was a fun list to make. The goods news is, I have a lot more games I really like! That means there will be a part two coming soon!

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