“Only the knife knows what goes on in the heart of a pumpkin.” –Simone Schwarz-Bart

With Halloween just behind us, the only things that pumpkins may mean to you now are pie, soups, or — as John Prine would sing you — a condescending term of affection, as in,

Daddy’s Little Pumpkin.

But I recently came across the most amazing Jack-O-Lantern I’ve ever seen, where someone turned a pumpkin into a working, playable game of tetris!

Image credit: "Pumpktris" by Nathan at http://www.hahabird.com/.

This idea — and the design — is nothing short of brilliant. The pumpkin itself was an intricately carved-to-specification operation, with a 16×8 rows-by-columns format, fitted exactly for small LED lights.

Image credit: "Pumpktris" by Nathan at http://www.hahabird.com/.

To get the lights in there, a tremendous amount of soldiering, and planning needed to happen, including the construction of a mock LED matrix and soldiering to a circuit board. Actually, two circuit boards, because they were only meant to handle 8×8 matrices apiece!

Image credit: "Pumpktris" by Nathan at http://www.hahabird.com/.

Then there was the logic/coding that needed to happen, in order to create the pieces and appropriate gameplay, and hook it up to the visual LED interface.

Image credit: "Pumpktris" by Nathan at http://www.hahabird.com/.

Also, because you need a way to control it, an ingenious setup using the pumpkin’s stem as a joystick controller for the game, capable of rotating, dropping, and sliding pieces horizontally.

Image credit: "Pumpktris" by Nathan at http://www.hahabird.com/.

And finally, the entire system was assembled and installed, and hooked up to an external power supply, provided by 8 AA batteries.

Image credit: "Pumpktris" by Nathan at http://www.hahabird.com/.

If you want to see the detailed step-by-step instructions, they’re available here, and it all led up to a spectacular, working game of tetris, playable all inside a pumpkin. The greatest pumpkin I’ve ever seen!

Just make sure you don’t wire it in there permanently if you build one yourself, because the electronics will last for a long time if you build it properly, but the pumpkin goes bad within weeks! An amazing find just a smidge too late for Halloween, but it was too good not to share with you this weekend, so here’s wishing you all a good one!


  1. #1 Richard
    Denver, CO
    November 5, 2012

    So awesome!!

  2. #2 Philipp
    November 6, 2012

    Oh. My. Goodness.

  3. #3 Kevin JJ
    November 6, 2012

    Awesomely Awesome!

  4. #4 Michel
    November 7, 2012

    My favourite Halloween pictures is this one:

    “Halloween Hangover”


  5. #5 OKThen
    November 7, 2012

    It’s really crazy (in a good kind of way) that someone can be so driven to spend so many hours doing something so interesting knowing that it will only last a few days.

New comments have been disabled.