Weekend Diversion: The Greatest Pumpkin EVER!

"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 16x8 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 8x8 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!

More like this

You might have noticed, this blog has been as still as tomb over the past few weeks. It isn’t as if I was waiting for Halloween to write again--on the contrary, midterms were keeping me frighteningly busy! But, while I did manage to completely bomb one test, this semester has been quite insightful…
BikeMonkey tagged me ten days ago, but Casa Free-Ride has adopted the just-in-time model of jack-o-lantern production. Here are the rules: Carve a pumpkin. Light'er up. Snap a foto. Post it. Tag some bloggers. Here are the photos: Owing to the fact that this is Hallowe'en already, I'm tagging…
Image: Chuck. There's nothing festive about a past-its-prime jack-o-lantern accruing mats of vegetable mold in the the driveway. At this weekend's 2006 Punkin' Chunkin' World Championships in Millsboro, Deleware, a few resourceful folks will pronounce a nobler, or at least more spectacular, good…
I am not having such a good day, but it is a good day for Michigan.  The Wolverines won in Bloomington, paving the way for for a big showdown with Ohio State. More importantly, the jack-o-lantern is off the deer. This deer has been making headlines for days.  Everyone has been worried about it.  …

So awesome!!

Oh. My. Goodness.

Awesomely Awesome!

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.