Man Creates Pumpktris: A Fully Playable Tetris Game Inside a Pumpkin

Oct 31, 2012 4:52pm

Forget the candle.

Nathan Pryor, 37, of Vancouver, Wash., has successfully come up with the coolest, most entertaining new way to light up a pumpkin.

Behold the Pumpktris. It’s a remake of one of the most popular video games of all time, inside a pumpkin.

“Pumpktris is a fully playable version of Tetris built into a pumpkin, with 128 LEDs for the display and the stem serving as a game controller,” the video’s description explains.

Pryor remains humble about his piece of work though, despite its video going viral in less than three days. “I just have a thousand different ideas,” he told ABCNews.

And surprisingly, he records them all in a notebook to keep track of his sporadic thoughts. So in early October when he was flipping through his notebook, he came back across his original idea for pumpkin Tetris from about a year ago.

“My original idea about a year ago was to try to grow pumpkins into Tetris shapes, wrap a mold around a pumpkin as it grows. But I didn’t follow through,” Pryor said. “About a month ago I saw that little note in my notebook. I thought, ‘It’s too late to start that project, but why not make a Tetris in the pumpkin that you can play?’ And it just went from there.”

And his friends are so glad it did. He brought the pumpkin to a party last Saturday and it easily stole the show.

“I went to a party on Saturday night and didn’t have much of a costume because I spent so much time working on the pumpkin. The pumpkin was cool enough, I didn’t need the big costume,” he joked.

Altogether, the Pumpktris took him about 12 hours to make; he worked on it for about a week and a half in the evenings after putting his son to bed.

Pryor has an entire blog detailing the elaborate step-by-step process he took to build the pumpkin, but here’s a much shorter version:

“There are 128 lights in there. The first step was to solder all those together into a grid so each one connects to the light next to it. Then those all connect to a couple of LED matrix controllers. Then that just tells the LEDs to turn this one on, this one off,” Pryor explained.

As for the joystick, he continued, “the joystick wasn’t even in my original plan. As I started fooling around with it, I thought, Wow, I can make a joystick out of the stem.”

And despite all the technicalities, the hardest part of Pryor’s process was looking for the pumpkin with the right shape and stem. He went through three pumpkins that “just didn’t quite fit right.”

But once he found the perfect pumpkin, he cut off the stem and drilled a bolt into it that attaches to the joystick. The joystick is held into the pumpkin with drywall anchors. And although he’s pleased with the way the game turned out, there’s unfortunately nothing he can do about the pumpkin’s rotting.

“It’s already started deteriorating. There’s some mold growing across the face of it. It’s getting a little squishy,” said Pryor.

He enjoyed the project because he likes to “keep busy and keep learning and entertaining,” but next year, he says, he’s just “going to carve the simplest, most grinning face you’ve ever seen.”

“I certainly don’t want to try to top this in any way,” he said.

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