Friday Fun: Super Mario Bros… on an Oscilloscope!

Friday Fun: Super Mario Bros… on an Oscilloscope!

Friday Fun: Super Mario Bros… on an Oscilloscope!

Do you love playing Super Mario Bros? Do you also love tinkering with electronics? If you answered yes to both questions, then you might want to check out this amazing project by a YouTube user named LovableChevy. She managed to run the classic Nintendo game on an oscilloscope!

An oscilloscope is a device that displays the waveform of an electrical signal. It is usually used for measuring and testing purposes, but some creative people have found ways to use it for entertainment as well. For example, some have made music and art with oscilloscopes, and others have even played games like Tetris and Pong on them.

But LovableChevy took it to the next level by playing Super Mario Bros on an oscilloscope. She used a Raspberry Pi Zero W, a DAC (digital-to-analog converter), and some wires and resistors to connect the Pi to the oscilloscope. She also used a USB SNES controller to play the game. She wrote a Python script that converts the video output of the Pi into an audio signal that can be fed into the oscilloscope. The result is a monochrome, low-resolution, but still recognizable and playable version of Super Mario Bros.

You can watch her video below to see how she did it and how it looks like:

If you want to try this project yourself, you can find the details and the code on her Hackaday page. You will need some basic knowledge of electronics and Python, as well as an oscilloscope and a Raspberry Pi. But be careful, as working with high voltages can be dangerous. Always follow safety precautions and don’t attempt this if you are not sure what you are doing.

We hope you enjoyed this Friday Fun article and learned something new. Have you ever played games on an oscilloscope or seen other cool projects with them? Let us know in the comments below!

Playing games on an oscilloscope is not a new idea. In fact, one of the first video games ever made, called Tennis for Two, was played on an oscilloscope in 1958. It was created by William Higinbotham, a physicist at the Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York. He used an analog computer and a vacuum tube oscilloscope to simulate a game of tennis on a horizontal line. The players used controllers with knobs and buttons to adjust the angle and speed of the ball. The game was a hit among visitors and staff at the laboratory, and it is considered to be one of the pioneers of video gaming.

Another famous example of an oscilloscope game is Asteroids, which was released by Atari in 1979. It was one of the most popular arcade games of all time, and it used a vector monitor to display the graphics. A vector monitor is a type of oscilloscope that draws lines instead of pixels on the screen. This allows for smoother and more detailed graphics than raster monitors, which are more common today. However, vector monitors are also more expensive and fragile than raster monitors, and they can suffer from burn-in and fading over time.

Oscilloscopes are not only used for games, but also for music and art. Some musicians use oscilloscopes to visualize their sound waves and create interesting patterns and shapes. For example, Jerobeam Fenderson is an artist who makes music specifically for oscilloscopes. He uses software to generate complex waveforms that produce both sound and images on the screen. You can watch some of his performances on his YouTube channel. Some artists also use oscilloscopes to create abstract animations and sculptures. For example, Hiroshi Matoba is an artist who uses an oscilloscope to create 3D sculptures out of light. He uses a laser pointer and a mirror to project the image of the oscilloscope onto a wall or a ceiling. You can see some of his works on his Vimeo page.

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