P8: PICO-8 wrapper lib


Adaptation layer to run PICO-8 scripts on norns.


PICO-8 is a platform that shares a lot of similarities with norns. Both revolves around the idea of a community sharing small apps. The main difference is that it targets video games while norns focuses on music.

Like norns apps are made in Lua. Like norns the drawing API is quite limited.

Both project can be compared to the homebrew BASIC programming scene in the late 70s / early 80s.

One particular phenomenon that emerged with PICO-8 are tweetcarts, people posting code fitting on in a tweet.

These show that you don’t need a super fancy graphical lib to do some impressive stuff, not too dissimilar to the demoscene.

I got the crazy idea of making an adaptation layer allowing those tweetcarts to run on norns.

Hopefully this can help you get inspired to create clean animations for you next norns app.




The project readme should get you covered.

It also comes with several examples and links to their original authors.



aughhh this is super rad!


This is incredible, are black & white pixel art music apps gonna be a thing now?


20 pixels of yes please.

1 Like

Esotheric screen savers à la Ornament & Crime are coming.


This is amazing!!! Pico-8 is really inspiring and I’m excited to have access on Norns

1 Like

CANNOT WAIT to use this for the sequencer I’m working on… thank you so much!

1 Like

thank you so much, not only am I excited to see this development on norns but this is such a cool world on its own. i would like to see someone put music to this one.


This is so beautiful. It reminds me of how much we can do with so little. Thanks for showcasing it.

1 Like

Thanks for the positive feedback.

This project is also a way to compare the drawing API of the two platforms.

norns really shines with its anti-aliasing and advanced font support.
I’d say that the later is unexploited. Crazy abstract graphics could be created by displaying overlapping glyphs with various pitches.
I dare anyone to play with foundry and not come with any idea.
You can also check out the ASCII/ANSI art thread for inspiration.

PICO-8 has methods for reading the value of a pixel in the display buffer. This allows easy collision detection that could help for e.g. kinetic sequencers.
Copy-pasting part of the display buffer is also possible, along with (conceptually similar) sprites support.
In addition it offers a nice patterned fill that I hope to port to norns.

Finally, one big advantage of norns is reusable libs. We can benefit from having higher-level drawing methods like those from shape of euclidigons.


Love pico-8. Very excited about this script. Thank you.

On a recent blogging spree, I wrote a small post on how this project came to be. It might be a bit rebarbative for those that have already read the intro post in this thread, though.

Also, I want to highlight a few scripts that have spawned that use p8 for (part of) their graphics: