Creating Your First Game with Pico 8: A Step-by-Step Tutorial

Pico 8 is a versatile and user-friendly platform for creating your own video games. Whether you’re a seasoned developer or a complete beginner, Pico 8 offers a straightforward approach to game creation that is both fun and educational. In this step-by-step tutorial, we will guide you through the process of creating your first game using Pico 8.

Getting Started with Pico 8

Pico 8 is an all-in-one game development environment that provides everything you need to start creating games. To get started, you will need to download and install the Pico 8 software from their official website. Once installed, open the program and you will be greeted with a simple interface consisting of various tools and options.

The first thing you’ll notice is the code editor, where all the magic happens. Pico 8 uses a programming language called Lua, which is known for its simplicity and ease of use. Don’t worry if you’re unfamiliar with Lua or programming in general – Pico 8’s built-in documentation and extensive online resources make it easy to learn.

Designing Your Game

Before diving into coding, it’s important to have a clear idea of what kind of game you want to create. Think about the genre, mechanics, and visual style that appeal to you. With Pico 8’s limited color palette and resolution (128×128 pixels), pixel art works particularly well.

Once you have a concept in mind, start by sketching out some rough designs on paper or using digital art software. This will help you visualize your ideas before translating them into code.

With your design in hand, it’s time to start building your game world using Pico 8’s map editor. The map editor allows you to create different levels or scenes for your game by placing tiles and objects on a grid. Experiment with different layouts and arrangements to find the perfect balance between challenge and fun.

Coding Your Game

Now comes the exciting part – coding your game. Pico 8’s code editor is where you will bring your game to life. The Lua programming language used in Pico 8 is relatively easy to understand, especially with the help of Pico 8’s built-in documentation.

Start by defining the basic structure of your game, including variables for player movement, enemy behavior, and game logic. Break down your game into smaller tasks or functions that can be completed one at a time. This approach will make it easier to debug and test your code as you go along.

Pico 8 provides a range of built-in functions for handling input, drawing graphics, playing sounds, and more. Take advantage of these functions to add interactivity and visual elements to your game. Don’t be afraid to experiment and iterate – this is where the real creativity happens.

Testing and Sharing Your Game

Once you’ve finished coding your game, it’s time to test it out. Pico 8 allows you to run your game directly within the software, making it easy to see how everything comes together. Test different scenarios and edge cases to ensure that your game behaves as expected.

Once you’re satisfied with the results, it’s time to share your creation with others. Pico 8 allows you to export your games as standalone executables that can be played on any compatible device. You can also share your games on Pico 8’s online community platform or upload them to other popular gaming platforms.


Creating your first game with Pico 8 is an exciting and rewarding experience. With its user-friendly interface, extensive documentation, and supportive community, Pico 8 provides an ideal platform for both beginners and experienced developers alike. So grab your creative hat, fire up Pico 8, and start building your own unique gaming experience today.

This text was generated using a large language model, and select text has been reviewed and moderated for purposes such as readability.