Play hidden arcade games in emacs

Who doesn’t like retro gaming? No honestly, who doesn’t? This might not be the right article for you if you don’t like them, but there is a way to play nice hidden mini games, that come with the terminal text-editor emacs, for everyone else. This collection of games includes remakes of classic games as well as new and unique games. In this short article I’m going to show you how to play them!

Figure 1: Solitair in emacs

Start a game

You can see everything you need to do in the video above. However here are the written instructions:

  1. Open a new terminal window and start the emacs editor by typing emacs.
  2. After emacs loaded up, press the escape key immediately followed by the x key. This will allow you to enter a command:

    Figure 2: emacs command mode (see the M-x in the bottom left corner)
  3. Start any game you want. E.g start tetris by typing in tetris as a command:

    Figure 3: Tetris

The controls are quite easy to understand:

The left and right arrow keys move the current block left and or right. Up and down rotates a block.

If you want a block to fall down faster, press the space key and it will stick to the ground immediately.

I really like the way these games are made. They consist entirely of characters that are displayed in the text editor, which makes me really happy on so many levels. Just reminds me of the good old days.

List of games

There are a lot of games and easter eggs built in, like tetris, pong, snake, a text based adventure game, a psychotherapist (yes I’m not kidding). However, if you want to see what games are available, there is an official list of built in games on the emacs wiki. You can even install 3rd party games, refer to the wiki article, if you want to know how.

And who said you can’t play games on a unix system? Enjoy!


6 thoughts on “Play hidden arcade games in emacs

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