PICO-8 vs TIC-80

If you had to choose one, which would it be and why?

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Pico-8 has an incredibly active community with games being posted all the time, and a rich history of games. The built in “splore” system means finding/sharing games is easy. There’s also a lot of great discussion on their forums. The main drawback I’m aware of is it’s not open source and only exists on a few platforms, with the developer seemingly uninterested in porting it to Android/iOS or anything else other than Win/Mac/Linux (x86 & Pi). The price is cheap but the lack of ports is less than ideal

Tic-80 is open source and quite portable so it could be used everywhere. But I’ve never seen much activity with it in terms of people creating and sharing games. It also supports somewhat better virtual system specs, with a higher resolution and more colors available.

There are a few Pico-8 knockoff projects that attempt to make games portable to other platforms. But none of them are advanced enough to be really useful. Tac08 is kinda interesting and works for porting some games, but doesn’t support everything Pico-8 does.

To answer your question: I’d choose Pico-8 both for developing and especially playing games. If the extra colors and features of Tic-80 were needed for a project, I could see using that, but it probably wouldn’t be easy for it to get seen and played by other players.


Both PICO-8 and TIC-80 are great projects, especially the latter is open source. I would prefer PICO-8 in some personal perspectives.

  1. Zep, the creator of PICO-8, with his enduring enthusiasm to the project and high level sense of pixel art, is the main attraction to community members like me.

  2. Well chosen resolution and color palette, are just enough for non-professional designers.

  3. The all in one editor is as simple as possible and easy to understand.

  4. Plentiful resources on the official web site, and a great tool called SPLORE (waiting for the web version).

Last but not least, it is the retro tech lovers, who are continuing to contribute their incredible works to the community, have made the PICO-8 become a really fantastic platform.

– The above text uses Google Translate.

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I personally go for Pico-8, but TIC-80 is a great project. The others mentioned the small color palette in Pico-8, but there are some tricks you can use to increase the number of usable colors.



I posted about this elsewhere but I came across the MEG-4 project the other day which is another fantasy console but is also compatible with TIC-80 and PICO-8. Very much a new project and not very mature yet but I would argue one very much worth watching.