The Tetris Pumpkin Is Still the World’s Greatest Gourd Game
This guy built an eerily cool, fully functional LED Tetris game inside a squash.
Every year around this time we see the pumpkin craze whip back into effect, a tidal wave of orange crap and assaultive seasonal products we’re already sick of by Columbus Day. It’s a dilemma as old as time: It’s fall and we have all these pumpkins! Got to find something to do with them. So there’re pies, and foamy, spiced sugar-milk drinks, jack-o’-lantern contests and pumpkinbräu beer. But beyond the usual slate of gourd-til-you’re-bored offerings, each Halloween brings us trailblazers who take the pumpkin bump into new, uncharted territory and help us remember the real meaning of autumn (or something).
Nathan Pryor, of design project HaHa Bird, is one of those trailblazers. Back in 2012, he built a working Tetris game into a pumpkin, carving an LED-lit grid into the squash and fashioning a makeshift joystick from the stem.
At the time, Pryor wrote on his website:
“One of my habits is to write down all the crazy, fleeting ideas I have, then go back to review later … Earlier in the month I was looking through that idea notepad and found ‘Make Tetris Pumpkins’ from sometime last year. My original plan had been to make forms to shape pumpkins into Tetris pieces as they grew, then stack them together for Halloween. Since Halloween was only a few weeks away and it was too late to start growing pumpkins, I thought ‘Why not make a pumpkin you can play Tetris on instead?’”
Pryor not only made and documented the amazing Tetris pumpkin, but also included a pretty detailed guide to how he did it, so enterprising seasonal tinkerers could follow in his footsteps. Sure, this is a few years old and there are still exciting new breakthroughs happening in the pumpkin innovation space—but even though the original Tetris pumpkin has surely rotted to compost by now, I for one have yet to see anything more inventive made from a gourd since.