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Site of the week: Pica Pic

Take a trip down memory lane with an incredible simulation of retro handheld games

Development technologies:

Designer: Hipopotam Studio

Writing these pages in the week prior to the much-anticipated Nintendo 3DS launch, it seems apt to recall the days when handheld gaming was more primitive.

It probably says much about the age of the Web Designer staff when we can reminisce on an era before the original Game Boy hit the scene and single-game LCD systems ruled the roost. Although limited graphically, it’s easy to forget that they often felt like mini versions of their bigger arcade equivalents, thanks to the similarly gaudy illustrated artwork that encased them. This site celebrates this visual charm and excitement by not just simulating the on-screen action of a range of vintage handhelds, but also by displaying the devices in glorious detail. Some of the examples offer the chance to view the original box art before you zoom in and start guiding the characteristically crude monochrome sprites around the respective screens. This is the real technical achievement on show, providing startlingly realistic Flash remakes that are painstaking in terms of graphical likeness and animation. High scores are then stored in some neatly designed league tables. The whole thing is beautifully designed, and a real example of how a novel site idea can in fact become an important historical document for the evolution of technology we now take for granted.