PIXEL Brings Old School Video Game Art To Life In Your Home

Take your old Lite-Brite and turn it up to 11. Add Bluetooth, tuck in animation support, and let people draw their designs via smartphone. What do you get? Something like PIXEL.

The (aptly named) PIXEL is a display built specifically for showing off pixel art. A pixel art photo frame, if you will.

Want an animated loop of Sonic tapping his foot atop your mantle? Sure. An endless chain of Marios coming out of a pipe in your bathroom? Okay! Want Pac-Man to waka-waka around the screen until the end of time? Hell, why not.

When you want to change up the photo, you’d just pop open the app on your smartphone and draw away. Want to do something a bit more complicated — like animation? Make your design in your favorite editing app, then transfer it to the PIXEL over USB or Bluetooth. If you’re drawing a still, you’d send it a PNG; if you’re doing animation, you’d send it a GIF.


PIXEL has raised $20,000 on Kickstarter so far, having originally set their goal at just half that. This is actually the second version of this product — the team raised $50k for a slightly-less-pretty version back in early 2013.

If you’re able to squeeze in and grab one of the few remaining early-bird deals, a fully assembled PIXEL will set you back $260. After those are gone, the rest will go for $300. Alternatively, you can save a few bucks by opting for the DIY Kit version at $220 — but it’s a bring-your-own-soldering-iron type of thing, so make sure you know what you’re getting into.

If you’d told me a few weeks ago that I’d soon be wanting a pixel art photo frame, I’d have responded by saying “What the hell is a pixel art photo frame?”

Two weeks later, I’m trying to figure out which pixel art photo frame I want.

Just last week, Darrell pointed out the Game Frame, a strikingly similar concept that has raised $60k on Kickstarter with nearly 3 weeks left in its campaign.

pixel gameframe

PIXEL and Game Frame are parallels in many way, but each has its own strengths. Game Frame comes with art from the much-adored pixel artist eBoy, while PIXEL comes with art from 10 different artists. PIXEL has a higher resolution (1024 pixels vs. Game Frame’s 256), but Game Frame uses some clever optics voodoo to make each individual LED into a massive, evenly-lit square pixel. Each ends up having its own totally different visual style.

I’ll take either. Or both. Yeah, I’ll take both.

(If you missed the link above, you can find PIXEL’s kickstarter campaign here)