If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy.

Plotty Bird is Flappy Bird played on a plotting printer

How lovely!

Hackers making games run on odd hardware is always at least a giggle, and Flappy Bird on a plotter instead of a screen actually adds to it in a way. For our younger readers, I'll explain a plotter is a type of printer which draws on paper with a pen. For our even younger readers, a printer is a device which 'printed' computer documents onto paper. For our youngest readers, paper is a thin, lightweight material made from mashed-up trees, nowadays mostly used to make bags for Greggs sausage rolls. Plotty Bird uses one pen as the bird, leaving lines of its path as it flops and crashes as a delightful record and artifact.

It's like Dong Nguyen's 2013 mobile hit (or Helicopter Game before it, or innumerable games named Crobby Bird and such after it), see, only on a plotter. Plotty Bird even draws randomised levels, according to creator Wesley Aptekar-Cassels. What a lovely thing.

"It works by streaming HP-GL commands to the plotter in real time - the game gets around 20 'frames' per second," Aptekar-Cassels explains for the technically curious.

Should you have a HP7440A plotter lying around somewhere, you can have a go yourself. Plug it into your PC, grab Plotty Bird from GitHub, crank it up, and mash Enter to get flapping. It might also work on other plotters which support HP-GL, and if the possibility of playing Plotty Bird yourself has the slightest relevance to you I trust you already know what that means.

I, like Aptekar-Cassels, am pleased by how the pen lines leave a clear record of successes and failures. It's like the end of a Super Meat Boy level, where you watch all your failed attempts and final victory at once, only you can stick this to your fridge door.

Topics in this article

Follow topics and we'll email you when we publish something new about them.  Manage your notification settings.

About the Author
Alice O'Connor avatar

Alice O'Connor

Associate Editor

Alice has been playing video games since SkiFree and writing about them since 2009, with nine years at RPS. She enjoys immersive sims, roguelikelikes, chunky revolvers, weird little spooky indies, mods, walking simulators, and finding joy in details. Alice lives, swims, and cycles in Scotland.

Rock Paper Shotgun logo

We've been talking, and we think that you should wear clothes

Total coincidence, but we sell some clothes

Buy RPS stuff here
Rock Paper Shotgun Merch