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PICO-8 is a fantasy console for making, playing, and sharing small games. PICO-8 is a commercial product by Lexaloffle Games LLP. Versions are available for Windows, mac OS, Linux, and Raspberry Pi. The Raspberry Pi version runs on the GameShell, with some set-up.

As of Launcher v1.24, the Launcher now has a built-in PICO-8 installer to make this even easier! You will copy PICO-8 to your GameShell, then run this installer to finish set-up.

Follow these instructions to get PICO-8 and install it on your GameShell. It will run in the splore mode, which lets you browse, download, and play PICO-8 games.

Purchase PICO-8

Go here to purchase your copy of PICO-8 if you don’t already own it: https://www.lexaloffle.com/pico-8.php#getpico8 ($15)

Once purchased, visit the downloads page and download the Raspberry Pi version. This file has a filename similar to: pico-8_0.1.12c_raspi.zip

Tip: Your PICO-8 license includes versions for all platforms. Download the version for your desktop computer, make PICO-8 games of your own, and run them on your GameShell!

Transferring PICO-8 to the GameShell

The Launcher’s PICO-8 installer looks for the zip file in a folder (directory) with this path: ~/games/PICO-8/ (The ~ means the cpi user’s “home” directory, containing the games directory where you put various game ROMs and such. The PICO-8 directory is inside there.)

Connect your GameShell to your wifi network and get its IP address:

Turn on your GameShell. If necessary, connect the GameShell to your wireless network: Settings, Wi-Fi. In the main launcher menu, select TinyCloud. This displays the IP address of your GameShell, such as You can transfer files to the GameShell using scp, a file transfer method based on ssh (Secure Shell). Some file transfer programs know how to do this, such as Putty SCP for Windows, WinSCP for Windows, or Transmit for Mac. Connect using the IP address, an account name of cpi, and a password of cpi.

On Mac and Linux (and also Windows with Putty SCP or the Windows Subsystem for Linux), you can use a Terminal to do this with a command-line interface and the scp command. To transfer PICO-8 to the ~/games/PICO-8 directory on the GameShell using the scp command:

scp pico-8_0.1.11g_raspi.zip cpi@ Enter the password cpi when prompted.

Welcome to PICO-8!

After it installs, PICO-8 starts in splore mode. From now on, the PICO-8 option in the Launcher will just launch PICO-8 like this.

Move right to find the “Featured” section. If necessary, press B on [update] to load the list. Move up and down to find a game, then press B to start it.

PICO-8 games use one or both of the A and B buttons. Some games will refer to these as Z and X, or C and V, because these are the default keys on a desktop computer. Games may also refer to them as (O) and (X), which are their “fantasy console” button icons.

To exit a game and return to the Splore game selection menu, press the GameShell MENU button, then select “Exit to Splore”. (You can also use the pause menu just to pause your game.)

To exit PICO-8 entirely and return to the GameShell Launcher, exit to Splore, then press MENU again and select “Shutdown PICO-8”.

Tip: Be careful not to select “Exit to Console” from the shutdown menu. This puts PICO-8 in its game developer mode. It’s a super fun mode, but you need a full keyboard to use it or get back out of it. Hold down the GameShell’s power button to reset if you get stuck here.

Enjoy the games, and come visit the PICO-8 community in the forum to learn more!