The *Pimoroni PicoSystem*, (a tiny handheld based on the Raspberry Pi Pico microcontroller) and *PICO-8* are strange siblings in name and spirit. They are based on vastly different technologies: one real, one just made up. Using indie game classic *Celeste* I show how they help relive the glory days of the bedroom coder.
Programming a game for embedded microcontrollers can scratch the same itch as programming for vintage 8-bit systems: getting close to the metal, being frugal with computing resources and showing disdain for wasteful software bloat. Combine this with pixel art graphics that enable anyone to be an artist.
This talk describes the continuing appeal of pixel art graphics, then shows the journey of porting the *PICO-8* classic *Celeste* to a system with 264 Kilobytes of RAM. After buggy attempts in C and modern C++ the project was rewritten a second time in embedded Rust and may evolve into a new beginner-friendly game framework in the embedded space. The harsh limitations of the microcontroller prevent feature creep and free up creativity. While getting close to the metal leads to deeper understanding.