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8-Bit Cities: real-world maps that look like 80s video games's video poster

Help me create interactive web maps of real cities, in the 8-bit style of 1980s video games. Try it out at Read more

New York, NY Video Games
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pledged of $3,000 goal
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This project was successfully funded on April 7, 2010.

Help me create interactive web maps of real cities, in the 8-bit style of 1980s video games. Try it out at

New York, NY Video Games
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About this project

What would a real-world place like New York City look like as an 8-bit video game map?

I started wondering, so I created 8-Bit NYC, mixing the lo-fi overhead world maps of 1980s role-playing and adventure games with the kind of geographical data that drives today's web maps and GPS navigation. It's interactive (like Google Maps), letting you zoom from a view of the whole city, down to an individual street -- any address, anywhere in the city. Here are a few highlights: Central Park, Greenwich Village, World Trade Center. Now I want to expand to more cities! And I'm asking you to help me: this project is to fund the addition of 15 new 8-bit city maps. The money will be used to cover the web hosting costs (server, disk space, bandwidth, etc.) and the initial computing time needed for drawing the maps (purchased using Amazon EC2).

Here's how the city selection will work. I will create maps of the 8 cities listed below. The other 7 cities will be selected by YOU. All project backers will vote for their favorite cities, and I will make maps of the top 7 vote-getters.

The 8 "reserved" cities will be:

- San Francisco - Los Angeles - Boston - Chicago - Washington D.C. - Seattle - London - Paris

As I create each map, I'll post project updates with highlight pictures of each city.

I hope that these maps will evoke the same urge for exploration and abstract sense of scale that many of us remember experiencing on the Nintendo Entertainment System, the Commodore 64, or any other number of 8-bit microcomputers. Maps offer us visual architectures of the world, encouraging us to think about and interact with space in particularly constrained ways. Let's set out on an 8-bit quest!

P.S. This project uses map data from the excellent OpenStreetMap, a community-managed, wiki-like map of the world. Check it out and contribute to your city!


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  • You selected
    Pledge $10 or more

    20 backers

    A postcard from the lovely land of 8-bit New York.

  • You selected
    Pledge $30 or more

    10 backers

    Postcard +
    Add a marker to the map in any of the cities that we expand to (or on the current NYC map). You tell me the street address where the marker should go, along with a few words to appear next to it. A special icon design will be used to make backer-submitted markers stand out from others on the map. Add your house, your company, or maybe just your favorite spot in the city. (Note: you cannot replace major landmarks, anywhere else is fair game.)

  • You selected
    Pledge $60 or more

    20 backers Limited (80 left of 100)

    Postcard + Put Yourself On the Map +
    A limited edition of 100 posters of the 8-bit New York City map, printed on high quality matte paper. Each poster will be hand numbered.

  • You selected
    Pledge $200 or more

    10 backers

    Postcard + Put Yourself On the Map + Limited Edition Poster +
    Voting is nice, but sometimes you need to grease the wheels a little. If you have a city that you're just dying to see in 8-bit, reserve it here. You'll be crowned as the Mayor in the credits for that city. (Or if you just want to be the mayor / patron saint of one of the 8 cities I've already reserved, you can do that too.) Note: this is in addition to the 15 cities already planned, so the top 7 voted cities will still be created.

Funding period

- (30 days)