Fantasy console software environments

A fantasy console is a simulated, restricted development environment that’s focused on making graphics. Most bundle their own game creation environment and focus on 2D graphics. Real consoles of that vintage used low-level programming languages and fixed-function graphics pipelines. But fantasy consoles are typically programmed in scripting languages that are easy to bind to graphics libraries like SDL.

There are a lot of fantasy consoles, but I’ve only worked with The PICO-8 fantasy console and played PICO-8 games. The TIC-80 is another promising fantasy console with more options for programming languages, sound design, and colors. Bitsy is even more constrained than PICO-8 and focused on interactive fiction for the web.

Technically, The Varvara personal computer system is a fantasy console that can also be applied towards productive tasks with its keyboard and file interfaces.