Imagine yourself playing Tetris, and you’ll undoubtedly have the Game Boy version’s memorable theme song (called Korobeiniki) stuck in your head for hours. But playing the game on an old school analogue display manages to produce an even more satisfying sound as 210 small plastic discs quickly flip back and forth to recreate the falling tetrominos.
YouTube’s sinowin hacked together a small computer with a joystick and an elongated flip-disc display to play one of the world’s greatest time wasters.
Instead of millions of tiny glowing pixels that rapidly and silently turn on and off every second, flip-disc displays use hundreds of small plastic discs that are physically inverted to either reveal their coloured side or their black side.
Before LCD screens were giant and affordable, these animated displays were traditionally used for signage that had to be constantly updated, like arrivals and destination times at airports or train stations.
Today the technology is outdated and impractical for most of the applications we use LCD screens for, and while Tetris manages to be just barely playable, it’s worth the effort for the wonderful ASMR-ness of all those flipping discs. Just don’t get too relaxed or distracted by the sound—those falling blocks aren’t going to properly stack themselves.