This is a video of a computer program created by Michael Birken that can play Tetris and create pictures of video game characters in the process. How? I'm glad you asked. And even gladder there's a quote to copy because I am BAD AT EXPLAINING THINGS. One time my nephew asked why the sky was blue and I told him, "Jesus, what color do you wish it was, brown?!"
The algorithm converts pixels from a source image into squares in the Tetris playfield, one row at a time from the bottom up. To generate an individual square, the algorithm assembles a structure consisting of a rectangular region fully supported by a single square protruding from the bottom. When the rectangular region is completed, its rows are cleared, leaving behind the protruding square.
During construction of a row, all of the squares produced by this method must be supported. The algorithm solves this problem by constructing a flat platform on top of the row with holes. The platform is a temporary structure and inserting the final piece removes it.
That make sense? Cool, maybe you can try to explain it to me sometime over drinks. I'm sure I'll change the subject immediately, but you could try. Now I'm thirsty. Tell you what -- let's have that drink now. "So about this Tetris algorithm--" Dude, I pooped my pants at work yesterday.
Hit the jump for the timelapse video of Link, Samus, Mario, a goomba and a bunch of others being drawn.
Thanks to Greg C, who draws video game characters the old fashioned way: in Microsoft Paint.