piu-piu – retro horizontal scroller ‘Shoot Them All’ game

Last Updated on April 6, 2019

piu-piu follows in the footsteps of well-traveled games. It’s a terminal based horizontal scroller game. There’s absolutely no fancy graphics, or immersive effects here. It’s ASCII graphics on the console.

Even if your system is filled to the rafters with software, you’ll easily find room to play the game. It’s a single file with 1,790 lines of code that consumes a mere 71KB of hard disk space. It needs a bash shell though, so that’ll consume 6MB of memory, together with the memory consumption of a terminal emulator, unless you play the game on the console.

The author took inspiration from console utilities like cowsay, figlet, and sl.


piu-piu is literally one file. Simply copy the bash script to a directory in your PATH and you’re ready to invoke the game from a shell.

The game is carried in the Ubuntu repositories. It’s also available in the Arch User Repository, for Arch based distributions.

In operation

The aim of the game is to shoot an endless stream of aliens in animated flying saucers, collect bonuses along the way, and ultimately defeat the boss. If an alien collides with the hero, a life is lost, and you only start with 3 lives.


The background is decorated with the sun, trees and clouds, although you don’t need to avoid them, they are there purely for decorative appeal.

After killing 100 flying saucers, you then need to defeat the boss!

Features of piu-piu include:

  • Single player option.
  • Multi-player mode using netcat for client-server exchange.
  • The game uses different color palettes depending on the season.
  • Bonuses include additional lives, additional ammo, and gunup which is a booster amplifier.
  • Configuration options:
    • Define hero color.
    • Define symbol color.
    • Define the symbol for the hero.
  • Clouds.
  • Trees.
  • There’s a few in-game messages outputted depending on the day of the year. For example on 11 January, the game will welcome Yura with a happy birthday message.


If you like playing arcade shooters and want to play a game in the style of a very early home computer game, you might enjoy piu-piu.

Be warned, do not play this game on a terminal emulator with GPU-acceleration. For example, playing the game in the Alacritty terminal emulator offers excellent frames per second. Sound good? Not with this game! The game moves on at such a frantic pace you’ll probably only last a few seconds. Play the game with a terminal emulator like Deepin Terminal and you’ll have reasonable frame rates, and a chance of winning the game.

Linux has tons of good open source ASCII games. Here’s 21 other ASCII based games which offer even more enjoyment.

Website: github.com/vaniacer/piu-piu-SH
Developer: Ivan Marov
License: MIT License

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