Meet Screentendo: Your Newest Time-Suck

Aaron Randall's free Mac app turns any web page into a playable Mario level.

When you’re stuck at work, there’s probably nothing you’d like to do more than play a classic video game. But, short of running an emulator on your work computer, there are few ways to do that, and even fewer that won’t attract your boss’s prying eyes. Or there were, before Screentendo came.

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Created by developer Aaron Randall, Screentendo is a Mac app that can turn almost any web page into a playable Super Mario Bros. level. It works by identifying the outline of a specific image – in this case, the Google logo – and turning that image into a series of breakable blocks.

As it has trouble with lower-contrast objects, Screentendo is far from perfect, but Randall considers his app “a proof-of-concept,” not a final product. In addition to image-processing, the developer calls out the app’s physics as “a little screwy.”

Regardless of its shortcomings, Screentendo is sure to be your new favorite time-suck. You’ll be scrambling to figure out which web pages generate the most interesting levels. Your productivity may suffer, but, hey, what does that matter when you can play Super Mario Bros. almost anywhere?

Screentendo’s source code is available on GitHub, and, if you’re interested in the specific algorithms it uses, you can check out Randall’s blog post on the subject. There’s no word yet as to whether the developer plans to make a Windows-compatible version.


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K.W. Colyard
I'm a freelance writer and editor from the rural American South. I write. I read. I play video games. I also sleep sometimes. Talk to me about ampersands, blankets, and the Oxford comma.