The never-ending doodle
Quick draw How an illustrator took a pen sketch that he created during a college class and turned it into a playable universe
In an era of increasingly realistic video game graphics, one studio has gone seriously against the grain and created a platformer that’s made entirely out of ballpoint pen drawings.
California studio Arachnid Games is the team behind Ballpoint Universe – an infinite
I found that doodles came freely, and wanted to base a game in their world. The art was scans of the sketches
platform-shooter adventure game in which every last asset was drawn with the humble ballpoint.
The idea came to developer and founder Leo Dasso while he was doodling on a notebook during a class at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, California. “I found that doodles came quickly and freely, and wanted to base a game in their world. The art was literally just scans of the ballpoint sketches. We did quick transparency cutouts in Photoshop, then slapped it into the game.”
The game itself sees players guide the main character Doodle through a surreal 2D universe – running, jumping, sliding and shooting his way around an increasingly surreal and intricate world. The game succeeds in being both delightfully lo-fi and visually impressive at the same time, and is a joy to play.
Ballpoint Universe is out now and available to buy through Steam for £2.99. You can see more from Arachnid Games at
What at first seems like simple scribblings soon turns into a colourful and complicated world of gaming frustration! These massive complex gaming worlds are all
based on scans of the original ballpoint
pen doodles of developer Leo Dasso. Ballpoint Universe is an infinite platform-shooter adventure that follows the aptly named main character – Doodle – around a bonkers 2D world.
Environments like this came to Leo while he was doodling in class at his San Francisco university.