If you’ve yet to take your hit of awesome today, don’t worry, I have it right here. We’ve all seen what Google Maps looks like in 8-bit, but have you ever wondered what it might look like in ASCII? Well as the old saying goes, if you ASCII, someone will ANSI, and in this case, that someone is Peter Nitsch.
In “ASCII Street View”, you’re able to explore all of Google Maps with every single detail converted to a standard keyboard character and colored. As you zoom in, you’ll be able to see the ASCII and colors change as needed, which looks pretty damned cool overall. Perhaps even better, the tool scales with font size, so if you manually adjust the font size in the browser (usually with Ctrl + Scroll Down or Scroll Up), you’ll either see more detail of even less.
It’s a little ironic that this site has come to be, as I was just about a month ago wondering if such a thing would be possible. It’s not that ASCII is system-intensive, but on-the-fly encoding with it sure can be. But to make it work, the developer has off-loaded the work to the GPU, and in my tests, there have been times when it’d half-utilize my GTX 580 (more if I decreased the font size).
If there’s one downside to this, it’s that the developer for some reason decided to have the camera move constantly, with no way to stop it – totally seizure-inducing. If you can get past that, it’s a pretty cool way to waste a few minutes.