A downloadable Eliza8 for Windows, macOS, and Linux

Your Pico-8 has something to say.

The power of MIT's Artificial Intelligence Lab (circa 1966) has been brought to the Pico-8. The software that once took on the Turing Test is now yours to command. Marvel as the illusion of a living computer breaks down within seconds!

ELIZA's creator, Joseph Weizenbaum, once wrote, "I had not realized ... that extremely short exposures to a relatively simple computer program could induce powerful delusional thinking in quite normal people." Maybe you'll be powerfully deluded as well!

Features of this release:

  • An interesting archaelogical look at early AI
  • User-scriptable! (see blog for info)
  • Reproduces precisely a famous ELIZA conversation
  • Not based on the simplified BASIC version; this is the real deal!
  • Used as teaching material in a CS class at Georgia Tech (such an honor!)

How Does it Work?

At its core, Eliza8 is simply a pattern matching engine, with prebuilt responses based on keywords. Eliza8 does the following:

  1. Break your sentence into its individual words and throw away everything except those words that match against its pre-defined keywords.
  2. Reorder the found keywords by ranking; high to low.
  3. Look into the keyword definition file and retrieve a list of sentence patterns for each keyword, starting with the highest rank.
  4. The first found pattern match to the input sentence wins! One of the responses associated with the winning pattern is chosen for display.

Customizing Eliza8

One of the downloads available is a "base_script.txt" file which matches the in-built script when you boot Eliza8. This is to show you how the conversation logic is arranged and can be modified to make your own script. When Eliza8 is booted and ready to chat, drag in your own custom script to load it and enjoy.

Make a copy of this file and modify it to start understanding how to make your own script. You could write a script that specializes in a specific topic, that has a filthy mouth, or just extend the existing script to be more believable. The sky (and Pico-8 memory) is the limit!

See the blog post for more detail on the usage, organization, and purpose of the script file.

System Requirements

  • A keyboard
  • A plain-text editor, if you intend to write a script
  • A licensed copy of Pico-8 v0.22.0 or higher if you want to examine the Pico-8 cartridge

What's With the Box Art?

Just wanted an unusual banner graphic to promote this silly toy. It imagines a "what if Pico-8 cartridges were physical items that were boxed and sold."


Eliza8 for Pico-8 (cartridge) 23 kB
Eliza8 for Windows (standalone) 1 MB
Eliza8 for macOS (standalone) 3 MB
Eliza8 for Linux (standalone) 696 kB
base_script.txt (for making your own scripts) 12 kB
eliza8_source.zip (UI uses Pico-8 APIs; engine in Lua) 10 kB

Development log


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The windows version gives me a malware warning?

Oh really? I'm very sorry to hear that. I just downloaded and ran the file here on itch.io and I'm not seeing any problems on my Windows 10 machine. Which version and build number of Windows are you on (Control Panel > Settings > About)?

Windows 7 :)
I try later on my newer pc, that one runs W10 and let you know.

7! Ah, yeah, I'm sorry I don't have anything set up to test on anything but my personal rig. If I can figure out a nice way to virtualize older Windows versions and do some light testing, I'll try to do so for the future. I appreciate learning of the issue, but I'm not sure I can offer a Windows 7 solution. I'll ask the Pico8 community for advice, just in case.

hi, i am using windows 10, and it says the same to me, that this game is a malware and it is resisting, avast warned me about it

Very frustrating. I'm not sure what I can do about it. :(  I'll spend some extra time trying to figure this out.

Good work!

Hey, thanks!