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Fun (and useless) things you can do in Emacs!

Published Tue Nov 30 2021

Tags: emacs

December is soon here, and with it some of us will have holidays. Why not use some time to try weird and fun things in Emacs? Today I will share with you exactly that! There are games, weird modes, screensavers and more! A few games are actually built into Emacs, if you didn't know. And if you want more games inside Emacs, there are some more out there! Continue reading to learn more, and see other useless things you can do with Emacs!

Before we start, remember that you can use Try if you just want to try a package ;)

Several of these fun things are shown in a YouTube video by me :)

Play games

This may shock some people, but you can actually play games inside Emacs! yeah, I know, mind blown. And yes, they are actually written in Emacs Lisp. If you are curious on how they look, here is Tron and Tetris side by side:

Emacs games screenshot

Some games include:

  • Dunnet: The classical text based adventure game (if you have played any? Like Zork). Just do M-x dunnet, and you can start playing.
  • Pong, Snake and Tetris: All these classics are built-in! Just do M-x and the name of the game (lower case), and it will start!
  • tron: Yes! You can play the classic tron game from within Emacs, thanks to tron.el! (you can use raw link on the github page with Try to try it, as it is not in Melpa). Pretty fun!
  • …and more! There are also games like Pac Man (pacmacs), but I couldn't get that one to work. Emacs wiki has a page with a list of this and more.

What if you want to watch your computer play tetris? We have autotetris-mode for that! (actually kinda captivating watching it for a while)


Annoyed that you have to use a television to simulate a fireplace when none is present? Yeah, me too! You can actually get a nice pixelated fireplace inside of Emacs! The github repo already contains a nice gif on how it looks, so check it out!


Some of us have probably hear of nyan-mode, which shows a Nyan cat progress bar indicating your position in the current buffer. That can actually be defended as useful, as it have some functionality (showing you visually how far you are in a buffer is actually pretty great!). Did you know that there is actually another Nyan cat package in Emacs? zone-nyan just shows Nyan cat in a new buffer, and shows how long you have Nyan'ed in the minibuffer! Looks like this:

Emacs games screenshot

(it really is meant as some sort of screensaver, but I don't use zone mode. Check it out if you think it sounds cool!)

Make Emacs sound like a typewriter!

You can do exactly that with selectric-mode, and then every key you type on the keyboard will sound like a typewriter! (except commands it seems). Not really much to show here, as you have to experience the sounds yourself. Just try it! (or, you can listen to the sound in this guys Youtube video if you for some reason really don't want to try it… :( )

Do you know of any useless fun packages for Emacs? Feel free to share in the comments!

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