Hyper-realistic images are becoming a thing in Splatoon 2, so I decided to make my very own. All it took was an image editor and five hours of squinting, cursing and hand cramps.

In Splatoon 2, players can create image messages that appear over their heads when their characters show up in other people’s games. This is done via a very limited image editor accessed through the red post box in Inkopolis Square. It features three sizes of pens, three sizes of erasers, and that’s it.

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Lacking the hardware necessary to create and plot my image automatically, as documented in my post from Monday, I decided to put my face into the game the hard way. I started with a picture of myself from my review of the Hori Splatoon headset.

I shrunk the image down to 320 pixels wide and trimmed it to 120 pixels high, the dimensions of the Splatoon 2 image editor. I flipped the image to make it easier to track while inputting. Then I changed the format to 3indexed color with only three shades of black, white and the occasional gray.

Then all I had to do was input every single dot in the image, line-by-line. Every. Single. Dot.

Which part of my face is this?

It took hours. The going was slow at first, but soon I developed a rhythm—A, A, Right, Right, A, Right, Right. If I moved to the next line and the pixels weren’t aligning correctly, I’d have to go through it dot-by-dot to fix my mistakes. It was like primitive coding. It really made my hand ache.

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But I saw it through. Really, after the first 20 lines were in there was no turning back.

And now my face is popping up in other people’s games. Sometimes it’s cute.

Other times, not so much.

Either way, it was totally worth it. Would I do it again? Hell no. But I’d love to see other folks give it a go. Maybe buy a hand brace first.