Magic Eye Meets ASCII Art

If you remember the “Magic Eye” books, you probably also remember crossing your eyes in order to be able to see 3D objects, like a shark, inside what appears to be an abstract pattern. Now the concept has been applied to ASCII art.

A short article showing some ASCII art stereograms has been posted on, Jason Scott’s sprawling archive of files from the BBS era. The collection is a valuable time capsule of the 1980s and early ’90s, a time when getting online meant dialing in over a modem to a local bulletin board system.

ASCII Art Sterograms

It’s not exactly known who the author was, except for an email address ([email protected]) or when it was created. Like the classic “Magic Eye” books, these stereograms work by getting you to unfocus your eyes. Unfortunately, it’s easier to do than to describe. To help you, there are some letters to get you to adjust your eyes correctly. One piece requires you to actually cross your eyes. The file even comes with a short C program if you want to create your own. I haven’t tested it, but if you know how to compile C code you can probably easily figure out how this works. Still, this was a neat project, whoever created it.

If you like this post,  you’ll want to check out our post on Telehack, a recreation of the Internet of the late ’80s and early ’90s, which also incorporates the archive. You’ll also enjoy an ASCII Art version of “Portal”, as well as our list of 9 Geeky Pieces of ASCII ART.