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This article was published on July 5, 2016


Did you know you can play games in PDF files?

Did you know you can play games in PDF files?
Abhimanyu Ghoshal
Story by

Abhimanyu Ghoshal

Managing Editor

Abhimanyu is TNW's Managing Editor, and is all about personal devices, Asia's tech ecosystem, as well as the intersection of technology and Abhimanyu is TNW's Managing Editor, and is all about personal devices, Asia's tech ecosystem, as well as the intersection of technology and culture. Hit him up on Twitter, or write in: [email protected].

PDFs are great for sending official documents while maintaining their formatting – but developer Omar Rizwan recently discovered that they can also be used for playing simple games.

While learning about Adobe’s PostScript programming language, Rizwan discovered that PDFs can include things like embedded Flash components, 3D objects and JavaScript. However, most PDF readers don’t support these – but Chrome implements a small subset of the Acrobat JavaScript API surface.

What that means is that you can embed and run limited bits of JavaScript in your PDFs. So Rizwan dug up a tutorial on coding the classic arcade game Breakout and put it in a PDF. You can play it by visiting this link to his PDF file on Chrome.

To play, simply move your mouse horizontally in the light blue area beneath the green paddle to control its movement.

Wondering how he did it? The paddle, ball and bricks are all actually text fields. There’s a bit of clever scripting involved, but it should be fairly straightforward to figure out from the JavaScript file in Rizwan’s GitHub repository.