Growing up my brother loved playing Activision's 'Decathlon' on the Atari. I couldn't understand how he could just sit there and wiggle the joystick forever making a little man run around a track. Thrilling! He played it so much, keeping the top of the classic Atari joystick in the center of his palm, that when he got sick, a sort of fungus or whatever made a deep impression: a square with rounded corners...
So for his birthday I decided I'd make him a cross stitch image of this classic video game. I am a needlenerd so this part made sense...at the time. Now that I'm done, I feel like I've made the little man run around the track! At least to save my thumb from impressions I bought a thimble before it was too late.
To start I found a number of 'Decathlon' screenshots at AtariAge such as hurdles and high jump, two events that my brother competed in for high school and college.
The few-bit resolution of this game lends itself perfectly to counted cross stitch, so I simply counted out what I needed and plotted them in my Whitelines Wire A4 Squared Notebook. Yeah, that's right, I took a damaged sample from work. I couldn't help it! It's the perfect graphing paper for such projects!!!
After determining colors to use from my massive collection of cross stitch thread, I then took what I drew on the graphing paper and plugged them into a spreadsheet, allowing me to just copy and paste the parts that would be repetitive.
Months later, and months LATE (it was for my brother's birthday, after all), I stitched according to my printed pattern while watching TV or listening to The Archers or whatever. And behold!