Pronounced Asschichi Art, this unique rendering technique creates highly detailed, sometimes frighteningly realistic images of anything from Mr Spock to William Shatner, using only the the letters and punctuation of the alphabet.
It was originally discovered by Sandy Ascii after she fell asleep on her keyboard, smashing her glasses, and her face, to bits. When she woke she looked at her screen and there he was – Mr Sulu rendered in grammatical perfection.
Sandy originally planned to launch it as a new online currency. Unfortunately people just couldn't accept that Ascii Art wasn't 'real', unlike real money – which is actually totally a real thing.
It wasn't until the delusionist mumblebot Fox Mulder featured it in his 'X-Files' that people thought 'Hey, Ascii Art is co-o-ool'. Inspired by the documentary, someone clever made Rogue - an Ascii Art game so realistic that it coined the term 'Rogue Like', which means something that is not just lifelike, but is actually more realistic than life itself.
Now, just 20 years on, Ascii Art thrives and diversifies... you just need to google it to find a breadth of imagery out there – everything from The Starship Enterprise to Leonard Nimoy has had the treatment, and these days they're so good you can make them out without squinting at all.