Play John Conway’s Game of Life

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Life Lexicon

(CC BY-SA 3.0)

This Life lexicon is compiled by Stephen A. Silver from various sources and may be copied, modified and distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported licence. See the original credit page for all credits and the original download location. The styling has been adjusted to fit this website.

Blinker puffer

:blinker puffer Any puffer whose output is blinkers. However, the term is particularly used for p8 c/2 puffers. The first such blinker puffer was found by Robert Wainwright in 1984, and was unexpectedly simple:

Game of Life pattern ’blinker_puffer_(1)’

Since then many more blinker puffers have been found. The following one was found by David Bell in 1992 when he was trying to extend an x66: The importance of this larger blinker puffer (and others like it), is that the engine which produces the blinker output is only p4. The blinker row produced by the puffer can easily be ignited, and the resulting blinker fuse burns cleanly with a speed of 2c/3. When the burning catches up to the engine, it causes a phase change in the puffer. This fact allows p8 blinker puffers to be used to construct rakes of all periods which are large multiples of four.

John Conway’s Game of Life

The Game of Life is not your typical computer game. It is a cellular automaton, and was invented by Cambridge mathematician John Conway.

This game became widely known when it was mentioned in an article published by Scientific American in 1970. It consists of a collection of cells which, based on a few mathematical rules, can live, die or multiply. Depending on the initial conditions, the cells form various patterns throughout the course of the game.


For a space that is populated:

Each cell with one or no neighbors dies, as if by solitude.

Each cell with four or more neighbors dies, as if by overpopulation.

Each cell with two or three neighbors survives.

For a space that is empty or unpopulated

Each cell with three neighbors becomes populated.

The Controls

Choose a pattern from the lexicon or make one yourself by clicking on the cells. The 'Start' button advances the game by several generations (each new generation corresponding to one iteration of the rules).

More information

In the first video, from Stephen Hawkings’ documentary The Meaning of Life, the rules are explained, in the second, John Conway himself talks about the Game of Life.

Stephen Hawkings The Meaning of Life (John Conway's Game of Life segment) Inventing Game of Life (John Conway) - Numberphile

The Guardian published a nice article about John Conway.

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The Game of Life is also supported by Dotcom-Tools, Load View Testing, Driven Coffee Roasters, and Web Hosting Buddy.

Implemented by Edwin Martin <>