It is called ASCIIMATION as it is really an ASCII animation. The asciimation is achieved by displaying frames of ASCII text one after the other at a given rate. Quite interesting how the regular ASCII characters can be used to create this animations. (6/19/2006)
According to the web page; The author, Simon Jansen, got an e-mail with a joke. The idea was to size the window around a picture and hit the page-down key so the text shows a crude ascii animation.
After that, on July 1997 he started to do his "asciimation" displaying frames of ASCII text one after the other at a given rate. Each frame is a fixed number of characters wide by a fixed number of lines high. The frames are put together into a standard text f ile. That text file is then converted to a slightly different format and stored in compressed form. A player application simply reads each frame in sequence from the modified text file and displays it on the screen for a short period of time.
This is not a easy job. Some files are big as 10 MB showing 15,953 frames at 15 frames per second. The last scene at the page is "Luke finds the Princess". At this point I'm sure you already saw the "Star Wars" theme.
Also, you can find an interesting "Jet Powered Beer Cooler", turbocharger gas turbine, a camaro slot car camera and a Jacob's Ladder. These projects are dangerous. Kids, don't try that at home!