There was a competition too, based on a standard appearance and behaviour, and the winner is 363 bytes:
Vaguely related; chess game in 487 bytes:
i assumed asm was the lowest level, is there some builtin font by default that can't be changed or something?
There is no terminal emulator here. This hello world text is written directly to video memory -- and yes, there is a character rom, so placing a string of words in memory OR'd with bits set for video attributes (the #defines there) make it color.
(Many, including me, still consider the original IBM VGA text font to be one of the most well-designed and readable for displaying text.)
In contrast to this, many Unix workstations never implemented such a thing and went directly to graphics framebuffers (SUN cgX framebuffers for the ... Sbus??). For that, of course you have to implement the font rendering in "bios" , or in the case of the sun machine in the OpenFirmware. Slowly.)