Doom is a revolutionary PC game from 1993 that led to the industry’s obsession with first-person shooters, for better or worse, and the latest instalment in the series is due to be released worldwide next month. In the meantime, gamers can experience the original in a new way as it has been modded for VR on the Oculus Rift.
The choice of Doom as a game to port to VR is no accident; it’s the go-to game for porting to new systems and we use the word “systems” very loosely. Hobbyists and porting enthusiasts have made the 1993 game run on the strangest gadgets and devices you can think of. It’s a great tech challenge: what’s the weirdest thing you get to run Doom? There’s even a Tumblr for tech that runs Doom.
Here are our top 7 weirdest DIY projects that put Doom on unexpected devices.
Michael Jordon (not that one), a researcher at Context Information Security, hacked this Canon Pixma so it could load the 1993 shoot-em-up. Sure, the colour scheme is a bit off but it’s a printer playing Doom. He connected to the printer over the internet, modified its firmware, and loaded the not-quite-perfect port. The project was designed to highlight the potential security risks posed by all our devices becoming part of the “Internet of Things” but I think some people would be thrilled to find their devices had all started playing videogames.
Modern calculators are more powerful than the computers used to land humans on the moon. Naturally, they must be hacked to play Doom. Calculators have been one of the go-to devices for showing off the portability of Doom and the above video is just one example. Here we see a TI-Nspire graphics calculator running the game smoothly and with decent controls. It’s running TI-Nspire OS 3.1 and the Ndless jailbreak.
Technically this is the sequel, Doom 2, but that’s because the iPod is more powerful than a graphics calculator. By dual-booting an iPod with Rockbox firmware, you can play surprisingly well considering the controls use a click wheel. If you’ve got an older iPod lying around you can try it yourself! It has to be any ordinary iPod up to 5.5G, an iPod Mini, or the first generation iPod Nano. There’s a guide on Instructables if you want to show off your click wheel skills.
Ah, the Zune. We’ve covered it before in our favourite tech products that failed. The Zune music players weren’t terrible but they came at exactly the wrong time and couldn’t survive against the popularity of Apple’s iPods. The price point wasn’t right and the features weren’t great, so it was always going to struggle. But when it comes to playing Doom, fans of Microsoft’s MP3 players haven’t backed down despite the Zune HD lacking physical buttons for controls. To play this version, you need to use the touch or tilt controls, which look imprecise to say the least. Still, anything can play Doom.
3. Digital camera
Over 15 years ago, hackers managed to get MAME (an OS for running arcade games) to work on Kodak Digita cameras. It was an impressive feat of software engineering but we all know the real test: does it run Doom? Indeed it does. The hack worked on any cameras running Kodak Digita OS but the website that shared the files has been closed for years. But somewhere out there, someone still has the files that let you pretend to be a tourist while blasting demons from hell.
Now it’s getting a bit weird. An oscilloscope is a tool for measuring and observing voltage oscillations. They have lots of uses in science and engineering but the most common is for troubleshooting electronic equipment that is malfunctioning. There’s only one use we’re interested in today and some students at the University of Southampton have obliged. Oscilloscopes run Doom.
1. Cash machine
Technically this one is less impressive than the others as most cash machines use Windows, so it’s not tricky to get Doom running in the first place. But still, it’s a cash machine! Surely we’ve reached peak Doom porting. What’s admirably weird is that they hacked the machine so that the clunky buttons for withdrawing your cash are now used to change weapons and reload.
Perhaps a better question is what won’t run Doom?
Main image © Youtube/Ghost Squad 57