Hack turns ATM into DOOM arcade machine

JC Torres - Jul 30, 2014
Hack turns ATM into DOOM arcade machine

There is this long standing gamer belief that a computer is not a computer unless it can run, and play, DOOM. Taking that philosophy to heart, two Australian hackers have embarked on a perilous journey to install DOOM on one machine where you least expect to see it: a cash-dispensing ATM.

Granted, computers running ATMs are not exactly as esoteric as, say, a Raspberry Pi, Beagle Board, or any other unconventional computer that have challenged DOOM modders time and again. Most, if not all, practically house within their metal chassis a regular desktop computer, sometimes even running something as banal as Windows XP. The challenge, then, isn't in simply making an ATM run DOOM, but in actually making it playable as well.

The first step is, of course, to actually get DOOM running on it, which was made possible through the help of an MS-DOS emulator such as DOSBox. That was probably the easiest part. They were even able to get the stereo audio working. Yes, the ATM actually has a stereo amplifier built into it, which is surprising since most would just output beeps and whatnot. The hacker duo even managed to control the receipt printer, which opens up some possibilities for printing out high scores.

The biggest challenge facing the team, however, is in actually controlling the game using only the buttons and the keypad you normally see on an ATM. The video mentions the use of an I-PAC2 board, which serves to emulate a USB keyboard for arcade games. The hackers hooked up the buttons at the sides of the ATM display to the I-PAC2, which then feeds button presses as keystrokes to the computer running inside.

It's far from perfect or complete, but it's a good start. There is still much to be done, including mapping the ATM's keypad to actual game controls so that one can not only watch but also play DOOM. Of course, it's unlikely that you'll see the finished product out in the wild, or that someone will be able to simply hijack any regular ATM for this purpose. But the project is a good example of how creative, persistent, not to mention insane, some people can be for the sake of learning, fun, and some good old fashioned hacking.

VIA: Hack A Day

More on Computing