5 Unexpected Gadgets That Can Run The Original Doom Games

In 1993, the original "Doom" was the biggest thing in PC gaming since color displays. It may just have been 2D sprites sliding around in a 3D environment, but it was some of the most advanced consumer-grade 3D action on the market back then. Of course, that was then, and this is now.

By today's standards, the hardware and software that went into running "Doom" are downright minuscule. Thanks to the rapid advancement in computer technology in a few decades, even the smallest or most specialized devices can be made to run something as simple as "Doom" natively or with a bit of coaxing. This is why it's become a running meme in the last few years that almost any electronic device can run "Doom." If it has sufficiently powerful computing ability and a screen to display things (or even if it doesn't), anything can at least get a copy of "Doom" running. And we do mean anything.

An Apple Watch can run Doom

How do you play a first-person shooter on a device with two buttons? Not in the way you'd expect. After a 10-hour hackathon in Facebook's Tel-Aviv office, programmer Lior Tubi was not only able to get "Doom" running on his Apple Watch, but he did it natively instead of through the use of emulation software. That's quite an achievement, considering "Doom" was designed for Windows 95, Apple's polar opposite.

Rather than with the Watch's side buttons, the game is controlled by tapping in specific spots on the front touch screen. Tapping the center gets you moving forward, tapping the sides turns you, tapping the top-right shoots your gun, and so on. It is not an ideal way to play the game, as there is a considerable lag in the touch controls, and it runs very slowly, but it does run! That is an objective fact.

A MacBook Pro Touch Bar can run Doom

Getting "Doom" to run on a MacBook natively or through emulation is not that difficult or impressive. It's still a computer, so as long as you know what you're doing, managing the files is easy. But what if you were to get "Doom" running not on the MacBook proper but exclusively on one of its secondary screens?

Through an unexplained process, a YouTube user named diffractive got a copy of "Doom" running exclusively on the Touch Bar display on their MacBook Pro. Of course, since the display is so narrow, you can barely see any of the action on the screen, but it is running and surprisingly cleanly. The character moves steadily, and the music and sounds play normally; if not for the visual aspect, it'd be perfectly functional. Obviously, you could use a larger display, but that would sort of defeat the purpose.

An ATM can run Doom

"Doom," in its original launch and the years since, has proven to be an absolute cash cow for whoever holds its license, be it id Software, Bethesda, or Microsoft. Rightfully so, as the game effectively pioneered the concept of the multiplayer deathmatch, a bedrock practice for all online FPS games that have been released since. Considering the veritable piles of money the game made, it seems apropos for it to run on a device whose sole purpose is dispensing cash.

A pair of hackers from Australia created an elaborate case mod for an NCR Personas ATM, allowing its OEM display to run "Doom" while controlling the game with the side panel buttons and PIN pad. Their secret weapon was an I-PAC2 control board, allowing them to emulate a USB keyboard using the ATM's buttons. The controls weren't perfect, but the game ran fine, and the ATM's internal speaker could even play the sounds and music.

An Ikea bulb can run Doom

Every aspect of our lives is getting steadily smarter. If you use any kind of object or device in your home, it can have a little computer stored inside of it, even if it's something that would otherwise be disposable, like a lightbulb. Thanks to this rapid advancement, even the smallest home appliances could, in theory, be used to run "Doom."

Modding group Next-Hack took apart an Ikea TRÅDFRI RGB GU10 LED smart light bulb, harvesting its 108kB of RAM and 1MB of internal flash storage. By mounting a custom TFT display to the side of the bulb, plus a small speaker and simple control device, they were able to get an instance of "Doom" up and running. The bulb's specs aren't quite high enough to get the game into a conventionally playable state, but they could at least get it running without setting it on fire.

Doom can run Doom

Alongside advancing technologies, modders and programmers have also gotten smarter with the passage of time. Programs have become easier to use and disassemble, allowing modders to get more creative with their application of existing resources. It's thanks to this that one particularly mad modder was able to get an instance of "Doom" running inside "Doom." Feel free to make your own "Pimp My Ride" or "Inception" jokes.

Using a special modding tool that allows for elaborate interactive environment creation, the modder, named TheZombieKiller, was able to create a virtual arcade machine inside their copy of "Doom," which itself runs an entirely separate playable instance of the game. Technically, this is not a wholly faithful instance of the original "Doom," since the original game's code is hard to mod, but rather an emulated version of "Doom" called "GZDoom," with the "Doom" within "Doom" also running on "GZDoom."