Lumia 950 XL runs Windows on ARM, original Fallout game

People do a lot of crazy things with their phones these days but one of the craziest things you can do is to run a desktop operating system on it. How about taking things a bit further by playing a desktop game on a desktop OS running on a phones? That's the rather absurd demonstration that YouTuber Wall SoGB made and while it's not exactly a worthwhile gaming experience, it's nonetheless an impressive technical demonstration at that.

Microsoft may have abandoned its Windows Phones but it at least gave its fans a farewell gift. It released the tools needed for hackers and tinkerers to unlock the phones and run other operating systems on it. Like, for example, this case of Windows 10 on ARM running on the Lumia 950 XL.

Windows on ARM (WoA) is relatively young and initially designed to run on the old Snapdragon 835 processor. The Lumia 959 XL, of course, runs on an even older Snapdragon 810 and has only 3 GB of RAM. Unsurprisingly, it's considerably slower than even the first Windows on Snapdragon devices, which were already rather slow. Still, it's not terribly slow and is quite usable on its own.

But then you throw in the 20-year-old Fallout game running through Steam. Since neither the game nor Steam itself runs natively on the ARM CPU architecture, it has to use Windows on ARM's x86 emulation. With an external mouse and keyboard, you've got an actually playable desktop game running on a phone. Not ideal but still impressive it runs at all.

It's even more impressive when you consider that all of this is running directly on the phone's hardware, not in a virtual machine or container. It is, sadly, also a poignant reminder of what could have been, had Microsoft not squandered its opportunity.