Modder gets Doom running on Unique Device

Hardware enthusiast Aaron Christophel has now shifted his focus from his previous project of running 1993’s Doom on a toothbrush to a new and unusual Doom port, which may just be the most peculiar one yet.

The toy, which costs $80, is designed with a screen and buttons for control. Christophel transforms it from a regular electronic toy to a unique and absurd way to experience id Software’s iconic first-person shooter game.

Although it may seem like a joke, the amount of effort required to run Doom is truly impressive. The technology it utilizes consists of only 16 kilobytes of RAM and 64 kilobytes of flash memory, with an estimated storage capacity of one or two megabytes.

Even though this is sufficient for running the device’s stock operating system, it still requires a bit more power to run Doom.

Christophel guides viewers through the hack by demonstrating how to connect an ESP32 microcontroller, a commonly available and inexpensive device. Its strong hardware and software support make it a popular choice for powering various modifications.

esp32 powering doom toy
Aaraon Christophel

Through the use of the UART protocol, Christophel has the capability to transmit information to the device and remotely control it when connected to a PC.

Here, it not only runs Doom, but also utilizes the controller board as an input. The individual even succeeded in obtaining audio output from it to enhance the overall experience.

In addition, Christophel programmed the game to incorporate the device’s vibration control. As the player shoots, there is tactile feedback and defeating an enemy activates the toy’s motors.

screenshot of video showing components to doom toy
Aaraon Christophel

In addition to running DOOM, the modder also installs ransomware on the device halfway through the video.

Despite his disappointment about the toy’s lack of Wi-Fi capability, he acknowledges that the ESP32 inside may have the potential for it. However, it seems that the current operating system of the toy does not support this feature. Therefore, he only demonstrates the toy and does not explore its capabilities further.

To clarify, this is obviously a joke. It’s amusing to witness something like this operating DOOM and displaying the ransomware image…

“As this is not linked to the internet, it cannot be considered real…”

“Having Wi-Fi with the stock firmware would make tinkering with it so much more enjoyable.”

Despite being one of the most unusual Doom ports out there, it still holds true that if it has a screen, it can run Doom.

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