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Move over toasters: Here's Doom played via rotary telephone

An image of a demon dying to a shotgun in Doom 2.
(Image credit: id Software)
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The question: Why do people try to get Doom running on everything under the sun and hack together the most bizarre control methods they can think of? The answer: Because it is cool. Id's classic shooter is not only a landmark in gaming history but, over 25 years later, is capable of running on any modern hardware, never mind the vast array of electronic gizmos we all have lying around, and has a fairly limited range of inputs.

On the inputs side we've seen folk controlling Doom with everything from a DDR mat to, erm, trained rodents (we will return to them). Twitter user Yoshino decided that his contribution would be a rotary telephone: For the younger crowd, these are landline telephones with a rotary dial (a numbered finger wheel). God I'm old.

Returning to Yoshino, a machine translation of his words reads: "A fierce man who operates Doom with a dial-type phone has finally appeared. Maybe the operability was bad in the past."

From the video we can see the commands are bound as follows: 1 is shoot; 2 is left; 3 is right; 4 is forwards; 5 is back; 6 is the action button. Let's rock 'n roll.

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It's easy to forget but at release Doom was the most technically advanced game around (and would remain so for years), and there's undeniably a thrill in seeing what was once the cutting edge running on potatoes or being controlled by older tech like a rotary phone.

It seems a month never goes by without some OG Doom news, and long may that continue. Pianos are old news: Want to see it running on a pile of mouldy potatoes? Here you go. Or how about on a pregnancy test? My favourite recent story is that one researcher trained rats called Carmack and Romero to play the game. Next up let's go for the combo: Rats play Doom via telephone.

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."