Doom running through the Notepad app looks surprisingly playable

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Very few months go by on PC Gamer without mention of 1993's most-loved FPS, Doom. That game somehow manages to find a new lease of life (opens in new tab) regularly, be it running ray tracing, on a motherboard BIOS (opens in new tab), or, as I've just seen today, in the Notepad app.

Game dev creator, Sam Chiet (opens in new tab), claims it's "the ideal way to play." And while they're clearly joking, it's not actually that terrible of an experience. I mean, the game is running at 60fps for starters. I've certainly seen worse.

The fidelity of the final image perhaps isn't ideal, and yes, there is some flickering. But for a game displayed wholly through the use of characters in the Notepad app, it's not half bad. I can actually make out what's happening in the game, and the lack of colour isn't as distracting as you might expect.

This isn't some magically modded version of the text-based app, either. The Notepad app has not been modded in any way, says Chiet.

"Incredible," John Romero, one of the creators of Doom, says in a tweet (opens in new tab) responding to Chiet.

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NotepadDOOM may soon arrive as a downloadable version for others to play if you're interested in trying it out for yourself. Cheit says it'll take some time to package it all together, but that should all be done in the next couple of days. There's also another version of Doom called DOOM-ASCII (opens in new tab) that will run in a text-based terminal if you need an immediate retro gaming hit.

It's all very impressive. You think you've seen it all with Doom and then someone comes along and runs the game on/with something they shouldn't. There's even a whole Reddit dedicated to old hardware running Doom (opens in new tab). You can also thank Doom's original creators for allowing all this to happen in the beginning. The Doom source code (opens in new tab) was released for non-profit use back in 1997, and ever since it's hosted hundreds, if not thousands, of whacky projects.

Open source software has resurrected Doom over and over again, and allowed for a lot of ingenious uses over the years, though Doom's relatively paltry system requirements sure help a bunch, too. 

You can run the game on a potato, literally (opens in new tab).

Jacob Ridley
Senior Hardware Editor

Jacob earned his first byline writing for his own tech blog from his hometown in Wales in 2017. From there, he graduated to professionally breaking things as hardware writer at PCGamesN, where he would later win command of the kit cupboard as hardware editor. Nowadays, as senior hardware editor at PC Gamer, he spends his days reporting on the latest developments in the technology and gaming industry. When he's not writing about GPUs and CPUs, however, you'll find him trying to get as far away from the modern world as possible by wild camping.