'Doom runs on everything' goes corporate as pricey lawnmower company sets up its army of grass-guzzlers to mow down hell

Husqvarna is a manufacturer of, among other things, pricey robotic lawn mowers and chainsaws. And it is now preparing, for reasons best known to itself, to beam Doom out to around 30,000 owners of its Husqvarna Automower NERA range. 

The manufacturing firm showcased what it was working on at Dreamhack Winter 2023 with a "LA(w)N" party (sorry), which it claims was the first multiplayer championship hosted on a non-gaming device. But now it's ready to roll the thing out to a bunch of (presumably slightly bewildered) enthusiast gardeners, with the original shareware episode of Doom arriving as a free update to their lawnmowers, playable between April and September 2024.

"The original team at id Software boasted some of the greatest developers ever," says Björn Mannefred, robotics software engineer at Husqvarna. "What they created in 1993 with Doom was world class and set the stage for many of today’s great games. They are also a big inspiration for us at Husqvarna. This is one hell of an update that both highlights the pioneering spirit that characterize the engineers at Husqvarna and serves as a tribute to the originators of Doom."

Doesn't really address why it's on a lawnmower but hell, I suppose after pregnancy tests and jailbroken tractors we're running out of household electronics to re-purpose. "The list of ‘things that run DOOM’ is absolutely incredible," says id studio director Marty Stratton, "and we’re thrilled to see robotic lawn mowers finally added to the list [...] we appreciate the inventive and fun tribute."

Doom's influence and impact is so widespread it's immeasurable, and whenever one of these stories crop up it always makes me wonder about what's next. Pianos, printers, an oscilloscope? Done done and done. Rotary telephone? Old news. 1-milliwatt neural chip: easy. My favourite though remains the guy who came at it from another angle and trained rats called Carmack and Romero to actually play Doom. And I guess we're just left with the question of why people will try to get this thing running on everything from potatoes to lawnmowers. But the answer's simple: it's cool.

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."