Here's Doom running on 100 pounds of moldy potatoes

Doom running on potatoes
(Image credit: Equalo on YouTube)

We've seen Doom running on printers, smart watches, digital cameras, and even on an ATM. Impressive as these feats are, the unlikely hardware running Doom in all these cases are getting their electricity from traditional sources.

Anyone who's been through grade school science class can probably tell you that potatoes can be used to generate electricity. Stick some zinc and copper into a potato, and the potato's acids and salts essentially act as a chemical battery. Line up enough potatoes and you can use them to power something, though even with several potatoes you'll only have enough power for something very small.

But how many potatoes would it take to generate enough electricity to run Doom? YouTuber Equalo, over the course of several long days and nights in his potato-filled garage, decided to find out.

Equalo set out to get Doom running on a Raspberry Pi Zero, calculating he'd need about 770 slices of potatoes to generate the 100-120 milliamps and 5 volts required. He brought home 100 pounds of potatoes, boiled them (which increases the amperage), sliced them, and wired them up. Then he plugged in the Raspberry Pi.

And... it didn't work. Despite pulling roughly enough amperage from those sliced potatoes, the tiny computer just wouldn't boot. But Equalo wasn't ready to give up.

Unfortunately, over the next few days of tinkering, all those cooked potatoes began generating more than just electricity. They started growing mold. Choking on the stink, Equalo finally had to give up on the Raspberry Pi and decided to try powering a TI-84 graphing calculator instead. He removed the batteries and hooked up the big, stinky, rotting potato battery.

Finally, success! After six days of labor and a garage full of potato stank, Doom was running on 100% potato power. While he was pleased with his experiment, Equalo discovered one unfortunate side-effect.

"So, I hate potatoes now," he says in the video. "That's saying a lot. I live in Idaho."

Christopher Livingston
Staff Writer

Chris started playing PC games in the 1980s, started writing about them in the early 2000s, and (finally) started getting paid to write about them in the late 2000s. Following a few years as a regular freelancer, PC Gamer hired him in 2014, probably so he'd stop emailing them asking for more work. Chris has a love-hate relationship with survival games and an unhealthy fascination with the inner lives of NPCs. He's also a fan of offbeat simulation games, mods, and ignoring storylines in RPGs so he can make up his own.