Pianos, printers, and other surprising things you can play Doom on

Doom piano

Packed inside Doom’s modest 12MB is the secret to immortality. id Software's primordial shooter is undying in its influence: it's been reworked into dozens of incarnations both sublime and silly, with scores of custom WADs bestowing hundreds of modded levels and weapons. Even designer John Romero contributed a new map recently, after over 20 years. Doom refuses to die.

Critical to Doom’s eternal life is the fine art of sticking the game onto as many pieces of hardware as possible. The phrase “it runs Doom” has become a sort of motto among the community, and with the only criteria being a working screen, some inputs, and a bit of processing, enthusiasts have gone to hell on some of the most unlikely devices. Doom might not run its best on, say, an LED billboard or a children’s Leapfrog console, but that’s beside the point. If it turns on and has a screen, it needs to run Doom. Here’s a collection of some of the stranger gadgets hosting their own pieces of Doom as best (or worst) they can.

A printer

A couple years back, a security vulnerability in the Canon Proxima line of printers led a technical security specialist to upload Doom via a firmware update. The intent was a demonstration of the dangerous ease of access to the Proxima’s software, and the result was a playable Doom—which looked and ran like soundless garbage. Still, Doom on a printer is now a thing that exists in the world. A very ugly Doom, at least.

An oscilloscope

When science needs a break, the perfectly adequate equipment laying around a lab shouldn’t go to waste. Thus, YouTube user Zekinn put Doom on an oscilloscope—a device that measures electronic signals or “that box with all the knobs on it”—with surprisingly decent performance. The scope itself uses Windows 95, according to Zekinn’s description, so it was only a simple matter of pushing aside trivial urges to better humanity’s knowledge and install Doom. (Bonus: Doom’s brother Quake also saw time on an oscilloscope.)


The goal of hacking an ATM usually involves getting it to spew out money, but an Australian group decided to bring Doom upon one instead. As Engadget reported, the ATM’s use of Windows XP reduced the difficulty of installation, but some custom software work and key remapping was needed for proper controls. The group has since reconfigured the screen’s side buttons to function as weapon select keys, according to its comments on the YouTube page. The next logical step is to secretly place it on a sidewalk and have it demand a full clear of the first level on Nightmare before spitting out your bills.

Doom in Doom

The best way to fight off the boredom of slaying demons in Doom is to take a break to play some Doom. A mod for the popular GZDoom port runs a basic copy of Doom within the game itself using a tool called Action Code Script which allows complex interactive environments and objects based on player input. It's only a matter of time before we can play Doom in Doom in Doom. In the meantime, creator Zombie Killer has also put Wolfenstein in Doom.

The Commodore 64

If you think Doom’s visuals should be re-imagined with the consistency of fine sandpaper, then all you’ll need is to fire up a Commodore 64 with its SuperCPU upgrade—a necessary appliance for the modern household. An anonymous Swedish modder utilized the console’s blistering fast 20MHz core and 16MB memory to port Doom with the expected results of a grainy, beige-colored mess of a slideshow. Only 30 more minutes of pressing forward until you get the shotgun!

An MP3 player

Compared to this Doom port on a SanDisk Sansa Clip MP3 player, the Commodore 64 version may as well be Crysis running on quad Titan Blacks. The above video showcases Doom clinging to life on the Clip’s monochrome OLED screen while creepy ambient noises play in the background, which I assume is a desperate attempt to distract you from the tortured display. Thank Martin Sägmüller of Anything But iPod for this gift.

A digital camera

OK, so it’s not exactly like the digital cameras sitting on store shelves or in the dustiest corner of your closet, but creator JJ Dasher’s “Doombox” uses guts from an old Kodak camera and the script-supporting Digita operating system to slap Doom on a custom case with cutely grafted keyboard keys. Dasher’s journal is an interesting read on the steps he took during construction, but I like to think he simply visited a low-res version of a demon-infested Mars facility and snapped a few pictures.

A piano

It turns out, Doom on a piano sounds like freeform jazz during happy hour—or maybe that's too generous. Put together for a game jam by a small group of indie developers, the piano uses its keys for movement and shooting, has a standard display embedded in the front of it, and pedals that... well, are just pedals. It’s amazing what copper wire and a healthy fondness for mischief will pull off.

Half-Life 2

Thanks to the perverse power of Garry’s Mod and a mod-in-mod called gmDoom, you can fill a Half-Life 2 playthrough with Imps, turn Gordon Freeman into Doomguy, and shoot the G-Man in the face with the BFG. Chris Livingston undertook such a saga a few years ago, and it’s basically outright chaos for the poor citizens of City 17.

Omri Petitte

Omri Petitte is a former PC Gamer associate editor and long-time freelance writer covering news and reviews. If you spot his name, it probably means you're reading about some kind of first-person shooter. Why yes, he would like to talk to you about Battlefield. Do you have a few days?