You think your gaming rig is impressive? Not anymore. Meet Ryan Edgar, a 19-year-old who has the wonderful honor of playing Doom…on a McDonalds register.
The key question with any piece of technology is, of course, whether it can run Doom. Edgar had the chance to answer this question recently after visiting a local McDonald’s. The store was in the process of replacing their antiquated cash registers, and because McDonald’s aren’t actually in the business of selling point-of-sale computers that are still running Windows XP, Edgar was able to take an old register home.
Talking to Kotaku Australia over DM, Edgar explained that he got Doom going by copying ZDOOM onto a USB. “[I] downloaded ZDOOM (Doom XP) on it using my personal computer, plugged it into the USB in the cash register and ran it through there with auto run,” Edgar said.
Using a USB splitter, Edgar was able to get a mouse and keyboard working, the result of which you can see below.
“I was able to run explorer.exe by doing CTRL ALT DEL to get to Task Manager but there was some weird encryption on it,” he said. He wasn’t sure about the precise specs of the terminal, although its been previously reported that McDonald’s built their own point-of-sale software called PC POS. The original version was built for MS-DOS, but an updated version (New-POS) was released for Windows XP Pro.
A shot of McDonald’s older DOS-based point-of-sale software running on a Panasonic terminal, very similar to the one Edgar used to get DOOM running on.
I asked Edgar what he planned on doing with the terminal now that he’d gotten Doom working. “I might even just use it as my second computer,” he suggested, adding that he’ll try and get Sonic Adventure 2 working on it before too long.
So McDonald’s registers can run games. What else could they run, I wonder?
I’m walking down a dark, damp and scary hallway. I can hear strange noises all around me. My shotgun is darting about the hallway and connecting rooms, looking for any movement. Suddenly my eyes find an enemy demon. It charges me and shoots a fireball. But I don’t care about myself. Instead, I’m worried about my little boy ahead of me. My robot son. I jump ahead, take the blast and kill the demon. I turn around and whisper to my robot buddy that he’s safe and he boops and beeps, but keeps on walking. I quickly follow him because nothing will hurt my Doom 3 turret drone, not on my watch.
Doom 3 was recently brought to PS4, Xbox One and Switch and I finally got around to beating it not long ago. But while the shotgun was fun to use and killing demons was exciting, maybe one of my favorite parts of Doom 3 was the small spider-like robot drones that can be found throughout the game. These sentry bots are used for security and assistance on Mars. One of the first ones you encounter helps lead you to a particular part of the base.
But while they look cute, they are extremely deadly. These bots come equipped with a powerful machine gun and they have infinite ammo. They can easily tear through packs of demons with little effort. This makes them extremely useful unless you are an idiot like me and fall in love with these little guys. In which case, these drones become another challenge added to the level. Instead of letting it go ahead, killing demons and taking fire for me, I would charge around it to protect it.
Why? That’s a great question! I don’t have a really good answer for it either.
It is surprising how little noises and small animations can help you connect with something as strange or mechanical as a walking turret. That is the key to my love of the sentry bot. The noises it makes while it walks around are the best. It’s little feet stomping quickly in succession and the beeps and boops it emits after killing a demon or when reaching a door. But what really got me was if you fall behind or walk away from the bot it will stop and look back at you, waiting. Maybe you could read that as annoyed, but I instead took it as a sign of care. It’s worried about me.
It’s thinking: “Hey, why is this idiot exploring that dark corner? Follow me, dude, there is a literal demon invasion happening. Do you really need three more shotgun shells? Or those 5 bits of armor? Really? Come on dude, I don’t want you to die out here. Follow me.”
So once my brain had given these little robots personality and emotions, I began to see them as cute creatures that needed my protection. I would keep a close eye on them, especially when a demon would pop up. I’m only human though, so I would make mistakes and lose it for a moment or get caught up in a fight and not know where it was. In these moments I would run towards the noise of gunfire.
My little buddy was in a fight and all alone. It needed my help. Often it didn’t, it would usually win against most demons in one on one fights. But if I saw a demon smack my boy, well I wouldn’t take it well. I’d usually pull out my chainsaw and send a message to other demons. Don’t you dare lay a claw, hoof or whatever on my drone boy or I will cut your demon ass in half with a chainsaw! Like Limp Bizkit, I do in fact pack a chainsaw.
I’m happy to report that during my playthrough of Doom 3 I never let a robot buddy get destroyed. I originally wrote “killed” in the previous sentence but realized these things aren’t alive. They’re just machines. But it is interesting how easily my brain bought into the idea that these digital robots are more than just that, bits of code and texture wrapped around a 3D model.
When we talk about the future of robotics, people sometimes debate how humans will react to more robots appearing in our lives. I think as long as they aren’t creepy androids, people will quickly fall in love with robot helpers. Check out the comments on any video featuring those Boston Dynamic robots. People get angry at how badly they are treated in the videos. We really aren’t that far away from a future where we all have little robots and people post them online, like cat pictures today. And I’ll be right there with you folks. Give me cute robots. I’m ready to protect them and love them, like a puppy.
After the recent surprise release of Doom 3 on PS4, Xbox One, and Switch I felt I needed to finally accomplish something I had been putting off for too long. It was time to load up Doom 3, start a new game and finish this thing. I tried before when I was much younger and fear stopped me dead in my tracks. Now I was older, braver and ready to kill all the demons and get this monkey off my back.
But first, let me take you back nearly 15 years ago when a young Zack discovered news of Doom 3 coming to Xbox. I had enjoyed playing the original games on my PC and was excited to play another Doom and this time, I would get to do it on my Xbox. That sounded great to me! Not long after this, I received issue 44 of the Official Xbox Magazine and it had a demo on it of Doom 3. The disc had a few different demos, including one for the now-forgotten Darkwatch. But the one I was most excited about was a small demo of Doom 3. At this point, May 2005, Doom 3 had been out on PC for about a year. But I didn’t have a computer that could run and so this was my first taste of Doom 3. I was ready, or so I thought.
Back in 2005, it wasn’t easy to just watch gameplay footage of a game. Especially if, like me, you had dial-up internet still. So I went into Doom 3 basically knowing very little about it beyond the trailer on the demo disc, which looked a little scary.
The demo was terrifying.
The way the game built up the dread and atmosphere was very effective, especially if you were 13 years old and alone in a dark room in the middle of the night. I remember feeling more and more paranoid as I played. Something was watching me. I always felt that sense of something hunting me. Eventually my panic and fear grew too large and I turned the lights on and quit the demo. I came back later and ended up finishing the demo, but I was scared. What would the full game be like?
The answer was: Even worse!
Playing through Doom 3 was hard for me. It scared me enough that after 30 mins or an hour I would end up having to take a break. Walk away from it. Play something else or go outside or watch a movie. Anything to escape Doom 3.
The darkness really scared me. In the original Doom 3, you could only use your flashlight by lowering your weapon. So to see in the dark areas of the game, you would have to go in defenseless. If something did pop up you would then have to drop your flashlight and fire blindly into the inky darkness, hoping whatever you were shooting would die before it got to you. This rhythm of combat caused me to get more and more anxious and afraid as I played, which is why I needed frequent breaks.
Eventually, I made enough progress that I reached Hell. Then I found myself surrounded by screams and yelling, fire and brimstone and deadly demons. Oh, and at this point in the game, Doom 3 takes away your weapons and only gives you some of them back over time with limited ammo. 13-year-old Zack had enough. After pushing through to this point, losing my guns and being surrounded by pain and suffering was too much. I shut Doom 3 off and never returned.
As the years went by, I would think about playing it again but never really did. When the BFG Edition was released in 2012 I messed around a bit with it via Gamefly, but too many other games distracted me from playing it more. Honestly, my brain was also holding me back. Some part of my mind still remembered the pain and trauma the game caused and was keeping me away from it.
So with the announcement of new ports and after years of not playing Doom 3 or finishing it, I was ready to beat this damn game. I bought the new release of Doom 3 for PS4, loaded it up and began. 15 years later, now equipped with the BFG Edition’s flashlight mod, I found Doom 3 fun to come back to and not as terrifying as before. When I reached Hell again last week, this time as an adult, I found myself getting nervous. A weird residual fear of the last time I was in Hell in Doom 3, that my brain couldn’t shake. But ultimately, it wasn’t as bad as my younger self made it out to be.
A few days ago I finally beat Doom 3. (That last boss fight wasn’t hard and also was really mediocre!) I felt a weight lift off my shoulders. I now feel inspired. Maybe I’ll go back and beat Silent Hill 1? That game also scared me too much the first time I played it. Or I might go back and finish up some other scary game from my teenage and childhood years.
Besides, these days I’m more afraid of the real world and the assholes in it than some demons or weird monsters.
Today, Bethesda announced the first three Doom games were all be coming to modern consoles including the Nintendo Switch. What Bethesda didn’t mention was that you’d first need to create a Bethesda.net account in order to play them.
ResetEra’s Nibel pointed out the requirement on Twitter earlier this afternoon. While Doom I and II only require you to login to a Bethesda account once to unlock the game, Doom III will require it every time you play in order for all of the features and content to be available.
It’s an especially bizarre requirement since none of the games have an online component. Each game only offers local multiplayer and doesn’t require an internet connection to play beyond the logins. I bought the original Doom earlier today because of the nostalgia of seeing the shooter I’d first encountered on the SNES decades ago playable in my hand on Nintendo’s newest console, but getting stuck at a login screen before I’d even fired my first bullet snapped my rose-colored glasses in half.
Is Bethesda really that desperate to get people signed up for Bethesda marketing emails?
Earlier this morning listings for the original Doom, Doom II, and Doom III briefly appeared on the Nintendo eShop, suggesting the trilogy is set to come to Switch, potentially as early today.
Spotted by Nintendo Life, the listings for the iconic first-person shooters appeared on the Nintendo UK Switch website. While none of the games had an option to buy them, they each had prices and full descriptions.
The original Doom and Doom II were both listed for £4 (approximately $5) and included four-player deathmatch and co-op. The first Doom was also listed as coming with the Episode IV: Thy Flesh Consumed expansion, including nine extra levels, while the listing for Doom II said it would come with Master Levels add-on. Doom III was listed for £8 (approximately $10) for the base game and the Resurrection of Evil and The Lost Missions expansion packs.
This news also marks the first time Doom III will have ever been ported to a Nintendo console. Hackers had previously been working to bring every Doom to the Switch themselves, but it appears like Bethesda, which owns the Doom franchise, is saving them the trouble.
While the listings have been taken down, it seems likely they simply went up early and will be officially announced during the Doom Eternal keynote at this year’s QuakeCon scheduled for noon ET today.
[Update – 12:29 p.m.]: Bethesda officially announced the ports during the QuakeCon Keynote, and in addition to Switch and PS4, the games will also be coming to Xbox One and smartphones, but only Doom I and II on mobile.
Sometimes, you just wanna play a damn shooter. You want some gnarly weapons, some mazes to wander in, and no particular justification for blowing up whatever demons cross your path. Amid Evil, a throwback shooter now released out of early access, channels the spirit of Heretic and Hexen for a frantic, first-person burst of blood and magic.
Amid Evil is published by New Blood Interactive, which also released the Doom-inspired DUSK and John Woo-infused Maximum Action. Amid Evil transplants the heavy metal, Dungeons & Dragons vibe of 1994’s Heretic and crafts a worthy successor campaign of twisty levels and flashy weapons. There’s not much story here; there are demons and dark gods, and it’s your job to take them out. What makes Amid Evil work is how it manages to marry the edgy flair of its forefathers with intelligent, almost Zelda-esque level design.There are plenty of explosive firefights, but also plenty of secret pathways and keys to find. Each level is a maze lit up in glowing neon, packed with strange orbs and raging monsters.
Embracing the fantasy design of Heretic allows Amid Evil to have a much different tone than Dusk. That game married the industrial anger of Quake with moody horror inspirations like Children of the Corn or Pumpkinhead. Amid Evil lives in a more excessive realm, similar to 1981’s Heavy Metal. You’ll grab electric tridents and shock flying angels until they shiver and burst into energy bits. You’ll find magic swords that hurl out energy beams that clash with enemy attacks, or else power up to bounce off ancient castle walls. It’s a familiar form of throwback first-person shooting wrapped in gleeful flair. It’s wizards and lost souls, and ancient magics, twisted and shaped into a familiar but satisfying package. Amid Evil’s world is the stuff of notebook sketches, and it leverages its magical elements to create worlds full of blood-soaked caverns, blue-flame alters, and duels between battle axe wielding badasses.
Amid Evil never leans so far into flashy excess that it becomes corny, though. At its core, it is a game that offers exploration punctuated by enemy encounters instead of a single exhausting gauntlet. Arena fights or monster corridors invariably give way to lager antechambers or branching paths, some of which require the proper key to access. Amid Evil’s arcane halls invite exploration, giving it a more deliberate and measured pace than a peer like Maximum Action or even modern titles like Doom 2016.
I’ll admit that Amid Evil doesn’t tickle my nostalgia bone as much as Dusk did. I’m not someone who has a deep personal relationship with Hexen. But what I’ve played so far is rock solid, leveraging the far-out fantasy vibes in an exciting shooter that I’ve found hard to put down. If you’re eager for a new shooter or simply staving off boredom until Doom Eternal, Amid Evil is a fantastic way to (magically) blow off some steam.
1993’s Doom isn’t the first shooter, but it is the one that truly kicked off a genre. Heavy weapons and bloody demons ignited controversy, while stellar level design kept players engaged. A 2016 reboot updated the series for modern times, but those left craving classic Doom can now hop into Sigil, a new collection of levels from one of the game’s original creators, John Romero.
Romero, who is working on a new FPS called Blackroom, stitched the project together in his spare time throughout 2017 and 2018. The result is an unofficial sequel to Doom’s fourth episode featuring nine new levels and music crafted by the eccentric guitarist Buckethead. I’ve been playing it all day, even streaming it on Kotaku’s Twitch channel, and it owns.
Playing Doom kicks off the highly specific level design observation node in my brain, and Sigil’s reveal some great tricks for making not just good Doom levels but great first-person designs in general. Romero delights in labyrinthine levels, some of which transform as walls open up to reveal spacious outdoor areas and hidden enemies. His flavor of Doom design has a lot in common with Zelda dungeon design, tasking players with making a mental map of the area and remembering where to go once they pick up keys or weapons. Sigil’s levels invariably loop on themselves or otherwise feature literal mazes for players to dissect.
What makes Romero’s designs work so well is how unabashedly excited he seems to be about them. Levels are teeming with enemies, including many tougher ones like the beefy, energy hurling Barons of Hell. Each new maze is punctuated with fights that mix and match Doom’s precisely-designed enemies. Pits feature side walls where projectile-spitting cacodemons and rushing floating skulls force players to dance in the tightest of spaces. Thin walkways span over chasms, doors waiting at the end. Open them, backstep, and you’ll find demons and zombies guided into the most perfect funnels.
The result is a challenging experience that manages to add bloody moments of triumph. Hell, the opening level starts with the player surrounded by fireball-spewing imps, inches away from a shotgun. There’s a real giddiness here, a sense that a master is excitedly returning to his favorite tools. (That said, this WAD only uses original Doom 1 assets and enemies, meaning it can occasionally feel less complex than other, fan-made projects.)
Sigil has a problem, but it’s the same one that many Doom modifications and WADs run into. This is a tried-and-true game, and Sigil presumes your familiarity with the original. There’s no slowly ramping difficulty, no miniature set-pieces meant to teach you to handle new monsters before they become commonplace. You’re in the thick of it, and if you happen to be a fresh-faced player for whatever reason, Sigil will kick your ass. The default difficulty is tricky; higher levels feel like borderline trolling. Screw it, let’s just toss a few cyberdemons at the start of this level. You know how to dodge, right?
In the old days, we used to call all first-person shooters “Doom clones.” But there’s nothing else like Doom. There’s a particular, nearly impossible to describe playfulness that even the 2016 reboot sometimes misses. A single run through Romero’s new levels feels positively joyous, a chance to see fantastic level design in action and observe a master at play. It’s hard, and I feel guilty admitting that I’ve been hurt plenty, but it’s Doom. Sigil gets it. How could it not?
While speedrunners are finding new angles and breaking records all the time, the nature of some levels and games means that some records truly do stand the test of time.
One quirk of the original DOOM was the in-game timer that you see at the end of every level. Rather than rounding up or rounding up or down on the precise time a level was finished, the game always rounds down, regardless.
Now if you’re dealing with a larger level or a speedrun of a full game, that’s not a big deal. But what if you’re doing a speedrun of a very specific level – a level that takes nine seconds at most to complete?
This is the crux of the issue that has seen a DOOM world record stand since September 1998, a record that has recently been broken. As outlined by speedrunner enthusiast and YouTuber Karl Jobst, the record has hung around for so long because of the difficulty involved in shaving a full second, rather than a half second or fraction of a second.
The run is an Ultra Violence Speed, meaning that players have to run through the level as fast as possible on Ultra Violence difficulty with enemies enabled. That means there’s a good deal of randomness involved in runs – will they give you a straight line to the finish? – and a very, very small margin for error.
It’s a great breakdown of how these DOOM speedruns work, and how the community was able to discover use new techniques to help shave time off the record. There wasn’t much time to save either. Had 4shockblast wasted one extra frame at any point in their run, the frame rate at which DOOM runs means the speedrun would have clocked in at 9 seconds.
You can see the full run from 4shockblast, which sits alone at the top of the Hangar speedrun rankings, can be seen below.
Tired of getting lost in the original Doom while hunting for ammo packs and teleporters? Well there’s now a mod that takes everything in the game and unravels it along a single, unwavering path, and it’s called Linear Doom.
Created by modder DeXiaZ and uploaded to ModDB, Linear Doom takes all of the game’s clever level design and reduces it, from beginning to end, into a series of corridors. It’s still possible to move slightly to the left or right, but for the most part the game only operates along a single axis. Everything from demons to secret switches have been condensed so they all appear within a single hallway.
All of the walls from the original 3D spaces are still present; they’ve just been flattened into a new kind of especially hellish dimension. On the one hand it’s impossible to get lost; on the other hand it’s impossible to avoid enemies. Linear Doom is best played holding down the forward arrow and CTRL button like your life depends on it, because, well, it does.
It’s easy to get up and running. All you need is a copy of Doom, the GZDoom software, and a copy of Linear Doom downloaded from ModDB. If you’ve ever had dreams of speedrunning Doom, now’s your chance.
As bad as all that is, you can now enjoy it from a distance with a Doom map that faithfully recreates the room. It also has an excellent name.
If you’re wondering why the ground around the bath is causing damage, that’s because the actual bathroom featured rocks all around the bath (designed to grow moss), and the damage caused to Doom Guy is a reflection of the damage we have all had to take looking at this casino/Yakuza bar colour scheme.