‘DOOM’ can now be played on a rotary phone

Ask your grandparents what a rotary phone is

The classic id Software shooter DOOM has been ported to just about every platform with a screen since it was first released back in 1993 – and now one without, as the game has been ported to an old-fashioned rotary phone.

For those too young to remember, rotary phones were analogue devices that required each digit in a phone number to be dialled one at a time before a call could be made. They were about as far from a smartphone as could be imagined.

The hack was spotted by one of DOOM’s original creators, John Romero (thanks, TheGamer), who shared the footage with the caption “Hello operator? I’d like to report a Cacodemon.”

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The mod is the work of Reddit user g_calgary, who had previously posted his work mapping the analogue signals of a rotary phone to simple text input. Having been challenged to use the technique to play DOOM, g_calgary took the bait, although says the result is “just an awful experience. Do not recommend!! LOL”.

It appears to be good advice, as this hack seems to have been done in the vein of “just because we can, doesn’t mean we should”. While g_calgary mapped the keyboard controls to the phone’s input, the slow nature of a rotary phone meant a “4” had to be dialled for every single step forward. It’s painful to watch, let alone play.

However, anyone curious enough to experience this tortuously slow version of DOOM for themselves can find the code to use a rotary phone as a numpad on GitHub. Finding a working rotary phone in 2022 is another problem, though.

This latest evolution in ways to play Doom follows a researcher teaching rats to play the game in VR, a developer running the game on a cash machine, and a satirical mod that swaps demons for NFTs.

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In other news, Take-Two Interactive has said it plans to continue acquiring companies. This follows news that the holding company, which already owns 2K and Rockstar Games, paid £9.3billion ($12.7billion) for mobile gaming titan Zynga.

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