Doom running on the Playdate, a handheld with a crank controller

Technology

It’s getting to the point where we can ask: is there anything with a screen that can’t play Doom? The latest unlikely device to run id Software’s FPS classic is the Playdate, an upcoming retro-style handheld that features a crank controller.
Back in May last year, a company called Panic, which makes web development apps for smartphones and publishes games such as Firewatch and Untitled Goose Game, unveiled the Playdate. It measures just 74mm  ×  76mm  ×  9mm and sports a 2.7-inch black and white display, but its most notable feature is the hand crank that’s used as a control option.

We heard in December that the Playdate would soon be shipping to developers. One of them—Nic Magnier, a UI/UX designer at Keen Games—has tweeted footage of the handheld playing his port of Doom.

The Playdate’s Sharp-made 400 x 240 low-power LCD isn’t the best for Doom, but the shooter’s ran on lower-res screens, including a 48 x 48 single key display.

Right now, the crank isn’t used in the Doom port, but Nic said this is a first iteration, and that he’s considered doing a portrait mode where it can be used to turn, “a bit like turning the gun.” He also shared a gif of the crank being used to fire the chaingun.

The list of devices that we’ve seen running Doom is quite extensive: a McDonald’s cash register, John McAfee’s “unhackable” crypto wallet, Apple’s touch bar, a Porsche 911, inkjet printers, a Commodore 64, ATMs, calculators, iPods, a virtual console within the game itself, and more. It seems that the rule is: if it’s got a display, it gets a Doom port.