A 19-Year-Old Got DOOM Running On A McDonalds Cash Register

Image: Twitter (Ryan Edgar)

You think your gaming rig is impressive? Not anymore. Meet Ryan Edgar, a 19-year-old who has the wonderful honour of playing DOOM ... on a Maccas 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 McDonalds 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 Maccas 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 Maccas terminal, although its been previously reported that Maccas 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 Maccas registers can run games. What else could they run, I wonder?


Comments

    What else could they run, I wonder? Literally anything that ever ran on Windows XP (and more through emulation)

    I'm constantly in awe of the technical prowess required to get a version of Doom up and running on everything from a smartwatch to the tiny little touchscreen on a printer, but this guy managed to get Doom running on... A PC. Its native platform. Congrats, I guess.

      Well, that still depends on the RAM/processing power of the terminal, so maybe not literally everything.

        The minimum system requirements for Windows XP are maybe 10 times higher than that of Doom. While it is possible that they might have been able to trim those requirements a little for a point of sale oriented version of XP, I doubt you'd get anywhere close to the point where Doom won't run.

        The original README file lists an i386 with 4MB of RAM as the minimum specs. Today there's not much point in optimising embedded systems with a display down past that point.

        You can see it in the POST in the video at 4:10.

        Mobile Pentium II @ 266MHz
        256 MB of RAM

        Easily good enough to run Doom and also a lot of games made after it I would assume.

          That's not the cash register that the 19-year-old used in the story above (just a video showing off an older version of the systems), so don't want to automatically assume the hardware is identical.

            Looking at the pictures, I think it is a Panasonic Stingray JS950 (note the Panasonic logo on the back, and model number on the startup screen). Here's a data sheet I found for it:

            https://www.jarltech.com/ger_new/new/pdf/en/pansting.pdf

            If that's what the device is, then we're looking at a 3.2GHz Celeron D with at least 1 GB of RAM. I suspect the main limitation on what games it can run will be the graphics hardware: I wouldn't be surprised if the video hardware is effectively a simple frame buffer with little or no hardware acceleration.

            It'd be more than enough to run any DOS-era game you could throw at it though.

            i think the point @jamesh is trying to make is that this is nothing an 8 year old couldnt do. Irrespective of the actual hardware, doom is able to run on a 386 or 486 @ 33mhz. Any machine running windows XP not only has a significant hardware advantage, but is running a typical x86 based OS. There is zero tinkering required to accomplish this. Doom uses a software based renderer that by default runs anything, and Doom itself runs on x86 based operating systems. He didnt have to modify an engine, or do any porting whatsoever.

            Getting doom to run on something like a printer is a substantially more impressive feat as the hardware isnt design to launch any 3rd party code and runs proprietary software not based on dos or windows.

              That isn't at all what I said. My point was that it is not surprising the hardware was powerful enough to run a game like Doom: the game is 25 years old, and was designed to run on virtually any PC available at the time. The cost of "Doom capable computers" has only gone down since then.

              That is quite separate from saying how difficult it would be to actually get the game to run on the machine. In this case, he managed to do it with an "autorun.exe" off a USB stick. But it could have been a lot harder depending on how much effort McDonalds had gone to to lock the systems down.

              You've also got to give him credit for actually going out and trying this. There's a big difference between claiming something is theoretically possible and proving that it can be done.

      I've got Doom 1 and 2 running on my homebrewed N3DS.

      Most Homebrewed consoles these days always get a Doom Port.

        Where the wayward ships meet their grisly fate.

      Was going to post this too, this isn't remarkable in the slightest.

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