It’s a well-known fact that the 1993 classic Doom will be ported to everything, eventually. You can now add the Playdate, a yet-to-be-released micro-console with a crank, to the long list of “Things That Can Run Doom.”
Nic Magnier, a game developer, posted a video on Twitter yesterday showing a version of Doom running on the Playdate. In follow-up tweets, Magnier explained that his source port was built using the embedded devices fork of Chocolate Doom. In the tweet, showing off black-and-white Doom action, Magnier claimed this was the first playable version of the classic shooter on the Playdate. Considering the handheld console isn’t out yet, and only a few devs have access to it, that seems quite plausible.
First playable version of Doom on the Playdate. Still very early but I guess I will cross out "Port Doom" from my bucket list. My main inspiration was @fabynou Game Engine Black Book. pic.twitter.com/Qy21oTYkvf
— Nic (@NicMagnier) May 31, 2020
Magnier told Kotaku that putting together this portable port of Doom took about 15 hours spread out over a week. It was a personal project of his, something he tinkered with whenever he had some free time. Porting went fast, he explained, because the Doom engine is easy to work with. The initial idea to port Doom to Playdate came up during conversations he had with other devs working with the handheld.
“I naturally asked if it would be possible to run Doom. We talked about it but no one really had time to work on it,” Magnier told Kotaku via Twitter DM. He had never worked on a Doom port before and found getting a ‘90s shooter running on such a strange device to be an interesting problem. “[However], the real challenge [was porting] Doom to a black-and-white screen.”
The end result is impressive, and while speaking with Kotaku, he shared a bonus that he added since yesterday’s tweet: Turning the crank now fires the chaingun.
The Playdate was announced back in May 2019. It is being created by publisher and app developer Panic, and according to its website will be shipping sometime this year. The handheld is currently only available to developers, but when it releases it will be easy to mod and tweak, with Panic claiming every Playdate is essentially a dev kit.
While this was a fun and relatively simple thing to do, Magnier hopes developers don’t just port a bunch of stuff to the Playdate, even if it is pretty easy. “I hope to mainly see fresh, fun, and quirky games, not ports,” said Magnier. But because the Playdate will be open to anyone when it releases, not just devs, Magnier admits that what games get made for the odd device will be entirely based on what people want to make. And that might mean a lot more ports of classic games.
If you want to play Doom but don’t want to wait for a Playdate, you can basically grab any electronic device with a screen made in the last 15 years. Someone has probably ported Doom to whatever you are holding.