Stop Doomscrolling And Start DOOM-Scrolling

Stop Doomscrolling And Start DOOM-Scrolling
Image: Midway Games

Twitter is an interesting place.

Sometimes, it can be the worst place in the world where all you see is people saying dumb shit, getting owned, and then giving everybody a classic ‘I’m not owned, YOU’RE owned!’. It’s the best place to read the worst news and stay up to date with just how horrible the world is getting. If you want to see some corporate crud ruin their career or a stan account reply to the news of a dead celebrity with ‘He wouldn’t have died if he stanned [insert artist name here]’, Twitter is the place to see it. With the rise of the nefarious novel coronavirus, many people have spent their days swiping through tweets about how bad it’s all getting. This process of scanning your eyes over the worst shit imaginable, of course, has a name: doomscrolling.

Doomscrolling, according to Merriam-Webster, refers to ‘the tendency to continue to surf or scroll through bad news, even though that news is saddening, disheartening, or depressing’. It’s an act that many of us do without even realising it, and there are probably all kinds of academic references that could deduce that it’s rotting our brains and making us fucking miserable. However, one Twitter account is changing the game completely and bringing a whole new and more literal meaning to the term.

An account called Doomscroll DOOM Bot has been posting every frame from a 4-hour playthrough of the original DOOM on an hourly basis. Do you get it? The account was created by Steve Nass and Owen Weeks, two copywriters with a hankering for making goofy things.

Of course, this isn’t the first time DOOM 64 has been somewhat ‘playable’ via Twitter, as you might remember the account Tweet2Doom allows people to play the game on the social media platform. However, this one has quite the topical twist.

According to Nass himself, the project launched a little over a week ago. “We’re both Twitter users and no strangers to the perils of doomscrolling,” Nass says. “We thought it would be fun to make a bot that helps, as long as it had some stupid twist. After throwing around a couple of ideas we settled on doomscrolling through every frame of DOOM. It made us laugh that we’d be using the same phrase, but in all caps (DOOMscrolling). Then we came up with the line, ‘Stop doomscrolling and start DOOMscrolling,’ and the riff from E1M1 just started playing. So we knew at least one guy with a guitar thought we were onto something.”

Both Nass and Weeks are big DOOM fans themselves, with Nass noting that it was “the first game [he remembers] being aware of”.

Nass continues, “But even more so, we’re big fans of all the weird stuff people do with DOOM. Like the bizarre Seinfeld DOOM mod from a few years ago, or when people figure out how to make it run on oscilloscopes and rotary phones or whatever. It’s pretty cool DOOM continues to have this massive cultural footprint. 30 years later, it still doesn’t feel dated. It remains the idea we all have in our heads of the default videogame. Even if you’re not a gamer, you know DOOM.”

So far, the DOOMscroll DOOM Bot is still young, with the account only 1.5% complete. Nass mentions that it’ll take “a little under two years to complete”, but also notes that while that may sound insane, “When you have a 20GB folder of 15,770 DOOM photos on your laptop, nothing feels crazy anymore,”

You might remember the Chris Pratt Is Mario game that we did a story on last year, and that creation was all thanks to Nass and Weeks. “That one was a lot of fun and we were thrilled to see it get coverage,” Nass says.

On what got them into making these kinds of projects, Nass explains, “These little projects always start pretty organically. If an idea comes up in conversation that seems funny enough, we’ll take the trouble to figure out how to make it real—the stupider it sounds, the better. People also seem to have gotten a kick out of the last few, which is great motivation to do a few more.”

Sometimes, it’s little things like this that make the internet a better place. It feels like we’re all a little bit tired of keeping up to date with bad news, and these days there’s pretty much only bad news. In the words of Nass and Weeks, it’s time to stop doomscrolling and start DOOMscrolling.

Log in to comment on this story!