Add another to the list of weird and wonderful ways to play ye olde Dum: teletext. A new mod converts Doom into a teletext signal, allowing you to play the seminal shooter rendered as a teletext block image on your TV. You can even control it with your TV remote. Check it out in the video below! I really, really like the smiley that replaces Doomguy’s goon.
You can download the teletext-doom mod from GitHub. It currently only supports the original Doom. Obviously it takes a bit of work to run even on computers, although you can actually set it up to play on a real TV if you want and if your TV can handle it. Developer Lukneu warns that “many modern TVs seem to struggle to refresh Teletext pages”, their modern LG groans at 3fps while the old CRT happily plays at 30fps.
You may remember the teletext image being prettier than this, but Lucneau says that’s a deliberate decision. While later versions of teletext technology have added support for more colors, higher-resolution graphics, and other convenience features, the original Level 1 teletext standard is used here “mainly because it just feels like ‘real’ teletext to me, and I like the original block view.”
Teletext, I’ll explain for people who have never had it, was a bit like a magazine on your television. The technology hid the data streams in invisible parts of the television broadcast, accessed by teletext and entering page numbers, and had enough space for low-resolution ASCII text and images. You can get news, sports, TV programs, quizzes, dating profiles and much more. The Internet eventually became obsolete, but for a while it was very exciting and convenient. My sister and I always played Bamboozle Quiz together, and Digister video game pages had a huge influence on me then.
Potential future ideas for the project include supporting other layers and different rendering modes that use color, or use ASCII characters instead of mosaic tiles, or only draw edges.
The only new feature I want is level loading screens presented as holiday lists in teletext. Only £37 for an all-inclusive weekend at Phobos Lab! Or just £52 for a romantic couples break at Slough of Despair. But skip this week-long tour of the shores of hell; it sounds picturesque but a friend of mine went last year and said it was just guys on the lash.
People have made Doom play on all sorts of weird devices, from cash registers to tractors. Some of my friends connected Doom to a real piano (a project in which I played the smallest role), so it was controlled by pressing keys, which turned each game into a piano. Blog It Runs Doom! tracks people’s brilliant attempts to jam Doom into unlikely places.