The quest to get Doom running on absolutely everything will never end, and this week’s entry is a cracker. Teletext will not be a familiar word to many outside of the UK, but it refers to an information system that ran on televisions in the UK from 1974 until 2012, and was also adopted by various other countries: You pressed the teletext button on the remote, up would come a ‘homepage’ of sorts, and you entered numbers to go to specific pages on, for example, news and sports. There was even a long-running and much-beloved games section called Digitiser.
A new mod converts Doom into a teletext signal, allowing you to play the id classic in spectacularly flickering and blocky glory (thanks, RPS). It can be controlled using the TV remote, which is what really seals the deal, while Doom guy’s face is replaced by a smiley face.
“Since teletext is based on unidirectional data transmission, it is not possible to actually run DOOM in teletext,” says mod creator Lukneu. “However, running the original game on some device that also generates a teletext page which holds the scene is just as fine. The packages sent by doom-teletext hold the teletext rendering of the current game frame, as well as a status bar that informs about the current state of the player.”
Teletext-fanciers may also notice that this is distinctly old-school teletext: The service was upgraded over time to improve the display resolution and increase the colours used. “There are different levels of teletext,” says Lukneu. “Even though higher levels allow for higher resolution graphics and a larger color palette, this projects generates a stream of level 1 teletext, mainly because it just feels like ‘real’ teletext to me and I like the original blocky look.”
I adore the explanation that “it just feels like ‘real’ teletext” so much, because it’s so true. Perhaps the most impressive element of this is that Lukneu went the extra mile so that (as their video shows) it can run on old CRTs (and newer models, though they apparently struggle with displaying teletext at a decent frame rate).
Rejoice, for we live in a world where getting Doom to run on anything that even vaguely has a pulse is almost a religion. You can run it on your motherboard’s BIOS, a pile of potatoes, a tractor, a Lego brick, a home pregnancy test, a 1-milliwatt neural chip, hell you can play Doom in Doom. My favourite of recent times, though, has to be the genius who went next-level trained rats named Carmack and Romero to play Doom
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