When you think of devices that allow you to play video games, you’ll likely think of three traditional categories. There are the games consoles released by Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo, such as the PS4, Xbox One, and 2016’s Nintendo Switch, and handhelds like the PlayStation Vita and Nintendo 3DS. Then there are smartphones and tablets such as the Samsung Galaxy line of handsets and the iPhone which is produced by Apple, the richest company in the world. You may even think of PC gaming as millions of people play video games on their desktop and laptop computers, contributing to an industry that is worth $32 billion.
But while these three categories may be the most popular ways to play video games, they are far from the only ways that you can get your game on. Creative and massively talented programmers and gamers around the world have taken great efforts to build their own gaming systems, creating video game-playing devices out of technology that was never intended to do so. Let’s take a look.
1All the Devices That Can Run DOOM
If you’ve spent much time on the Internet then you may have come across the meme called “does it run DOOM?” The question is a reference to the action-packed first-person shooter DOOM which was released in 1993 by id Software and became the first title in a successful franchise. Fans of the game have asked themselves what the weirdest and most wonderful devices that DOOM can run on are, hence the meme.
According to a Vice Motherboard article about the does it run DOOM meme, id Software made an effort to make the game’s code more flexible, which is why it is able to run on so many strange devices. Some of these devices include a Kodak digital camera, a battered old piano, a classic white iPod, and an ATM. One group of DOOM fans even rigged up an ordinary toaster to be able to control the title, proving that toasters are good for more than just making yourself an easy breakfast. While the game was designed for compatibility, id Software probably never expected it would go this far.
2Skyrim on a Smart Calculator
As it turns out, calculators are useful for a lot more things than just working out your sums and typing out words using blocky numbers. Ordinary calculators won’t cut it, but players have been able to use the TI-Nspire CX graphing device (a fairly advance pieced of mathematical technology) to play video games.
The Next Web’s rundown of games you can play on a TI-Nspire includes some of the biggest titles around. A Redditor named RogueConditional was able to port Grand Theft Auto Advance (the 2004 Game Boy Advance game) to the device, as well as Bethesda’s fantasy RPG The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, the hugely popular block-building sandbox game Minecraft, first-person shooter game Counter-Strike, and, of course, it even runs DOOM. This calculator probably isn’t suitable for math class!
Smartwatches can be used for more than just checking your notifications when your smartphone battery has run out of juice. They can also be used to play games on the go, with the portability of the devices and the sleek design of many smartwatches makes them a fashionable and hi-tech way to play your games.
Smartwatches are remarkably versatile and some of the best smartwatch games available include the mobile gaming hit Fruit Ninja, the colorful game that involves swiping at various pieces of fruit as they splash on your screen. In fact, Everywear Games is a smartwatch-exclusive games developer from Helsinki, Finland, whose titles include fantasy adventure Runeblade and farming game Field Day. In 2016, the Norse mythology-themed Thunderstruck 2 became the first slot title ever to run on an Apple watch, after gaining popularity as a mobile and browser-based online casino slot game on sites such as Betway. Another smartphone title is Trivia Crack, a game that relies on your general knowledge, as you face off against players all around the world to see who knows best about a particular subject.
4Flappy Bird E-Cigarette
When Flappy Bird was released in 2013, it seemed like the entire world was enamored by it. The game reportedly made its creator $50,000 a day in ad revenue before its creator’s decision to remove it from the App Store and the Google Play marketplace in February 2014 for being too much hassle.
Although Flappy Bird is no longer available to download to your smartphone, someone has actually managed to make it playable on an e-cigarette device. In 2016, a YouTuber going by the name of Balàzs Bank uploaded a video that showed the game playing on a eVic-VTC Mini e-cigarette. The smoking device has upgradeable firmware, allowing Bank to port the game quite easily – although it is, as you might have expected, displayed in black and white.
5Tetris Soldering Iron
Another “smoking hot” device that can play video games is the TS100 soldering iron. It was already heralded for being a hi-tech piece of kit that allowed for high precision soldering, but someone was able to hack this piece of piping hot technology in order to play Tetris, the world-famous game about lining up differently colored blocks.
As to be expected, the TS100 version of Tetris is incredibly tiny and it is difficult to play as is. But making the gameplay even more nailbiting is that the TS100 can even increase by 10 degrees in temperature every time the player loses a game. It goes without saying: don’t try this at home. It is, however, an incredibly cool hack that makes us wonder what else can play video games.
6MacBook Touch Bar
Apple’s MacBook computers are already considered a gaming device; people can quite easily download a new game or play a game in their browser. However, some developers have gone one step further and have found a way to use the Touch Bar feature on new MacBook models in order to play games on that instead of the rest of the device.
CNET’s list of Macbook Touch Bar compatible games includes the iconic title Pac-Man from 1980, which sees a yellow sphere collect dots, as well as TouchBarDino, which is a Touch Bar version of the dinosaur game that pops up when Google Chrome doesn’t detect an internet connection. There’s no mention of DOOM on the list for now, but the Touch Bar is already providing plenty of entertainment.
It’s unlikely that the big three gaming companies (Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo) are going to embrace this world of strange video game devices any time soon. But this list does shine a light on the creativity of the gaming community and we look forward to seeing it continue.