The next weird device to run Doom? Your lawnmower

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Image credit: Husqvarna

When dramatic parents panicked over the satanic influence of Doom in the 90s, maybe they had a point. Doom has burned through people’s souls and minds, filling them with a desire to play Id Software’s seminal shooter on every device they can. The question “Can it run Doom?” has driven these demonic vassals to make it playable on everything from tractors to teletext. These hellbound hearts are even daring to corrupt the totemic device of American liberty: the lawnmower. Come April, you will be able to play Doom on the Husqvarna Nera line of robotic automowers. Is nothing sacred?

Play DOOM on Husqvarna Automower®

Swedish company Husqvarna (oh well that explains it: Europeans) today announced that they’ll launch Doom for their Nera mowers through a software update on the 9th of April. It’ll be played on the gadget’s screen using the control stick, not played out in real life by tearing through your lawn or knee-deep in the shed.

I know you’re dying to know how it controls | Image credit: Husqvarna

A few conditions. Your mower won’t download Doom unless you register your mower with the promo by the 26th of August. I imagine people might be annoyed if their mower randomly japed about adding games, or possibly think it was possessed by the spirits of Hell itself. Doom will only be available for a limited time too, as a software update will remove it from mowers on the 9th of September. And it is only the shareware episode, not the full game.

Husqvarna actually put Doom on their mowers a while back, running a deathmatch tournament on them at megahuge Swedish LAN party DreamHack Winter 2023. I enjoyed watching the replays because everyone is absolutely terrible at the game, and their jerky stumbling reminds me of trying to play Doom as a littl’un before I learned how to aim with a mouse:

While this is entirely a marketing stunt, it is a fun little one. I was initially uncertain whether this fell within the spirit of “Can it run Doom?” because I think of that as super wizard class hackers driven by their demons to crack open hardware and rewrite software and jam Satan into a pregnancy test. It’s not the same if you make the device and have all the schematics and source code. (This certainly isn’t me being bitter that I don’t even have a garden in my rented flat, let alone the luxury of a £3000 lawnmower.) But surely the greatest hack of all is the social engineering of a Doomed soul convincing bosses to not just allow but actively encourage their worship? If you’re able to sway the prime evils that are corporate lawyers, you’re performing some powerful magic indeed.

Combining automated cleaners with Doom does remind me of DOOMBA, Rich Whitehouse’s project which lets you generate Doom maps based on a Roomba’s map of your home. And for Doom in more unexpected places, enjoy browsing the website Can It Run Doom? Do check out the Doom Piano; I was responsible for cutting its wonky hellish monitor frame.

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