But Does It Run TOOM?

id Software’s iconic 1993 first-person shooter game Doom was the game to play on your 486 (or fast 386) and was for many their first introduction to immersive 3D environments in gaming. Its eventual release as open-source gave it a new life, and now it’s a rite of passage for newly-reverse-engineered devices: Will it run Doom?

One type of platform that never ran Doom though was the classic arcade cabinet with its portrait-aligned screen. This is something [Matt Phillips] has addressed with Toom, a PC Doom port that — finally — runs on a portrait screen.

To enter the world of a UAC space marine in glorious portrait mode, simply take an installation of Doom 1.9 for DOS, and copy the Toom files from the GitHub repository over the top of it. The minimum spec is a 486 so period hardware will be fine, all you’ll need is a monitor that can be tipped on its side.

Doom consumed far too many hours for gamers of a certain age, and while it may look quaint to modern eyes it can’t be overstated what a giant step it was compared to what had gone before. If any of you install Toom and give it a go, prepare to see its monsters when you close your eyes.

We’ve shown you Doom on all sorts of devices over the years, perhaps the most intriguing is a no-software version in FPGA hardware.

39 thoughts on “But Does It Run TOOM?

      1. You sure Wolfenstein 3d wasn’t based on the prior installations in it’s own series, Castle Wolfenstein and Beyond Castle Wolfenstein, both which came out before Into the Eagle’s Nest?

    1. I don’t think so. I mean Doom was 1993, but a few years later, 1998, Half-Life changed the game (pun intended) once again with its immersive story and atmosphere.

      Gosh I get goosebumps thinking about playing it, all the sounds are still stuck in my head, I can still talk along the whole train intro scene.

      My PC back then had an AMD K6-2 350 and a VooDoo2. It was such an leap compared to what was possible before…

      1. 5 years was a huge amount of time back then. Your computer was dated after a year, and 4 years later it was worthless.
        Doom was a pretty good leap back then. Compared to wolfenstein is had much more interresting maps, enemies and overal gameplay.

          1. Elite had no textures or shading of any sort, just wireframe. It got updated to polygon mesh graphics in 1991, but it still didn’t have a full 3D graphics engine we would recognize today.

            Games like Descent and Quake were quantum leaps in terms of 3D graphics engines, because they were fully textured, they employed lighting maps, they had things like binary tree search algorithms to define which polygons need to be drawn and which aren’t visible to the player, so they could handle massively more polygons in each scene.

          2. “That was the first true 3D game with first person view and six degrees of freedom, that no longer used sprites and parallax to fake it.”

            Elite fits this description. It also ran on a BBC Micro with 32 K of RAM, which Descent does not.

          3. Neil has the right of it – there’s no argument that the later games weren’t groundbreaking, but by your own definition, before you added arbitrary extra qualifications, Elite counts.

          4. > by your own definition

            If you want to be that pedantic, then notice: no longer uses sprites and parallax to fake it. Elite never used them in the first place because it was all wireframe. It was before Doom-like engines were even possible with the limited amount of resources, so comparing it to Descent is a bit like saying “Oh, cavemen had digital computers, they counted with their fingers.”

        1. I came to say Descent as well. Burned up my first Dell playing Descent, and Dells still don’t have adequate cooling.

          I’ve played it on a Mac, a DSi, 2 player on Playstation with a serial link cable and wish it supported my Ascii Orb or space mouse, drivers dropped after win98.

          If you replace dos4gw with DOS32A you can still run the original game, instead of a port.

      2. Hah. System shock (1994) and system shock 2 (1999) both had better immersivity than HL. It was definitely a golden era for PC games though. AAA titles before they grew into AAA costs.

        1. SS1 never felt like a FPS, though. With all that inventory action and clicking here and there. Same with SS2.

          Regarding AAA costs: totally true. There’s an amazing docu flick on youtube how HL1 came to life. Awesome what a few very dedicated people were able to do without spending millions…

          1. The AAA costs are largely because of Copyright and other middle man costs. When the gaming industry grew, everyone was starting to add fees and royalties, which made the costs go up.

            For the price of a game, the retailer or sales channel takes about 30% off the top. Then there’s about 15% in licensing fees to Sony/Microsoft/Nintendo etc. Basically about half the cost of a game is in the distribution channel.

            The half that goes into developing consists mostly of licensing and copyright costs, because the franchise wants money, the voice actors want money, the music labels want money… it’s kinda like the effect where it would have cost less money to send an actual rocket to space than hire Sandra Bullock to act in Gravity.

          2. Basically, if the consumers are willing to pay $100 for a video game, and you’re going to be selling $2 billion worth, then everyone will want in on it. All the suppliers and subcontractors add another zero to the prices because they know you can afford to pay it. This then leads to the tail wagging the dog: the industry justifies high prices on the high cost of development, which became so because everyone involved became so greedy.

            It doesn’t really cost millions to develop a game, so why is there no competition to force the prices down? Because of IP laws (Copyright etc.) which prevents anyone from making the same stuff at a lower price.

          3. AAA games in the past were hardware limited in the amount of content they could hold (you can’t fit all that much on a CD after all), so it was feasible for a small team to do all of it. Nowadays you need a fleet of artists working for years to produce the gigabytes of high-resolution content that a modern AAA game routinely runs to.

            Just the wages for all the artists and programmers for the three years a modern title spends in development runs into the tens of millions of dollars.

          4. >Just the wages for all the artists and programmers for the three years a modern title spends in development runs into the tens of millions of dollars.

            It’s not necessarily the quality or difficulty of making the content. “High resolution” does not in and of itself mean more work – most older game content was just severely resolution limited compared to the original art and texture packs were later released that bumped it up to what it was in development.

            The problem is that you now have 20 writers and 40 concept artists, social media teams, PR people, “professional dreamers” and all sorts of hang-arounds that stretch the team up to the hundreds of members, each getting paid handsomely, while older games around 2000-2005 took teams of less than 30 people to make from start to finish, and they weren’t paid 100k salaries for it.

    2. I’m gonna make a very easy guess and say that you were in your late teens/twenties when Doom came out, meaning it hit right before the “new boring, old good” moment every human being has.
      It’s similar effect to “the n-th element of that series is the best because it came out when I was 8-10 years old”.

  1. For reference

    >Big Thanks to LGR, for the inspiration

    LGR 2 weeks ago:

    “Pivot Displays in DOS. Cuz you know. I mean if you’ve”
    “got nothing going to optimize your software, like Doom here,”
    “then it is just going to be sideways. So, sorry, no such”
    “thing as Portrait Doom or Pivot Doom or whatever. At least”
    “not yet, man. Hey! Somebody do a source port for DOS,”
    “Pivot Doom. That’d be amazing. That would be stupid, but”
    “I would love to see it running properly, or, you know,”
    “in the orientation that — like, just to see Doom switch between”


  2. “Doom consumed far too many hours for gamers of a certain age”. Yup I am not much of a gamer generally but I had to spend many weekends at the office using their computer to get this damn game out of my system!

  3. Doom was the last video game I played. I lost weeks of my life to it in the 90s. What a monumental waste of heartbeats. Never could be bothered to play another video game since then, and I’m thankful to it for that.

Leave a Reply

Please be kind and respectful to help make the comments section excellent. (Comment Policy)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.