Check out ‘Doom II’ running on a single key on the Optimus Maximus keyboard

What the heck? We’ve seen 1993’s classic first-person shooter Doom run on a lot of crazy things over the last 20-plus years, but this takes the cake. In the video above, we see the 1994 sequel, Doom II: Hell on Earth, running on an actual, physical keyboard key. The keyboard in question is the Optimus Maximus that uses stand-alone displays for each key. These little displays are fully customizable, displaying any function assigned by the user.

Just like when classic Doom was pushed into the Touch Bar installed on Apple’s new MacBook Pro laptops, the object here was obviously to see if the hardware would be capable of running the shooter without additional hardware. In this case, the game is playable, but likely only if fans have a magnifying glass strapped to their eyeballs.

The individual behind this Doom II project doesn’t explain how this was accomplished or how the player moves around and shoots the hellish goons. However, a look at the keyboard’s specs shows that on the back it includes two USB 2.0 ports, an SD card slot intended for layout storage, a smaller USB port, and DC input. It comes with software for programming each button, such as editing each image displayed on the keys, reproducing a sequence of symbols, and more.

Every key-sized screen on the Optimus Maximum is an individual module consisting of a moving cap, a microchip, and an OLED display. The display portion has a viewable area of 0.4 x 0.4 inches, a 48 x 48-pixel resolution, and a minimum frame rate of 10 frames per second. The little screen even supports 65,536 colors and 160-degree viewing angles.

These modules can be easily removed and cleaned. The can essentially be programmed with anything ranging from math functions to HTML codes and, as we see in the video embedded above, old PC games that once ran on 486 processors, 8MB of system memory, and two configuration files setting up the DOS environment to grant the game access resources and sound. Wow. Just look at what games demand today!

However, notice in the video that the only key/screen that’s lit is the one running Doom 2: Hell on Earth. That may be how the overall keyboard can generate the game’s high framerate. In an FAQ discussing the keyboard, the manufacturer indicates that when all 113 screens are cycling through the same information, the framerate will be around 10 frames per second. If animated images are only on five displays, then the framerates will be faster.

The Optimus Maximus keyboard launched in 2007, so it has been around for almost 10 years. Unfortunately, inventive programmers wanting to shove other old PC games onto a key are out of luck, as the peripheral currently is not in stock.

Computing

Razer’s BlackWidow Lite is a mechanical keyboard designed for work and play

Razer's latest keyboard comes with a minimalist design that will appeal to professionals. But don't let the all-black aesthetics fool you, as the BlackWidow Lite comes with mechanical keys that makes it a great gaming companion.
Computing

These Windows 10 keyboard shortcuts will update your OG Windows skills

Windows 10 has many new features, and they come flanked with useful new keyboard shortcuts. Check out some of the new Windows 10 keyboard shortcuts to improve your user experience.
Computing

Should you buy the affordable MacBook Air, or is the MacBook Pro worth the price?

Though they both share Retina Displays and similar keyboards, there are still some specs differences and other changes which distinguish the new 2018 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. In this guide, we stack the two up against each other.
Gaming

The plug-and-play PC Classic joins the retro console bandwagon

Gaming company Unit-e is creating the PC Classic, a plug-and-play retro console that will come bundled with around 30 of the best DOS games. The system will support gamepads and keyboard setups.
Gaming

‘Blockchain gaming’ startup gets $16 million in Series A funding

A gaming startup, Mythical Games, has raised $16 million in Series A funding to work on their concept of blockchain gaming. The aim is for the startup to develop games for the PC, console, and mobile markets.
Gaming

‘Fortnite’ named Ultimate Game of the Year at the Golden Joystick awards

This year's Golden Joysticks, the gaming awards handed out by GamesRadar, have been announced and Fortnite has been named the Ultimate Game of the Year. It beat out Red Dead Redemption for best game, but Red Dead was named critics' choice.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: A.I. selfie drones, ‘invisible’ wireless chargers

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Gaming

Want to gift a Steam game so you can play with a friend? Here's how to do it

The holidays may have passed, but it's always a good time to give the gift of gaming (especially when there's a Steam sale)! Here's our quick guide on how to give a Steam game as a gift.
Gaming

‘Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers’ to launch next summer with gunblades, Viera

Square Enix revealed that Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers will be released in summer 2019. The third expansion of the MMORPG will include new story content, dungeons, and raids, in addition to gunblades and the Viera.
Gaming

The Fix PUBG campaign is over: What’s next for ‘PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds’?

The PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds development team declared that the Fix PUBG campaign was over. Here are the results of the three-month campaign, as well as the future plans for the multiplayer Battle Royale shooter.
Deals

Cyber Monday 2018: When it takes place and where to find the best deals

Cyber Monday is still a ways off, but it's never too early to start planning ahead. With so many different deals to choose from during one of the biggest shopping holidays of the year, going in with a little know-how makes all the…
Gaming

Get an Xbox One S or PlayStation 4 for just $200 at GameStop starting Sunday

GameStop is currently running an early Black Friday sale that offers an Xbox One S or a PlayStation 4 slim model for just $200 apiece. Both consoles come with a free game, and other games are also on sale.
Gaming

Original ‘Diablo’ developer calls out Blizzard for disrespecting its employees

In a Twitch rant, an original creator of Diablo has said that Blizzard is more interested in caring for its shareholders and the elite one percent of the company than looking after its workers.
Gaming

These are the coolest games you can play on your Google Chrome browser right now

Not only is Google Chrome a fantastic web browser, it's also a versatile gaming platform that you can access from just about anywhere. Here are a few of our favorite titles for the platform.