Modder tweaks Quake to run on a grainy oscilloscope

Programmer modifies ageing oscilloscope to play classic 3D shooter video game

Click to follow
The Independent Tech

Forget about photorealistic graphics and next-gen power, a programmer has modified an aging oscilloscope to play the classic first-person shooter Quake.

Programmer Pekka Väänänen has set a new bar for video game ‘demakes’ (an adaptation of modern software for an outdated piece of hardware) with his fully-playable rendition of 1996 Quake on an Hitachi V-422 oscilloscope - a device conventionally used to indicate changes in signal voltages with a single line on a two-dimensional screen.

Väänänen’s complicated demake required him to transform the three-dimensional graphics of Quake into a signal the oscilloscope could read and display - such as audio.


By outputting the game through an audio card, Väänänen was able to modify the game’s engine to be read as a series of changing voltages which the oscilloscope would draw in rapidly-shifting lines. You can read Väänänen’s complicated process here, and watch the gloriously blurry results below.


Väänänen isn’t the first to tweak an oscilloscope to play a video game. In 1958 physicist William Higinbotham created a basic tennis simulation, similar to 1972’s Pong, that ran on an analogue computer and with an oscilloscope display.

Other notable demakes to have surfaced in the past year include a playable version of Doom on an ATM cash machine by a group of Australian programmers and a basic version of Twitter running on a Game Boy Colour.