The Classic First-Person Shooter Video Game ‘Quake’ Played on an Oscilloscope

Programmer Pekka Väänänen used an XY-oscilloscope simulator of his own creation and a few other hacked together bits and pieces to play the classic 1996 first-person shooter video game Quake on a Hitachi V-422 oscilloscope. Väänänen describes the entire process–which generated audio to display on the oscilloscope from scene geometry–in a detailed post about the project.

To be honest, I was quite disappointed by the performance I got out of this. Merely 1000 lines on screen simultaneously, usually not even that. Any higher numbers end up being represented as such high frequencies the audio output can’t keep up. One can increase the time spent on each line but this causes additional latency and the image starts to flicker. Speeding up the drawing speed allows more stuff per frame, but the quality degrades quickly as can be seen in the comparison image shown earlier.

Quake Played on Oscilloscope

Quake on Oscilloscope

photos via Pekka Väänänen

Rollin Bishop
Rollin Bishop