Dev

Husqvarna ports Doom to a robot lawnmower – not its chainsaws, thankfully


Swedish garden appliance maker Husqvarna has ported Doom to one of its robotic lawn mowers.

Come April 9th, owners of the NERA models in Husqvarna’s Automower range will be able to use its companion app to upload the seminal first-person shooter to their grass-scything machines. The NERA boasts a small screen and a “jog wheel” that’s present to do things like set the height at which you want the machine to manicure your lawn.

When running Doom, turning the wheel left or right navigates your space marine. The game is played by using the robotic lawnmower’s onboard display and controls. Pressing the knob fires a weapon and the mower’s START button makes the marine run.

Husqvarna hasn’t explained how to perform other important in-game actions such as switching weapons or sprinting. It has offered the video below to have a look at the game in action.

Youtube Video

If you register for this service, Husqvarna’s Connect app will upload the game to the mower on or around April 9th. Play will be possible until September 9th, after which the app will quietly remove Doom.

Dammit.

The Register fancies the chosen timespan is timed to coincide with northern hemisphere spring and summer – peak mowing season for many owners of the machine. And given that mowing the lawn – even with these robot mowers -is a thankless task, the chance to let off some steam by fragging aliens will surely be welcome.

Husqvarna showed off the port at an event called Dreamhack late in 2023, and said the decision to make it publicly available is a response to the excellent reception it received the first time around.

With the cheapest NERA The Register can find carrying a price tag of €2,199 or £1,999 ($2,500) – a sum that buys you the model 310E – this is a very expensive way to play Doom in a very unsuitable environment. But your money will also buy you a machine that can mow lawns up to 1000m² and tidy up their edges. For some extra coin you can have the machine operate without guide wires.

Apologies to US-based reader/gardeners: we couldn’t find the NERA range on Husqvarna’s American website which is probably why Husqvarna has limited its distribution of Doom to 34 European countries, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.

The NERA thus joins the long list of things capable of running Doom, including bacteria, the Raspberry Pi Pico, and maybe even a bump board – an item found in commercial kitchens.

Happily, Husqvarna hasn’t ported the game to some of its other products. The Register doesn’t fancy Doom on a leaf blower, or hedge trimmer. Thematically, the game fits with the company’s scarifiers and dethatchers, devices that rough up turf to help grass grow back better.

Nor has Husqvarna brought the game to its chainsaws, surely a missed opportunity given that tool’s vastly gratifying presence in Doom.

What’s that you say? Doom on a chainsaw could be a tad dangerous? Fair play: your correspondent has no interest in being the one to prove you wrong. ®



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