In a nutshell: Christmas tree ornaments come in all shapes and sizes – from mild to wild – but I’m betting you’ve never seen one quite like this. YouTuber Sprite_tm recently showed off a tiny Christmas tree ornament modeled after a classic IBM PC. The unit was 3D printed and hand painted, which for some would be good enough to earn a spot on their tree. But the maker took it a step further by stuffing it with hardware capable of playing Doom.
That’s right, this Christmas tree ornament can play Doom.
Sprite_tm went with an ESP32-C3 microcontroller and a modified Game Boy Advance build of Doom. The chip notably features both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, the latter of which allows you to wirelessly connect a compatible controller and actually play the game on the tiny 0.96-inch rectangular TFT screen. A pint-sized speaker connected to the GPIOs of the ESP32-C3 handles audio playback.
On the software side, Sprite_tm leaned heavily on GBADoom although he did have to change how music was handled and redo the input subsystem to get Bluetooth controllers to work correctly. For the chassis, Sprite modified an existing model from Thingiverse and had it 3D printed by JLC since his SLA printer recently died. Gray and black accents were added using model spray paint, and the resin’s natural color was left untouched for the white bits.
As you can see, everything fits snugly into the case. The display is much larger than it needs to be but only a small portion of it is visible through the cutout for the screen; the rest of it remains hidden from sight inside.
Last year, we profiled this tiny Nintendo Switch tree ornament that was inspired by an electronic fireplace bauble from 2018. I also stumbled across this excellent 90s commercial-playing TV ornament that’s full of nostalgia fuel.
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