James Brown's semi-functional LEGO computer brick, with integrated OLED display panel, has a new trick up its sleeve: the ability to function as an external monitor for a more powerful device, even to the point of running classic first-person shooter Doom.
Brown unveiled his original custom electronic LEGO brick earlier this month. While its shape was designed around the classic LEGO computer, rather than having a display which is merely printed onto the plastic surface it holds a compact single-color OLED panel and just enough of a microcontroller to display simple animations.
At the time, Brown was working to write code that would create animated versions of various LEGO computer-type bricks, including the iconic radar display — but the project has taken something of a turn, resulting in the first LEGO computer brick to ever play Doom.
"I wired the brick up as a very small external monitor," Brown explains, "so you can, for instance, play Doom on it. [The main computer] does an adaptive histogram equalization to flatten the the dynamic range, adds some noise, and thresholds it [to one bit per pixel]. I wasn't going to do it, but then I thought how annoyed I would be when someone else inevitably did."
While what appears on the screen is recognizably Doom, Id Software's seminal 1993 first-person shooter, it could prove a challenge to play: In addition to being a monochrome panel with one-bit color depth, Brown's LEGO brick monitor has a resolution of just 72×40 pixels — a little bit lower than the VGA Mode 13h 320×200 resolution for which the game was written.
More details are available in the replies to Brown's Twitter post.