The idea of using a fridge as some kind of combined viewing/food storage apparatus isn’t a new one. The first display-equipped fridge was the LG Digital DIOS, which shipped in June 2000. Twenty years later, we can do a hell of a lot more than slap weather reports on a large slab of metal. Thanks to xCloud, you can now play games like Doom Eternal on your fridge.
— Andy Robinson (@AndyPlaytonic) October 13, 2020
As a purely technical demonstration of sideloading skill, I applaud the hack. Richard Mallard of Instagram sideloaded the Android version of Xbox Game Pass on to his Samsung smart fridge. Games maintain the proper aspect ratio and the wireless controller seems to work fine. This also means that Apple’s iPhone lacks mobile gaming features that a Samsung fridge ships with. We’ve talked about various gaming match-ups such as consoles versus PCs or smartphones versus PCs, but I’ve never even considered the possibilities in the “Fridge versus Phone” gaming comparison. Pros: “Larger screen.” Cons: “Doesn’t fit in pocket.” The iPhone brings superior performance-per-watt, but the fridge can be tilted to crush someone who beats you in multiplayer or gets you killed by needing milk at the wrong time.
Loading Doom (or Doom Eternal) on various devices is a computing past-time at this point. Give it another two decades, and we’ll be reading about someone playing Doom on their wallpaper.
With that said: Can we please stop trying to combine screens and-or gaming and kitchen appliances?
The “It’s gaming, but on your food storage device!” has always seemed, to me, to be one of the dumbest possible ideas for a kitchen. Kitchens are definitionally places where food prep is done, which means the chances of getting something onto either the controller or the screen are at their highest. Do you put the display closer to eye level, so that a standing player can see it? Or do you lower it, to encourage gamers to drag a La-Z-Boy next to the dishwasher?
Everything about kitchens screams “Don’t game in here.” Kitchens are designed for bright, sometimes fluorescent lighting, which will play merry hell with color and detail reproduction on an LCD. There’s also the difficulty of ensuring your door/LCD is a high-resolution, top-tier display. Remember, you aren’t the kind of gamer who wants to play on anything as silly as a couch, or a 60-inch TV. No. You’re the kind of gamer who can only be satisfied with linoleum, chrome, and the challenge of playing through lag when someone needs to use the microwave right next to your head. Better have a nearby 5GHz router because your 2.4GHz signal isn’t exactly going to be up to the task.
Most people occupy the kitchen to perform a specific task, such as cooking, loading a dishwasher, or hand-washing the dishes. None of these activities are amenable to gaming. Nobody seems to have considered the idea of putting a display on the splashback behind the appliances (probably because anything called a “splashback” is a bad place to put a screen). But unless you really enjoy listening to content, having a screen on your fridge isn’t much help. The two places in the kitchen you’re most likely to be facing, on an ongoing basis, are either the sink or the stove. We talk about people “staring at the fridge,” but most of the time when they do it, the fridge is open. Staring at closed refrigerators is not a major part of anyone’s day.
I even wrote some terrible poetry about it:
I do not want Doom on my fridge
I do not like it, not a smidge
It runs much better, in my house
When played from disk, and with a mouse
Streaming is all well and fine
But my fiancée needs a lime
People come and go all day
While I sit and try to play
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