How to Play Classic “Doom” in Widescreen on Your PC or Mac

Some games never go out of fashion. More than two decades after its release, Doom still fascinates players with its fluid first-person shooter action. Thanks to a range of modern ports, you can now play the game with improved graphics and controls.

Why “Doom” is always fun

Released in 1993, Doom made waves because of its rapid action (for a PC title in an era before graphics acceleration). His captivating atmosphere, his violence, his dark themes and his innovative support for the network made him popular. Critics have hailed Doom as a skillfully crafted experience that provided world-class graphics, sound, and gameplay. Every first person shooter that followed has built on its success.

Despite the dramatic advances in graphics technology since then, take a look at the Doom eternai—The original Doom is always fun to play. This classic identification software is more accessible than most current first-person shooters. This is due to its relatively simple commands. Without jumping, or looking up and down to face, the game retains an eye-catching arcade feel that has been largely abandoned.

With a free and updated version of the game engine, you can easily discover this seminal game for yourself via your PC or Mac, with a modern game controller and network support. Even better, you can read it in high resolution, even on an ultra wide 21: 9 screen, if you have one.

The magic comes from the new Doom engines

GZDoom on a large screen behind a keyboard and a desktop mouse.

In 1997, id Software released the source code for the Doom game engine as open source software. The company has invited developers around the world to adapt it to new platforms and expand its capabilities. Since then, hundreds of new versions of the Doom engine (called “Source ports”) seemed to enhance the original “vanilla” Doom experience.

ZDoom is one of Doom’s most popular source ports, and we’ll be using it to play the game on a modern wide screen. It supports Windows, Mac and even Linux.

Where to get episode files (WAD)

With modern Doom source ports, there is a catch. Most of them do not come with any game data or “WAD” files. The original Doom maps, graphics and sounds are always copyrighted and not open source. You need to find your own WADs to use with source ports like GZDoom.

Fortunately, there are many options for obtaining WAD Doom, including the following:

Shareware Doom: Originally, Doom was delivered as shareware with a free episode. You can still legally download and use this episode. The file you need is usually called DOOM1.WAD.
Freedoom: This internet fan project is working on a free and open source set of graphics, sounds and maps for Doom engines. You can download it for free, and it works well with GZDoom.
Freedoom + other WAD: Freedoom allows you to use many other fan-made WADs, many of which are their own distinct gaming experiences. Freedoom replaces the need for the original WAD Doom or Doom II that these player-created maps require for graphics and sound resources.
Commercial boom: If you want buy the original Doom on GOG, you can install it on Windows. Just go to the game directory and copy the DOOM.WAD file to use with a source port, like GZDoom. You can do the same with other games, including Doom II and Final Doom. If you have original physical copies of the game on floppy disk or CD-ROM, you can copy the DOOM.WAD files from the original media. You can also find these floating WAD files online. However, just like retro video game rom download, downloading the original WAD files from unauthorized websites is a violation of copyright.

RELATED: Is retro video game ROM download ever legal?

How to install GZDoom on a Windows PC

To get started on Windows, download GZDoom on its official website. It is available in both 32 and 64 bit versions and works on Windows 10, 7 or even Vista. If you don’t know which version to download, try the 32-bit version.

Find the GZDoom ZIP file you just downloaded and extract it to its own folder. You can place this folder wherever you want, including on your desktop.

Now it’s time to place the WAD files. If you have shareware or Doom WAD commercial files, copy them to the GZDoom folder you just created. If you don’t have them, download the ZIP file containing the Freedoom WAD, then extract its content to the GZDoom folder.

Freedoom WAD files in the GZDoom folder in File Explorer.

Double-click GZDoom.exe to run it. On Windows 10, a pop-up window stating “Windows has protected your PC” might appear; click “More info”, then “Run anyway” to bypass the warning. In Windows 7, UAC can ask you for permission to run the program; allow him to do that.

If you have multiple WADs in the GZDoom folder when you run GZDoom, you will see a list of WADs from which you can choose. Select the one you want to play, then click “Play GZDoom”.

Select the WADs you want in GZDoom.

By default, GZDoom should run full screen using the resolution of your desktop screen. To change the graphics settings, press Esc. Then, using the arrow keys, select Options> Display options or Options> Set video mode, and press Enter.

Start the game and have fun!

How to install GZDoom on a Mac

WAD Freedoom reading in wide screen.

GZDoom also works on Mac! Once you’ve set it up, it works just like the Windows version. First, download GZDoom on the official website. Take the file called “Macintosh (Intel)”. Open the DMG file you just downloaded and drag the GZDoom.app icon to the Applications folder shortcut.

If you do not have another WAD, download the ZIP file containing the Freedoom WAD, then extract its contents to a temporary folder.

You will need to create a special folder for the WAD Doom files so that GZDoom can find them. They will live in ~ / Library / Application Support / gzdoom.

In the Finder, press Shift + Command + G, paste ~ / Library / Application Support /, then click “Go”.

Create a folder called “gzdoom” in ~ / Library / Application Support /, then copy all WAD files to it.

After copying the WADs, close the Finder window and navigate to your Applications folder. Double-click the GZDoom.app icon to run it.

If your Mac notifies you that GZDoom is running, you will need to give it special permission to run it. GZDoom is not malware. However, since this is a free amateur project, it is not registered with Apple, and macOS blocks all unknown software by default.

For GZDoom to work, go to System Preferences> Security & Privacy> General. At the bottom of the window, you will see “” GZDoom.app “has been blocked because it does not come from an identified developer”; click “Open anyway.” If you get another pop-up, just click “Open”.

If you have more than one WAD in the GZDoom folder when you run GZDoom, it will present you with a list of WADs from which you can choose. Select the one you want to play, then click “OK”.

By default, GZDoom should run full screen using the resolution of your desktop screen. To change the graphics settings, press Esc. Then use the arrow keys to select Options> Display options or Options> Set video mode, and press Enter.

Start the game and have fun!

A new world of “Doom” to explore

Pirate Doom in action.

Once GZDoom is running, you can experiment with Gamepad support, and even multiplayer cooperation or the death match using its networking features. A special Doom source port to check which is set for multiplayer is ZDaemon. It makes it easy to find and join Doom multiplayer servers managed by fans.

If you run out of levels to play, check out the amazing Doom mods and conversions on ModsDB. Some fan favorites include Brutal Doom, Evernity, and Pirate doom.

Obviously, most player-created WADs, with Doom itself, are very violent and not suitable for children. But if you are away from prying eyes, good hunting for demons!

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