Neuroscientist who taught rats to play Doom now wants them to create a Twitch channel


Doom can be played by rats now. Along with playing Doom on everything from potatoes to pregnancy tests, humanity has seen fit to bestow Doom’s gift on our tiny furry little friends thanks to neuroscientist and gamer Viktor Tóth.

Last month, we reported on how Tóth created a custom setup for rats to play Doom 2. This involved giving his animals tiny little sweaters connected to a device that hung them on top of a styrofoam ball. . Whichever direction the rat was running in, matching its movement in the game while firing the pistol involved licking a small button that also dispensed food and water.

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The rats then played in front of a giant curved screen (at least for the rats) that would be like playing in an iMax theater.

This was all aimed at developing new ways to create virtual environments and tests for rats, but there’s no denying how adorable it was to see a rat playing Doom. It was so adorable that Tóth could even turn his experience into a real Twitch stream.

In an interview with Futurism, Tóth was asked whether or not he had considered the streaming platform as a way to cash in on his rats’ sudden fame.

“Yeah, I think so. I think that’s a very valid way to monetize a project like this,” Tóth replied. “The only problem is how long the rat can run.”

Humans can stream for hours because we find games to be endlessly fascinating, but a rat’s attention span doesn’t quite live up to human standards. One of the rats, appropriately named Romero, was able to play Doom for 15 consecutive minutes once, but that was apparently the exception and not the norm.

“If you could get to that point and the rats would ‘play’ for 10 or 20 minutes straight, then yes. Streaming Twitch would be a very valuable way to present it to people,” Tóth added.

Tóth also said he plans to expand beyond Doom in the next iteration of his rat VR gaming setup. “One of [the games] that I liked was Pac-Man 3D because behaviorally, that makes sense. Rats don’t really like to attack things. They run away from things in nature. That would be the dynamic with 3D Pac-Man. You would have to look back to see if there is a ghost behind you. “

He said once he figured out how to add another screen to their back, he would let the rats try Pac-Man.

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