To tackle the problem of bots invading websites and getting up to nefarious antics such as spamming comments, skewing the results of online polls, and mass-purchasing tickets for scalpers, CAPTCHAS have become commonplace throughout the Internet. Standing for “Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart”, CAPTCHAs do exactly what they say on the tin, asking the user to complete a simple task to prove they are not a robot.
However, this technology is often an annoyance to users. One study found that the average time taken to solve an image CAPTCHA is 9.8 seconds, and 28.4 seconds for audio CAPTCHAs. A seemingly short amount of time, but still frustrating to people who would rather spend that time doing anything other than trying to figure out which squares contain specific objects.
Spanish web developer Miquel Camps Orteza may have created the answer to making CAPTCHAs less tedious – a Doom-themed minigame. In this game, you must shoot four enemies before the time runs out, while the song At Doom’s Gate from the Doom soundtrack plays to set the mood. The whole thing was thought up and made over the course of one weekend.
This is not the first CAPTCHA Orteza has made, with one previous creation forcing you to do 10 squats before making a purchase on Amazon. Another browser extension made by the developer uses your webcam and lets you like posts with a smile, or delete emails with a frown.
"It was funny to see the people's reaction because everyone hates CAPTCHAs and they found fun in the Doom CAPTCHA," said Orteza in an interview with PCMag.
While this CAPTCHA is simply a themed minigame rather than the actual full game, Doom is notorious for being able to run on frankly ridiculous hardware, with a subreddit dedicated to the subject. Some of the best things that have been able to run the game include a digital camera, a printer, an ATM, a thermostat, and a pregnancy test.
Although this CAPTCHA is a fun alternative to others, it isn’t particularly secure, with a disclaimer on GitHub saying “Don't take this too seriously, this is a little project for fun, if do you know how to code it's pretty easy to break the security of this.”
"My CAPTCHA about Doom only validates from user-side (client). There is no backend to a server to validate the user request," elaborated Orteza to PCMag.
So, unfortunately, the days of being able to rip and tear your way into your website of choice are still a way off. We’ll have to make do with distorted words and clicking boxes for the time being.