What, you don’t know when games have birthdays? :P
In this case, it’s the 20th anniversary of Doom. To celebrate, I’m watching this excellent let’s play/interview from Ign, where the journalist play the entire first episode of Doom with John Romero.
I remember when it first came out. We had it all downloaded onto 3 1/2-inch floppies and installed it at school (I was studying to be an analyst and programmer at the time). We couldn’t stop playing on the school LAN, even during classes. But the LAN and Doom had this weird interaction which caused characters to get stuck rotating left constantly once in a while in multiplayer. Fun times!
We had a big 40-person race of Episodes 1-3 UV over on SpeedRunsLive today, with times ranging from 20 minutes to 5 hours. 20 years and countless playthroughs later and I still had some extremely tense/scary moments today. What a great game.
I’m ashamed to say that when I first played DOOM, I wasn’t l337 enough to know how to play with a mouse and keyboard. I used a Tandy 1000-style joystick and knew nothing of strafing. Also, I abused the hell out of the various cheat codes when one of my dad’s students showed them to me: idbeholdv and idchoppers. Good times.
Loading .WAD files and going through BBS to get multiplayer games…you kids get off my lawn!!! It’s amazing to look back and compare something like Doom, to the latest Tomb Raider. I remember thinking how great Doom looked when it first came out lol.
Certainly an amazing gaming experience, especially at the time, and one I will always remember.
Thanks Id. Changed my life. It wasn’t Mario, Madden, the Nintendo or the Atari that got me into this industry. It was Dungeons and Dragons and Doom. That first night- literally falling out of my chair when I first ran into a Pinky made me appreciate games as a whole new medium. I was in television and film at the time, and I remember distinctly feeling I just saw the passive medium become a dodo. Then the realization that you could make your own levels, monsters and whatnot was amazing. How many developers did Doom and Quake create? Half? I did an impromptu survey in a company meeting…half the people in the room cut their teeth on these games or their children. Doom is the foundation that PC development is built on. It was our training ground, and for a long time the gold standard on visceral gameplay.
I always felt the problem is, first person shooters has evolved to other subgenres, like the fps/stealth games, the fps/rpg or fps/adventure games, the realistic/inmmersive fps games, the “Hollywood” fps" (CoD, etc) but they are more like cousins, not true sons of Doom. We need someone that believe truly in the original formula, but bold enough to make a FPS that in one hand it feels a true action game without need to concede to other genres, but in the other hand changed and evolved enough to be a step forward and not the nth remake of “old schoold FPS with a modern engine”. It’s of course, a delicate goal to succeed. I feel the forwards steps we had a lot of times were more sidesteps.
If you put player chosen dialogues and a good plot in a fps, well, it can be very cool, but you are not improving the previous pure fps, but really doing a fps/adventure game.
I remember the first time I packed up my PC and brought it over to my buddy’s place so we could hook up his computer to mine via serial cable. I think we spent a good ten minutes just going back and forth checking our character’s movements. “Oh, man! I totally went left and you can see me go left!”
Doom was the first real time game I ever played over modem. I will never forget the moment when my friend dialed in to my computer and connected to my game. We were talking on the phone while we were trying to get it to work, and we could feel the irritation of our parents build as we monopolized their phone lines. We finally got connected and the second we saw the other character move on our screens, IN REAL TIME, we squealed like school girls at a boy band concert: “OMG! You’re moving on my screen! Yea, I just saw you walk into the next room. YOU JUST SHOT THAT DEMON! I saw it! I saw it!”.
The experience completely blew my young mind away and redefined what was possible with games. I’m just making the connection now, but I think that moment is when I fell in love with the idea of co-op games and why single player games don’t often cut it for me. To this day, I don’t want to just play Elder Scrolls, I want to play Elder Scrolls and share the world and experience with a friend/significant other/child.
I remember setting up LAN parties with my friends to play DOOM. We had to daisy chain 10BaseT coax cables, using a BNC T-connector on each PC. I believe DOOM used the IPX protocol for multiplayer, which we had to set up in the autoexec.bat and config.sys files on our DOS boot disks. The PC on each end of the chain would need to be “terminated”. If someone’s IPX settings were slightly different or we had a bad cable, the network wouldn’t work at all. It would usually take us a couple of hours to get things running, but boy was it satisfying when it worked. Then we’d play DOOM to the early hours of the morning.