Doom: The Classic vs Modern Debate

By Alec Meer on May 29th, 2009 at 12:18 am.

Behind the scenes, in the gelatinous chamber where the RPS Hivemind’s life-sustaining anti-plankton is grown, Jim and I had a brief debate. “We should have a weekly iPhone post”, quoth he. “But so many people will be angered by such a thing”, quoth I. We both then stared at our own iPhones with a mixture of pride and shame, and we wondered. How would the goodly, but sometimes distressingly irate, readers of the Rock, the Paper and the Shotgun feel about such a thing? While we continue to wonder, we can at least justify this: John Carmack, the Great Brain of id Software, talking about the trials and tribulations behind the upcoming iPhone port of Doom, and the issues inherent in visually tweaking (or not) a true-blue PC classic.

It’s interesting regardless of whether or not you own one of dem phones, dem phones, dem iPhones because it offers a few (tech-centric) insights into the making of the original Doom all those years ago, as well as that aforementioned discussion of whether graphical updates for a modern age are greater or lesser in import than retaining the game’s original aesthetic – regardless of whether it was initially intended to look that way or was merely limited by the hardware of the time. This being Carmack, half of what he writes is so technical as to be insensible, but there’s certainly a few interesting talking points thrown to the crowd.

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179 Comments »

  1. Günter says:

    Oh, it’ll just be iPhones at first. Innocent as can be, but next thing you know it’ll be Blackberries, and then Nokia phones, and then you’ll have an entire section devoted to cell phones. Then you’ll branch into other handhelds, and then what’s stopping you? You’ll fall into the consumerist, conformist, must-have-everything death spiral of the damned. Always jonseing for your next fix of paid-off 9.75/10 reviews. Your mind will be slowly melted by the simplicity of the CHILDISH CONSOLE GAMES. Next thing you know you will be PERFORMING SEXUAL FAVORS FOR CLIFFY B TO GET A PREVIEW COPY OF GEARS OF WAR 3 SO YOU CAN SCORE IT 10/10 ON YOUR GENERAL GAMING WEBSITE.

    IS THAT WHAT YOU WANT?!

    …Bust seriously, I would be totally cool with a weekly iPhone feature.

  2. Radiant says:

    “I honestly don’t care what platforms you guys choose to cover. A good game is a good game, regardless of platform and by the same token, a well written piece on a console game is the same to me as a well written piece on a PC game.”
    Well said

  3. Persus-9 says:

    Wow this comments thread went TL;DR fast! Anyway, I’m sure I’ll just be saying what other people have been saying but I’d like to offer my opinion since Alec basically asked for it.

    I don’t want to sound like an angry internet man but I’d like this site to remain extremely PC centric please.

    I like this site because in my heart I’m a PC gamer, I own a couple of consoles sure, but in my heart I’m a PC gamer and I want to read about PC gaming. I can get enough info about consoles just from checking Eurogamer daily. I just don’t want to hear about it in the same way I want to hear about PC gaming.

    I wouldn’t mind seeing a weekly roundup of other format news, something easily ignored like that but I wouldn’t want to see normal regular stories that aren’t in some way related to PC gaming.

    P.S. I think that PC is a synonym for IBM PC compatible and thus I count Linux and modern Macs as PCs not just DOS and Windows based machines.

    P.P.S. I consider this particular article perfectly legitimate PC news since it’s an article about porting legendary a PC game by a legend of PC developement. That makes it PC news in my book.

  4. Vinraith says:

    @I am beginning
    “A good game is a good game, regardless of platform and by the same token, a well written piece on a console game is the same to me as a well written piece on a PC game.”

    The best written piece in the world about a game on a platform I don’t own (and don’t care to own) is still a big pile of irrelevant to me.

    @James T
    “A maxim not only for the RPS staff, but for all the world: no-one cares about your Iphone. ”

    A-fucking-men.

  5. flo says:

    yay, iphone posts pl0x, now!!!
    no, seriously, but if you somehow can make this happen it would be awesome. Concerning the pc-only-ness: you talk about how pc-games sell compared to console games, or the differences between them already, so why not about iphones? Then if ppl ask why you write about those and not about blackberries or so, just tell them that the iphone at least has some relevance as a gaming platform, maybe even more then psp, certainly more than blackberries or other phones/pmps.

  6. negativedge says:

    Anyone that plays video games and wishes to play them while moving has a DS, not an iphone. An iphone is a phone. You use it to talk to people. I don’t care that the modern phone is never actually used to talk to living human beings via voice and is instead used as a glorified IM device that also accesses youtube and can play your favorite shitty voice clip from your favorite shitty movie every time your terrible friends send you a six letter message you just payed five dollars for–it is still a phone. The only reason people play games on it is the same reason they do any inane thing on it– to brag to their friends about all the cool, pointless things they can pay way too much money to do on a device designed for none of them. Of all the platforms, of all the niches, of all the things in the known universe one could use to play a game of Doom (which likely numbers in the hundreds by now), the iphone is the one I’d like to hear about least.

    And on the off chance anyone actually cares about gaming on the iphone as something other than a novelty or object of a useless techbuzz fad article on all the millions some guy in the hills of Kentucky is making because he ported strip poker to the thing–well, I bet they already got websites they go to. Don’t be one of them.

  7. Angel Dust says:

    Apologies all! I skim read the RPS post and went straight for the article and never noticed the question about having a weekly iPhone piece!

    In that case I’m with James T! Unless there is some real merit to it, mcuh like this post, I’m not interested in iPhone news.

  8. flo says:

    @negativedge maybe all ppl that like to carry more than 1 device do. the others do not. (carry a ds that is) also, I don’t know anyone that has a ds, but lots of ppl with iphones. Also you are being very condescending and sounding like a glorified nerd douchebag. like all those “omg pc gaming in jeopardy” guys before you. It’s one thing to say “i object to non-pc gaming content” or something along those lines, but if you do it as rage/hate filled like a crowd of the worst fanboys and along the way basically confirm every cliché about pc-gamers ever published, that maybe belongs on engadget or so, but not here.

  9. negativedge says:

    ok

    sorry that I’d rather take liberty with my words than say “no, please don’t.” You’ll get over it, I promise.

    I don’t think it’s worth covering a platform that only has games on it “because people don’t like to carry more than one device.” That’s great. Then wait until you get home to play a video game. And you’re calling me the nerd, god damn.

    And for fuck’s sake if you’re going to try to claim the moral high ground, at least learn to spell out words like “people.”

  10. chesh says:

    iPhone posts are why I unsubscribed from Offworld. I don’t want to unsubscribe from RPS :(

  11. CJ McFly says:

    Please do a weekly iphone post! Don’t listen to those scared of accelerometer. Surely you can add “we also like iphones” to the about page. And since there are more and more PC classics coming out on iphone, there is definitely a link. You could tie it in with a comparison to the originals – Myst, Doom, and my own favourite Ports of Call!

    Also, I would much rather read about RPS views on iphone gaming than an over-excited american professing the awesomeness of this week’s release.

    Please – you know you want to!

  12. James Brophy says:

    ok, it might not be strictly relevant to the pc… however hands up who here diden’t play doom and or loose allot of hours thanks to works of or heavily influenced by John Carmack?

    I don’t care if he is releasing his first rap album… what interests carmack interests me.

    Ahem.. a weekly iPhone post would be very cool… but you might want to set it up in a different section of the site. “Rock, Paper, iPhone” perhaps?

  13. flo says:

    @cj mcfly 2nd that
    @negativedge yeah, your’re clearly “the nerd” cause 1) you are acting out the grammar nazi, although it should have been obvious that this acronym was used on purpose, and 2) in your world (if I interpret your posts correctly) one would have to carry a phone, a pager, a notebook, an mp3 player, a mobile radio, and a mobile gaming device, instead of just 1 device that can do everything. At least as far as mobile gaming goes I think at the moment the bes device for this is the iphone. This might change quickly, but for now it is. Additionally, I didn’t claim any moral highground, just stating the fact that you are being non factual and a total hypocrite.

  14. Clockwork Harlequin says:

    iPhones. Writing? Nerd angry. NERD ANGRY! Raargh!!

    Err *cough* That is -as has been said- RPS presents itself as a PC gaming site. That is, you specialize so as to be able to deliver better coverage of a particular subject. What’s wrong with that?

    On the other hand, if I were in your shoes, I’d be tempted to do an iPhone theme week, just to bait us nerds.

    Edit: Why is there no poll?

  15. Rufust Firefly says:

    Android has a Doom port already–it’s the #1 game on that phone right now, though that’s not really saying all that much since most Android games are pretty lame right now. (Though I do like Buka a lot.)

    iPhone posts must be the new DRM.

  16. negativedge says:

    @flo

    I hear-tell of a time, long past, in which the ancients carried not all of these devices, but none of them! One wonders how they were able to live such productive lives.

    And to claim the iphone is, currently, a better gaming device than the DS is…a little misguided. Then again, I’ve no doubt you have no idea what you are saying or why, as the rest of your post clearly illustrates. I don’t claim to understand idiots. So you win.

  17. shinygerbil says:

    You know what, I actually wouldn’t mind an iPhooey/other-platform related weekly roundup – if only for the incredibly selfish reason that I can’t be bothered to actually trawl through the hundreds and hundreds of miniature shiny turds that get squirted onto the App Store every week to find out which ones are just a thin layer of gold leaf, and which ones go chink when you bite them.

  18. PC Monster says:

    I don’t know if a weekly iPhone post would fly, Alec. My gut instinct says no. And I hate iPhones and every single solitary person who uses one.

    Bu I’ll defend this article to the death considering it deals with Doom, one of the games – if not THE game – that practically started the PC off as a serious gaming platform in the 90′s. I never tire of reading about the ol’ gal’s continuing adventures.

  19. c-Row says:

    I got an iPhone. Wouldn’t mind seeing the ocassional post on RPS every now and then.

  20. Turin Turambar says:

    John Carmack speaks: pc gamers listen carefully.

  21. Jim Rossignol says:

    “Or are you that scared of Gillen?”

    Gillen is also an iPhone user. My interest re iPhone is that it, and other futurephones, are increasingly akin to a PC, and most of the RPS crew use them as such. Clearly the Apple-controlledness of them is horrendous – iTunes is the worst piece of software I’ve ever encountered – but they interest me precisely because of their enormous versatility. Mobile devices have previously seemed a little one-sided.

    “I don’t care if he is releasing his first rap album… what interests carmack interests me.”

    The horror.

  22. negativedge says:

    The PS3 and Xbox 360 are so similar to the PC that many games are ported back and forth between them!

    I just don’t see it. If you are going to argue that what differentiates the PC is the kind of games that traditionally populate it, and to what degree those games take advantage of the idea of the computer, well, the iphone most certainly does not apply. Outside of superficial things like being able to connect to the interwebs and allowing users to talk to each other (which, mind, the current batch of consoles also do), there is nothing much in common between the platforms. If you want to do weekly roundups of curious software people may not hear about, stick to the PC–there are thousands of indie games and mods and who knows what else lurking all over the place. This proposed expansion seems like a reach.

  23. Dan says:

    I read RPS because I like the writers, rather than a distinct need for PC-solus commentary. If you want to write about the iPhone occasionally then go for it – it’s your website.

    The iPhone is, barring the obvious major corporate support, in a similar position to the early years of the PC – anyone with a little programming knowledge and a few ideas can produce something and slap a price on it. They may get rich. They’ll probably be ignored. Piracy will be rife. It’s like the shareware days all over again. I don’t mind the occasional comment on it, as long as we don’t attract the Touch Arcade audience.

  24. Nerd Rage says:

    I’d be interested in the story of this particular game which happens to appear on an iPhone, but a regular iPhone post would be a post for me to regularly skip over.

    In other words, ditto what I’ve seen most of the other folks say above.

  25. Tei says:

    I have more interest in John Carmack works, than in iPhone.
    But I am on not need of a “Weekly John Carmack post”. Anyway I know this is a blog, you guys can talk about your cat, or whatever if you desire to… But my preference is PC games. PC, and PC, and PC. Theres overabundance of information about consoles everywhere. Maybe you guys feel in need of a “Mee too”? …and talk about console stuff too, because everybody else is talking about consoles?

  26. Mr.President says:

    I don’t care about iPhones, but if an article is as interesting as this one, I’ll read it. If it’s not, I’ll ignore it. It’s not like anyone is forcing us to read every single RPS update. I skip a bunch of stuff as it is.

    Oh, and I insist that “Doom/Wolfenstein RPG” type of games is much more fitting for cellphones. With all this iDoom silliness, I hope id still find time to make a proper Quake RPG.

  27. Petrushka says:

    Feel free to have a weekly post about the iPhone. You’re entitled to do anything with your site that you want, and I won’t take it personally. Just make sure, when you do so, to delete the subtitle in the site’s logo — the bit about “PC gaming since 1873″ — as well as completely rewriting the “About” page.

    I’m inclined to agree with Kez’ first post, that if PC games are re-released on an alternative platform and it is a significant event, it may be worth covering in what purports to be a site devoted to PC games. That makes sense to me.

    But if you want to have a regular iPhone feature, it’s no longer a site devoted to PC games, is it? So, your choice: keep the subtitle, and the focus on PC games, or lose it. Either way, I appreciate your being honest about it.

  28. Caiman says:

    Yeah, I’d read an article about Doom on *insert platform* but I wouldn’t read an article about *insert platform* on RPS.

  29. Simon Jones says:

    Funny thing is, the first time I ever played Doom was on an Acorn Risc PC. Not having access to Dos/Windows PCs at the time I hadn’t had a chance to play the game until it got ported over to the Acorn, at which point it already had a load of graphical enhancements.

    So my first and defining encounter with Doom was with it already prettified. I was therefore rather surprised to find out just how ugly the ‘original’ game was when I eventually got round to playing it on the PC.

    I have no problem with enhancing/updating graphics of old games, but it is absolutely crucial that the design remains the same. Update Monkey Island with high resolution versions of all the original art, for example, but don’t change the character designs.

  30. Premium User Badge

    Seniath says:

    Non-PC gaming on RPS? THIS IS A TRAVESTY!

    No, it’s really not. It’s their site, they can write whatever they want. And I agree with Jim, smartphones are edging ever closer to ultra portable laptops/netbooks/whathaveyou, so where’s the harm?

  31. Pavel says:

    Well, I do not like iPhone, and I do not like the fact that my favourite PC only website in the whole universe is thinking about writing iPhone related things.But ultimately it is of course up to you.

  32. DBeav says:

    I WANT A DAILY UPDATE ON THE NGAGE!

  33. Shadowcat says:

    If you really want to pick a hand-held platform which has some similarities to the PC as a platform, you should pick one of the open ones. The Pandora looks dead-sexy (and will likely be the first hand-held that I buy), but that still wouldn’t really seem relevant to the site.

    I’d prefer to see the site remain PC-exclusive, personally.

  34. MD says:

    Seniath says:
    It’s their site, they can write whatever they want.

    We are all completely aware of this. Just because not everyone is prefacing their comments with “In my opinion” and closing with “but of course it is ultimately up to you” doesn’t mean they think they are laying down the Word of God. The fact that the guys who run the site are in charge of what they do with it simply goes without saying. If the Hivemind decides it wants everyone to shut up and stop offering opinions, it has ways of making that happen. But so far they have given the impression that, understandably, they want to know what their regular readers think of their tentative plan to change the direction of the site somewhat.

  35. Sinnerman says:

    iPhone? I know that PC is gaming is dying due to piracy and everything but you could still try covering something like the Wii before resorting to hipster gadget coverage.

  36. demonarm says:

    Sirs, I for one would prefer you omit coverage of your newfangled contraptions in this esteemed publication.

  37. EyeMessiah says:

    ALL OR NOTHING GUYS.

    ALL OR NOTHING!

    EDIT: Actually this is a bit like when Valve floated the idea of getting people to pay for TF2 & L4D updates, even although there was virtually no chance of them ever doing this. We wondered what they were up to by suggesting such crazy nonsense. What’s your angle RPS? What are you building in there?

  38. Dominic White says:

    I feel sorry for the RPS guys. This is their free blog, where they write about what they want to write about. When they want to write about something new, they’re nice enough to run it past their readers first.

    Said readers start churining out essay-length rants about how their further interests would ruin the site, and possibly PC GAMING FOREVER!!!!111oneone.

    Talk about ungrateful.

  39. Feet says:

    One post a week on mobile gaming would be ok for me, but no more than that.

  40. Ian says:

    @ Seniath: They also clearly asked for our opinion.

    Mine is… please don’t, guys.

  41. The Sombrero Kid says:

    @Jim Rossignol
    i know what you mean about phones becoming increasingly PC and totally agree we work on iPhone virtually exclusively at my company now and sometimes I forget it’s not covered by rps and almost send you links & stuff about it, However the iPhone is to the mobile phone what the apple mac is to the PC I don’t see you covering macosx a hell of a lot, probably because it’s even more strictly controlled and anti PC than the console platforms, the fact is if apple don’t like an app it doesn’t get on their platform which is what I thought this site and all it’s writers and readers were against.

    There are other things I could say about apples, ahem, US centerism but I wont cause I’m afraid of getting sued or something and it’s not relevant.

  42. Schmung says:

    I’ll post just to re-iterate what many other have said – I’m fine with things like this as there is an interesting link to the PCs past, but I don’t really see mobile gaming in general (and the pissing iphone in particular) as something that I want to read about on RPS.

  43. The Sombrero Kid says:

    oh and to all the people who say shit like
    “it’s their site and they could do what they like”
    true but if they want to keep their readership they’ll listen to them, which is precisely why they asked for our opinions.

  44. DMJ says:

    Well… I read RPS for PC gaming news and general entertainment, in about 30%/70% proportions respectively.

    If you post about iPhones, make it extremely entertaining and there will be no blood.

  45. mister k says:

    When they came with their iphones,
    I remained silent,
    because I didn’t mind iphones, I mean, come on, they’re pretty awesome

    Then they came with their blackberries,
    I remained silent,
    because blackberries are pretty hip and I guess pc owners have them.

    Then they came with their nintendo DS,
    I did not protest,
    because I own a DS and I thought that’d be pretty sweet

    Then they came with their PSP,
    I did not speak out,
    because I guessed that was fair if they were covering DSs as well.

    When they came with their wii,
    there were no pc gamers left to speak out against it….

    A lesson from history for you.

    (I’m sorry….)

  46. Some Guy says:

    you do need a PC to stick stuff on the iphone so its vaugly related.

  47. jon_hill987 says:

    You can play Doom on the Nintendo DS. Cover them as well please! :roll:

    Well I can’t talk really, my blog covers all sorts, mind you I didn’t start off by telling people what I was and wasn’t going to do.

  48. futage says:

    I dunno.

    I have zero interest in iPhones but Mister Rossin-yol’s point up there ^ about them being somehow PC-like is interesting.

    I mean, ‘PC’ has various meanings ranging from anything which can be described as a ‘personal computer’ to specifically IBM x86 based things running Windows (the latter being the definition used on this site so far, really. I’ve not seen much about linux gaming or OSX(86) gaming or whatever).

    But it’s true that there’s a generation of devices which are very PC like and becoming kinda ubiquitous (which PDAs never were). An iPhone isn’t really all that different from a (small) windows tablet PC and I don’t think anyone would moan much if you posted about gaming on those.

    I think there’ll probably be some sort of hybridisation of iPhone-like things (Pres and that google-phone thing and that) and netbooks before long. Not sure quite how but they seem to be two devices with very similar applications so they’ll probably merge to some extent.

    So yeah, no interest in iPhones in particular but covering this phenomenon of ubiquitous portable PC-like devices and what gaming what we can have on them then yeah, cool.

  49. Tei says:

    I invoque “Godwin law of Internet” on mister_k post :-)

  50. The Sombrero Kid says:

    @futage
    I don’t think they’d have a problem talking about Linux gaming if it actually existed, it’s Microsofts fault that it doesn’t but that doesn’t change the fact.