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 »

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  1. RogB says:

    respectfully: iPhone articles, nay.

  2. futage says:

    @Sombrero

    I’m not really suggesting that they ought cover linux gaming. I’m not bothered. But if you want to go down that route, I bet there’s more people with linux than with iPhone, and there’s certainly more (and better) games.

    My point, rather, was that linux gaming quite clearly is PC gaming and hasn’t been covered and that this is more about what this site considers to be a PC than about covering non-PC things.

    I think a DS or something could be considered a PC in the very broadest sense. But I think that PC in the sense it’s meant by this site refers to a multi-purpose device which happens to have games on it rather than a dedicated gaming device. I think that’s a fair distinction to make between consoles and ‘personal computing’ devices and is in keeping with the spirit of the site and with PC gaming.

    In short/better words: I think Jim’s point is a good one.

  3. wheres_my_gun says:

    IMO iphone coverage would represent a loss of focus and would annoy the heck out of me.

  4. The Sombrero Kid says:

    I’d agree but for me a PC would also have to be an open platform with no development and publishing restrictions, which you can’t say for the iPhone but you could say for Windows Mobile or Android or if we must symbian, unfortunately the games on these platforms are literally disgusting, which is why I’d say the site should probably stay away from phones for the minute, no doubt there will come a PC like mobile platform but it’s not here today and the iPhone most certainly isn’t it.

  5. Bill Posters says:

    Wow, lots of comments…
    I’m piping in to cast my vote for ‘no iPhone please’.
    While I have no objection to this article in particular, the reason RPS is my favourite gaming site is purely because it is PC only.
    On the other hand, a weekly non-PC gaming column would not be completely unwelcome, particularly if PC gaming is tangentially involved, as in the case of the Doom article.

  6. futage says:

    @Sombrero

    Aye, all fair points and I agree with that.

    Personally I’d rather see a ‘good games for netbooks’ series of posts (though I guess there’d not be much surprise in that).

    I don’t know. I am of two minds. Inconvenient, that.

  7. James T 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.

    I love it — “They were kind enough to ask your opinion, and you had the unmitigated gall to PROVIDE it! INGRATES!”

    As usual, the most intemperate, pettiest, wildly exaggerated posts come from the people complaining about intemperance, pettiness and wild exaggeration.

  8. The Sombrero Kid says:

    @futage
    tbh I’d second that, it’d be good to know which older games run and stuff and are worth revisiting, doubt it’ll happen on this site though.

  9. AbyssUK says:

    May I point out the iPhone is an Apple which has always been the PC without games… I vote no iPhones on RPS thanks but no thanks.

  10. MD says:

    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.

    So basically when they choose to run something past their readers, they get sincere responses from people with an obvious affection for the site? How awful!

    Seriously, this isn’t addressed specifically at you but at everyone who jumped in with similar comments about “nerd rage” etc., but berating those who dare to express an opinion is really unhelpful. Maybe I’m drawing too long a bow here, but talk of “nerd rage” and “essay-length rants” seems dangerously close to the ‘making an effort is for losers: let’s all exhange one-liners, memes and silly pictures instead, and sneer derisively at anyone who makes a considered post and/or admits to caring about something on the internet’ spirit that is so pervasive these days.

    edit: beaten to it by James T, who of course was both more cutting and far more succinct. What a nerd, I bet he reads lots of books.

  11. Bobsy says:

    Slightly less frothily: if there are iPhone articles, I simply wouldn’t read them.

  12. Dan Lawrence 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.”

    Well some readers actually subscribe to RPS for real money so there are certainly some here with a more unfree investment in the direction of the site:

    http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/can-i-donate-or-subscribe-to-rps-like-with-money/

    You should all do it if you care about RPS so much :)

  13. futage says:

    @Sombrero

    Aye. For the most part it’d be any game that’s both good and 3 or more years old. But yeah, I’m sure there’d be some ‘Oooh, I hadn’t thought of that‘ ones.

    Anyway, we’re being too agreeable.

  14. Leperous says:

    Would rather that both journalists and game designers focused on PC games, than endless rehashes of 10+ year old sprite-based adventures, thanks.

    Perhaps you could open a new RockPaperPotatogun website for that kind of thing?

    And @ AbyssUK, Mac (and Linux) games still count as PC games methinks. “PC” is not a metaphor for “Windows”.

  15. Andy`` says:

    Re, “nerd rage” comment: my initial impression was that Alec had made a joke via something he already knew the answer to and everybody over-reacted. I didn’t mean to be so insensitive at 2 in the morning, and also possibly horrendously wrong, thus I apologise.

    So I’m going to properly weigh in now with: I’d like to see whatever’s very intriguing in the world of gaming – some of those completely not PC related articles in the Sunday Papers already qualifies, for instance.

  16. The Sombrero Kid says:

    incidentally games I’m planning on trying on my netbook:
    blade runner
    anachronox
    (I’m lucky and smart enough to own both of these)

    oh and I’d recommend typing of the dead to anyone with a netbook (I couldn’t find an actual source to buy this from so I was forced to download it, which I’m fine with when the developers don’t want my money but you may not be)

  17. The Sombrero Kid says:

    something else I’d want to say is I think there should be more ads for non subscribers and have been completely disabled for subscribers, that’s the payment model I’m in favour of, as I like the idea of the internet being ad funded with the ability to remove that if your flush.

  18. Novotny says:

    Yes, I recently noticed that Slashdot has given me the option to disable ads, for being a good boy or something. I haven’t given them any money. I think this sort of behaviour, rewarding loyal posters/contributors, is pretty sweet.

  19. futage says:

    My netbook plans:

    Probably HL, just for the sake of it.
    Probably Deus Ex, for the same reason.
    Civ2.
    Maybe a bit of dwarf Fortress if I can get y head round it and it doesn’t run like shit on the little atom.
    Umm ummm… stuff I forget.

    Not played Anachronox. Always kinda fancied it but worried that it’d be rubbish – I should play it then?

    Typing of the dead is a reet good idea.

  20. The Sombrero Kid says:

    @futage
    deus ex and system shock 2 are the first games i copy onto any new pc.

    tbh anachronox is flawed but i really like it, it’s final fantasy style combat without random battles and with a brilliant western story, there is a lot of reading in it though since like 90% of the dialog is text based.

  21. futage says:

    I’ll give it a go then.

    Great-but-flawed games are my favourite sort.

    (the two games I always copy across are Civ2 and, a bit embarrassingly, Delta Force 2 (HL and DX are never far behind))

  22. Ian says:

    @ Dan lawrence: Good point. I chuck them a couple of dollars every month, does this give me a right to be more unreasonable? :D

    @ MD: Aren’t books for like total gayfags or something?

  23. Biscuitry says:

    I can’t really add anything that hasn’t already been stated better than I could. I will simply say that I agree with those who say that it’s your blog and you can do what you like with it. I’ll regard any iPhone segment as I would a segment devoted to any other non-PC platform: I won’t object; I simply won’t care.

  24. Supertonic says:

    Linux gaming doesn’t exist? I guess I imagined playing COD4, KOTOR, Football Manager 2009, Plants Vs Zombies, Braid and a whole bunch of stuff through Wine, World of Goo natively, and a whole bunch more. Purely my imagination. Silly me.

  25. Terrance says:

    iPhones? On my internet!? Martha dear, fetch my rifle.

  26. futage says:

    @Supertronic

    I’m not really sure that playing Windows games through a compatibility layer/emulator counts. But there’s loads of games on linux anyway.

  27. DMJ says:

    @futage: Dwarf Fortress does indeed run like sh*t on the little Atom processor in my Acer Aspire One. It works, but it runs like treacle.

    The main problem with netbook gaming is the need to use no-CD cracks with games I legitimately own, and the virus-riddled form these often take. I keep a selection of powerful and paranoid anti-virus and anti-malware solutions on my netbook and I still end up with the occasional virus-infested .exe slipping through the intensive scrutiny I subject them to before running, and it can take hours to scrub the filthy bytes from my hard drive.

  28. Catastrophe says:

    I think I’d prefer PC Centric being PC Centric but if you must; a “Playing Away” monthly or weekly roundup of games on other formats wouldn’t upset the mojo too much.

    “Playing Away” is not a demand for a title by the way, merely a suggestion.

    @ Seniath + Dominic White

    They asked our opinion on the matter and we gave it. Is it the -wrong- opinion?

  29. futage says:

    @DMJ

    I suspected that might be the case. Demanding little game it is.

  30. Supertonic says:

    Yep, I’ve got loads of those too but no-one here would have heard of them so thought I’d keep it understandable for others.

  31. Supertonic says:

    PS my linux copy of dwarf fortress (native, not wine) works wonderfully ;)

  32. futage says:

    Fair enough.

    Any good ones to recommend? Must be time for by biannual linux-dabble.

  33. MacBeth says:

    Another vote for:
    “If it’s a story about an iconic PC game/dev connected with some non-PC hardware, then by all means, pray continue good sirs. But if it’s just about something on non-PC hardware, that is of no relevance to those who don’t own said item, nay, nay and thrice nay!”

    Like others have said – there’s other places to go for that sort of thing. I want RPS to stay focused. And as a $2 subscriber I *DEMAND* that it be thus.

  34. Jayteh says:

    I read this for PC gaming, not the latest faddy cell-phone/mobile related gaming news (which is a joke).

  35. Gnarl says:

    I’d recommend you past about whatever you care about most. Passion seems like it would be the most important factor in an operation like this, where you’re selling more on your charisma and entertaining writing than other things.

    I mean I personally would at best skim any posts on such topic and slightly mourn the article that might have been written in it’s place, but I post in comments, so I’m pretty sure I represent an extreme sample.

  36. Premium User Badge

    MonkeyMonster says:

    ROAOOARRRWWW.
    Banana please.
    PC games please.

  37. Markoff Chaney says:

    Not like I matter, but since you asked maybe I do…

    I am grateful RPS gives me posts about my PC gaming. I consider myself, first and foremost, a PC gamer. I love RPS for many reasons, not the least of which are the 4 main minds behind it and the site has, as its primary focus, PC Gaming. I subscribe to PC Gamer and not one of a myriad of other in print gaming magazines because it covers primarily PC gaming and that is my primary interest. I own a DS, and enjoy it. I own a Wii and sometimes waggle with it. I own a pocket PC and haven’t turned it on in a couple years. I have some interest in those things, but none of them are my primary interest. Good for me.

    I am grateful you gentlemen have other interests that go beyond PC gaming. If it were not for these interests, RPS would not be as lively and organic as it is. Having these different interests also leads toward a greater number of ways that you can communicate and identify with your readers. Diversity and experience being keys toward a well rounded understanding of your subject material, you gentlemen can entertain and educate many of us and we keep coming back for more. More hits = More ad revenue and this place can exist for maybe another day. Good for you AND good for me.

    Now if I could go all pedantic for a bit and point out that a PC, by definition, is a computer that used by a person. iPhones fit that definition, tehcnically. Centric means that whatever the topic is should be situated toward the center of discussion. Should I decry posts regarding DOS or the Amiga OS when the currently accepted platform is Windows? Should I wax philosophically about a post regarding graphic novels or music or movies other forms of media we share? Should I blather on incessantly about my unhappiness that you talk about games running in XP when it’s barely supported any more? If you post about a MAC or Linux port of a game, should I jump down your throat? If you discuss a system that emulates old Sierra adventures with a base coded in Java, should I scream for blood? Sure, I guess, if I want to, since you gave me the ability to add a comment and post my opinion. I have that privilege and you, as the owners of this site and content have the right to do with my post as you will: delete, edit, whatever. I have the choice to come to this website or not.

    Can you still be PC Centric while discussing alternative platforms or media in a vast minority of your posts? Absolutely. Will I keep coming here? Absolutely. I just started subscribing here today, in fact. I have been considering subscribing for months and, a while back, this was the only site I allowed to continue get advertisements served from. Why? I like the cut of y’alls jib and I hope it can continue. If that means you choose to put a post up about something else you care about once a week that I don’t even have to read if I don’t want to, so be it. This is your website. I’m grateful you choose to let me read your mind thinks. If you choose not to read what I write, so be it. It won’t break my heart and I only give you feedback since you request it.

    There is no right or wrong here, in my opinion. Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law, as long as you harm none. As long as people continue to treat a granted privilege as an expectation of eternal rights and think that they are harmed when they can just not look and choose not to harm themselves you can never win. (As another aside, seriously? That’s suffering? Having yet another post about an alternative platform on a PC Centric site that still maintains its primary focus better than any other single PC gaming website out there and does it with more style and consideration and wit than the rest combined? Really? That harms YOU, my fellow PC/RPS lover?) If I may have one request, it’s that you four gentlemen keep being you. That means holding on to cherished standards of your self and continuing to change as the world changes. That means loving more than just PC games and bringing your other passions to the table as well and sharing if you want to. That is why I come here, to read your words and attempt to engage in meaningful discourse with other similar minded persons.

    Thank You, Gentlemen. This goes to not only the big 4, but all of you in the comments and forum. I am grateful to even those in the readership that feel strongly opposed to greater diversification. I enjoy reading differing viewpoints and, for the most part, at least we can be civil and considerate while discussing things we are passionate about.

    tl;dr – Do what you want, I’ll do what I want. I hope to keep seeing new content for RPS and I’ll keep reading and supporting RPS as long as you keep up the great content I can’t get elsewhere with your brains and stuffs. I can choose to not read articles that don’t interest me, which is already what I do, thank you very much.

  38. Bongo says:

    I “vote” against. I’m here for the PC Games. If I want console info I go to Eurogamer. I read RPS precisely because it fills a niche. And I do agree with the top arguments, if you cover iPhone, why not cover DS, and then you can go on and on till you cover everything. Better would be to launch a separate site or something if you really want to.

    In the end it’s your site and you can do whatever you want .)

  39. drewski says:

    Good article.

    No iPhone roundup, please. RPS is for PC gamings, I’m not interested in the latest silly toy Apple want to shove down our throats.

  40. Captain Haplo says:

    I have no qualms with an iPhone column. However, I would like to point out that, much like a mass production line, a site that focuses only on one thing tends to become really good at doing that one thing. Now, I’m not saying that you folks won’t be able to be equally good at two things, but do you really want to unemploy Bob who makes the bolts for the car doors? He has a family, you know. We have division of labour for a reason.

  41. MD says:

    I’d recommend you past about whatever you care about most. Passion seems like it would be the most important factor in an operation like this, where you’re selling more on your charisma and entertaining writing than other things.

    I agree with this wholeheartedly. I’m not sure that it goes in favour of starting a weekly iPhone column though, but rather allowing yourselves to post about iPhones when there is a specific reason to do so. In this case ‘a specific reason’ could simply be that you felt like it, but I don’t know that turning it into a regular feature is the way to go.

  42. chris r says:

    Would you post about a game for the Mac? Probably. Well, the iPhone is just a small Mac. And it’s getting classic PC games. I say post about it when it’s interesting and relevant to your audience. Don’t jam it in every week unless there’s a game that’s worth a look.

    I come to RPS for the writing you guys do about what you love, because I like your approach and your interests, not for platform orthodoxy. If people don’t like the occasional iPhone post, they can just not read it.

    Keep it up!

  43. pepper says:

    No Iphone please, i dont care for the device nor will i ever. Stick with the reason why most people are here! PC!! Hail PC!!

  44. The Fanciest of Pants says:

    Do what you want it’s your website.

    If I see something I’m not interested in reading, I’ll scroll past it.

  45. Supertonic says:

    Linux Games: Well Dwarf Fortress and World of Goo are both native on linux, and run perfectly, Wesnoth is worth a look, and openarena for your shooty goodness. Tower Toppler is a brilliant nebulus-remake and I love it. You might want to play with TORCS if racing is your thing. Ultrastar for singstar-ish karaoke goodness. Emulators all over the shop, including my favourite DOSBox. And remember, about 90% of the little indie games on here work in Wine, so you won’t miss out on your RPS goodness. Btw if you’re going to start on linux use Ubuntu. It’s easy and works right out of the box. If you use something like Arch or Gentoo it’ll scare the shit out of you and you’ll run screaming for the hills! Even I’m a little apprehensive about Gentoo.

  46. Tei says:

    I have tried Linux gamming, but is too much work. Sure, you can run the 10 good Linux games. And compile any experimental one that half work. But wen you want to run Mass Effect 3, or Bioshock 4 you are much screwed. If you buy the game, you don’t know if it will run, and tryiing to run it is a pain. It probably is compatible with “One Game Gamming” if such a game is compatible, say.. WoW, or Quake, or XYZ.. But if you want to play *all*, and *the latest*, is a world of pain.

    Paradoxical comment: If you like Ubuntu, maybe you sould test LinuxMint here (http://linuxmint.com/), is ubuntu based, but with the propietary crap that we gamers need preinstalled (flash, drivers, codecs, etc..)

  47. Supertonic says:

    True, mint’s easy to install, though honestly it’s not that hard with ubuntu. And honestly, I find a hell of a lot works. Steam’s just fine in linux for instance, and a native client is rumoured to be in the works, so linux gaming is on the way, though I won’t pretend it’s as healthy as windows gaming just yet. My linux install is used for lots of different things, it’s just bloody handy not to have to reboot into win7 to play games (which is all my windows partition is used for, the one game in 100 that doesn’t work).

  48. SuperNashwan says:

    I don’t really care what you write about as long as you do it with passion and wit. Which is more likely to happen if you write about what’s interesting you at the minute. It’s what makes RPS great in the first place.

  49. James says:

    Echoing what many said – you guys write game words real good; will happily read any of your output that matches what I care about (iPhone, PC) and probably the rest too (to see what I’m missing).

  50. ryan says:

    iPhones are teeny weeny little PCs.

    what about netbooks? pocket PCs? casio watches? okay, perhaps the game & watch combo is nintendo….