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. Premium User Badge

    Dr.Evanzan says:

    Markoff Chaney echoes most of my thoughts quite nicely.

    I’m more than happy with the current PC-centric coverage of the site. I have no real interest in reading about iPhones or mobile gaming except where this intersects with PC gaming (such as the Doom article linked).

    I have no problem with occasional non-PC articles (I can, of course, read or ignore as I like) but I’d be worried about a regular non-PC column distracting from writing PC articles.

    That said, there may be mileage in a weekly ‘Other Formats News’ roundup ala Sunday Papers, particularly when written from a PC gaming perspective. An iPhone only column seems rather arbitrary though and likely to open the floodgates to numerous other platforms.

  2. Cooper says:

    To add yet another voice to the crowd.

    Please, no weekly iPhone posts.

    I’d prefer to read something else.

    A generic ‘non PC’ weekly roundup has been suggested, and would be fine. You guys already do a good job of picking out important pieces of information from around the gaming world which are relevant to PC gaming. Having a regular session where PC relevant information from outside the world of PC games can be found would be a good thing.

    A dedicated section to iPhones would not. You mention the interest in terms of technology & DooM. This, I think, would do well in a ‘non PC but relevant’ section. But iPhone interesting alone alienates a whole bunch of readers who don’t have one, don’t want one, and don’t care…

  3. Clockwork Harlequin says:

    Hey guys, the iPhone has us almost as worked up as steampunk tits, sporn, and DRM did. Wouldn’t put it past Meer to have posted it just to rattle our cages!

  4. jonfitt says:

    I think posts where PC people do PC related things with iPhones are perfectly reasonable. For example these real and made up stories:
    ScummVM on iPhone
    Doom on iPhone
    New MMO will have integrated iPhone app
    DOSBox on iPhone
    2D Boy make an iPhone game
    etc.

    Other stuff is of less interest even to me as someone who owns an iPhone.
    …Unless it’s cool free indie iPhone games. Bring those on.

    PS to all those without an iPhone. Sell a kidney, buy an iPhone (with unlimited data), and realise that you can no longer remember how you got by without one (and yes I’ve had many smartphones before the iPhone).

  5. Diogo Ribeiro says:

    Ha ha, not even RPS can escape the AIMs.

    Personally, I’m fascinated with iPhones as convergent platforms and with their potential to become a greater part of videogames. My interest has more to do with the adaptive process of companies who usually come from outside the gaming communities and the medium itself and try to break through, so I’m equally interested in case studies like iPhones, social gaming and the Wii. Some times potential strikes gold – Zynga is the current number one social game developer because they’ve managed to find a way to redefine gaming experience and actually understood their market; it’s amusing to see the often labelled “real videogame” industry scurry around with financial losses when they’re so adamant about following business models that are becoming as obsolete as those perpetrated by the music industry years ago. Sometimes it goes to waste – the NGage and the Phantom were spectacular failures, but now the latest NGage has proved to be actually quite good while downloadable gaming content is all the rage, from the Virtual Console to XBox Live and PSNetwork.

    Would I read such an article? Yes. I’m interested in what RPS has to say on all areas of gaming, and sometimes find myself wondering what their thoughts on other platforms or games are. But you have to admit, you set the wolves upon yourselves when you chose to be PC-centric. Whether they care to admit it or not, many PC gamers are a very particular brand of jihad, rejecting anything else that’s not related to PC gaming because they fear it will lessen discussion or interest in their platform of choice. O’course, you could apply that to console fanboys as well, but those are not the ones screaming and banging at your virtual door right now.

    If you want to expand RPS to be about other things, you should do so. I encourage it. Just don’t forget to make that clear to everyone so you don’t get “where my PC at?” remarks for a long time.

  6. Delboy says:

    I don’t see a need for a /weekly/ post – but random “once in a while ones” – why not?

    (You don’t do a weekly post specifically about MMO’s or FPS’s (do you?) – so why weekly with the iphone?)

    If you have something interesting to say about a game – and it happens to be on the iphone (and in this case is one of the PC all time “classics”) – then I’m happy with that.

    I suppose – also – is there a market for this kind of article? I mean – are you plugging a gap that doesn’t already exist (reviews of iphone games) – and if yes you might win as many new readers as you (may) lose (the “PC only” gang).

    Delcaration of interest – I have an iphone. (but i don’t read websites about the iphone that assume I’ve hacked it/disasembled it/got linux running on it/or some other “not covered under warranty” activity. And it kind of annoys me that some people assume I’ve done these things.)

    Delboy

  7. Nox says:

    @Markoff Chaney

    While I don’t agree with everything you said, I appreciate the effort you expended in order to state your opinion. There are a dozen or so regular posters whose comments rarely fail to impress (and by this, I mean ‘make me think’) and yours are top among them. I’m as appreciative as anyone of the snarky one-liners that make me grin, but your thoughtful, well-reasoned posts are ever enlightening.

    That said, I will both stubbornly and desperately cling to my stance because there’s so little left for which to fight.

    Oh, and special thanks for making my ‘essay’ seem brief in comparison!

    @MD & James T

    Yours are the words I would use if I could say anything in less than a novella. Much appreciated!

  8. Radiant says:

    @Rossignol if the quality of the writing is good then really the difference between you four writing about a game I don’t own [Eve for example] and a platform I don’t own [Iphone I have a Bberry] is minimal; good writing is good writing.

  9. Radiant says:

    Also are you then afraid of Walker?

  10. Radiant says:

    Understandable…He does have the backing of Jesus.

  11. Nallen says:

    @Jim
    iTunes is the worst piece of software known to man. Amazing Apple with their focus on ergonomics gives it a pass at all.

    At the end of the day as far as I understand RPS was born out of a shared passion of the four of you. If you’re all also passionate about iPhone gaming then write about it…although doing so and ignoring the Windows Mobile market might be a little at odds with your roots ;)

  12. Clovis says:

    Didn’t read the other posts, but felt obliged to respond to the article. I like that RPS is about computer gaming.

    OTH, I just really like what you four guys write. So, if you write interesting things about the iPhone, then I’ll probably enjoy them, even though I don’t own an iPhone.

  13. Guhndahb says:

    I’m rather strongly against specifically covering the iPhone on RPS. I’d be less against an agnostic treatment of mobile platforms (must cover Android, WM, etc.) but only where it pertains in some way to PC gaming, such as DOS emulators running on them or ports of old PC games.

  14. scopie says:

    As much as I would like RPS’s take on all the app store has to offer (full disclosure: I own an iPhone and MacBook), I think it would dilute the site’s refreshingly-consistent focus on PC gaming.

    Too often sites start out doing one thing really well and then as their popularity grows attempt to be all things to all people. It’s a slippery slope and I don’t want my beloved time-suck RPS falling down it.

    Keep doing what you guys are doing. It’s great :)

    Also: John Carmack is a golden god

  15. Novotny says:

    So would it be bold of me to try and sum up our response as:

    We’ll read your bletherings anyways because we love your writing, however we’d prefer this to remain a pc-site, though we’d welcome bits and bobs occasionally on other stuff if the connection is there. As in the case of Carmack, above.

  16. Morningoil says:

    @Mr Jim Rossignol

    iTunes is the worst piece of software you’ve ever used? Really? Worse than MS Abcess? Geddouddaheeya.

  17. LionsPhil says:

    The Internet Men are angry today.

    iPhones: boo. John Carmack talking about development: yay.

  18. Surgeon says:

    I tried to drop a couple of disco/funk mixes onto the wifes iPhone for the first time the other day.

    The whole experience made me want to smash up her iPhone and forcefully and painfully insert it into Steve Jobs.

    In our usability training last year, there was a quote from Mr. Jobs used as an example…

    “Listen: I know you have a thousand ideas for all the cool features iTunes *could* have. So do we. But we don’t want a thousand features. That would be ugly. Innovation is not about saying yes to everything. It’s about saying NO to all but the most crucial features.”

    How about saying yes to drag and drop then, you git.

  19. Razor says:

    I’m going to make this quick, as I have some classic Unreal waiting for me to play (The Sunspire and Bluff Eversmoking FTW). Being a person that understood the technical details of what Carmack was talking about I think this article was very relevant to PC gaming. I, like many here, have a dislike for certain aspects of Apple (but prolly for different, technical reasons and not merely religious zealotry). I still found this article interesting, bringing a nice technical perspective in taking an old PC class (Wolfenstein or DOOM) and porting it to newer hardware.

    So Alec, I would not feel bad about this post. The relevancy might not be seen by all but it was seen by me, and I would have hated to miss that little bit of Carmack insight into one of my favourite game of all time.

  20. catska says:

    All this iPhone bickering is just masking the fact that PC news has dried up so much that this site has to resort to covering mobile phones.

  21. Jetsetlemming says:

    Make the required quality to cover an iPhone game extremely strict, then tack the coverage onto Sunday Papers, which already covers non-PC gaming (and non-gaming) shit when it’s interesting enough.
    There, problem solved.

  22. James T says:

    The Internet Men are angry today.

    Whereabouts?

  23. veerus says:

    This post is quite simply about a classic PC game that was ported over to another platform. Surely that qualifies as PC-related news.

  24. Kommissar Nicko says:

    I don’t really know if anyone will get this far, because I actually read most of the posts and I’m mentally exhausted. Reading the comments thread on RPS always reaffirms my faith in humanity, and that the way forward, with human interaction on the internet, will not be like 4chan or the comments threads on X-Gaming-Blog. Some people are snarky, but this is by-and-large enlightening.

    On the subject, normally I would object to iPhone coverage, having watched countless printed and internet gaming coverage locales fall to the inevitable march of non-PC games. However, so tremendous is my faith in the RPS staff that I’m not afraid they will completely fall by the wayside. I don’t doubt that their iPhone coverage will remain “PC-Centric,” and if it doesn’t, I always have the right and privilege to not read it. There’s plenty of stuff on here that I simply say “meh” to and not read, so it’s not as if an iPhone coverage will sneak into my dreams and haunt my consciousness. I’m a real boy. I can get over it.

    I’m confident that RPS won’t steer me wrong, whatever they decide to do, and I won’t begrudge them their interests. Ever.

  25. Muzman says:

    I find iPhone coverage a little ‘hmm’ as well even though “it crashes just like a PC!” or whatever. It’s still a phone, with an ‘i’ on the front to boot.
    As mentioned above; somewhere further along the spectrum in the PC direction (in attitude and execution) is the Pandora. I’d be ok with that being covered. What about y’all?

  26. SiUnit says:

    I have both an iPhone and an awesome gaming rig. Tbh i really couldnt give a shit about gaming news for iphone. At first I was really interested, saying things like “Woah dude! I poke it and it moves! AWESOME!”. Now its more like “stupid fingers getting in the way of my screen” and “dammit! why dont the controls work properly?!” followed by “AHHHHHHHHH! Why am i trying to game on an Apple product?!”

    Just make sure you let me know when a FFVII port comes along =D

  27. Y3k-Bug says:

    Meaningless (and quite late at that) aside, but to the RPS Hivemind that do own iPhones:

    Yo dawgs, you be jailbreakin’ yer shit?