Toast To The Monsters: 20 Years Of Doom

By RPS on December 10th, 2013 at 7:00 pm.

20 years since the course of videogaming was set forever. 20 years since id created what may very well still be the most notorious game in history. 20 years since deathmatch became a thing. 20 years of guns, 20 years of keycards, 20 years of happy hell. 20 years of Doom, not the first first-person shooter but surely the foremost breeding stock of the genre. Happy birthday, old stick.

If only you could talk to the monsters on their birthday – now that would be something. Instead, Team RPS will have to reminisce about the big, brash first-person shooter that changed everything.

John Walker:
I wonder how many times I can tell the story of when Fred Sharrock came over to my house with his PC, and we set them up in my dad’s study, connected them together via some magical lead between printer ports, and APPEARED ON EACH OTHER’S SCREENS.

Let me try to break this down for you. We weren’t both appearing on the same screen. And this wasn’t two screens plugged into one computer. We were on different computers, but inside the same game. I’m not sure if you’ll be able to get your head around that. We couldn’t.

I also remembering hacking my sixth-form form room PCs so we could install it on a whole bunch of them, and then achieve this same voodoo magic at school too, until we eventually got caught.

It’s odd that after my really quite considerable excitement at this phenomenon, I’ve gone on to avoid multiplayer and co-op as much as is humanly possible. But Doom is special, right? Of course Doom is special.

On that recent Charliebrookerthon I remember Rab Florence comparing how odd it must be to the younglings of today to know we oldies were scared by Doom, with our own incredulity at those who ran screaming from cinemas at the sight of a train heading toward them. With the greatest of respect to Rab, I’m not sure that comparison stands, unless a train actually did burst forth through the screen and flatten the smug few who remained. Because Doom IS scary, and I challenge anyone to not find it so playing it today.

Once the fifteen seconds of caring about the relatively primitive graphics are over (perhaps twenty seconds if you insist on a few more confused laps of a 2D/3D crate and their reality-bending ways), then it’s every bit as much the lightning-fast, screeching, roaring carnival of shocks and horrors it ever was.

It’s definitely the game I’ve finished the most often, each time equally delighted by the awfulness of that bunny’s head, and tricking my sister into looking at it. It’s the game whose sound effects are most imprinted in my memory, such that every time anyone else still uses the same CD of SFX id clearly got them from all I can think of is Doom. It’s a technical masterpiece, the progenitor of so very many of the best games, and at 20 years on, a reason to feel incredibly, incredibly old.

Alec Meer:

I didn’t have quite the out-of-nowhere-whaaaaaaaaaaat response some did to Doom, as I’d come up through Catacomb 3-D and Wolfenstein 3D by that point and had, for my young years, a reasonably defined sense of where things where going and what I most enjoyed from games, which at that time was shooting and secrets and mazes. I remember, oddly, thinking ‘yes, this is just right, this is just what I expected’ when playing Doom: it just made sense that my PC could conjure these scenes, and a descent into this handsome hell was not simply welcome, not simply necessary, but inevitable.

After fanfare and floppy disk were given their due (and that day at school on which I was given said disk could not end soon enough), playing it was like instantly slipping into a pair of well-worn, comfortable slippers, but slippers I’d never seen or perhaps even imagined before. I played a lot of PC games in the early-to-mid 1990s, but I am quite sure then as now that this was one of the most instrumental in ensuring I would become a game-player for life. I remember, as strongly as I do the game itself, the buzz around school, the sense of some epochal arrival, bigger than any petty concern of grades or gangs or friendships or rivalries or football or who wore what: “have you played it? Have you got it? Can you give me a copy?” A drumbeat echoing around the halls, the lockers, the backpacks and briefcases, the brains of us all. Doom. Doom. Doom. Doom. Doom.

I marvel at how iconic Doom’s elements are still, its Imps and shotguns and chainsaws, its Cacodemons and Cyberdemons and its space marine in green armour. Then I wonder if, like Star Wars, this is simply a consequence of being the loudest voice amongst those first on the scene, if another game with a similar idea at a similar time would have wormed its way into the popular consciousness in quite the same way. But I like to think there was some grand, accidental alchemy in Doom that made its monsters seem quite so singular, its arsenal so instantly archetypal and its colours and music and sound work in such unison. This was Meant To Be, a fixed point in time that had to happen. I find, unlike so many games of its ilk since, Doom to be relentlessly replayable, a fluid balance of speed and violence, reflex and planning whose visual design remains striking in the face of its increasing age.

The first level is music to me, a familiar rhythm of bullets and doors and demons that something deeper than my consciousness knows and responds to, finger-dancing to each beat. The right game at an impressionable age, aided by this glut of celebratory, lascivious nastiness being a feral cat among that gaming age’s relatively innocent pigeons: I know all that timing that has a great deal to do with Doom’s ongoing appeal to me.

No matter, though, how many thought experiments I try I just can’t imagine Halo or Call of Duty or Borderlands or Bioshock being My Doom, had I arrived later to this world. Is it just nostalgia? Perhaps, but I’d much rather keep on believing that there’s something more, something landmark and something undying about Doom, purity of design in expert concert with puerility of tone. I’m not alone; the knowledge that there is a still-growing world of WADs and remakes and ports and more out there for me to one day explore, makes me very happy.

For all that, I would so love to visit the world in which Doom never happened. Perhaps it’s a better one. Perhaps it’s dumber still.

Adam: Doom is the first and only game that sold me on a system, and that system was my first PC. I played id’s paragon of demon-shooting for the first time when I was fourteen years old. I was visiting my friend Alex, after school, and he’d shown me Wolfenstein 3D a few weeks before. It was revelatory.

The only first-person games I’d played at that point used a grid system – Dungeon Master, Eye of the Beholder, Captive – and the way that Blazkowicz slid through the world was the most immersive and technically incredible thing I’d ever seen. The world’s only surviving reciprocating steam engine flywheel alternator, which my grandfather had excitedly introduced me to at the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry, had nothing on Wolfenstein.

“They’ve made another one.” Alex said, proud to be the keeper of secrets. “The people who made this. It’s the most violent game ever made.”

We sat in silence for a moment to let those profound words permeate the room.

“Do you want to see it?” Of course I wanted to see it. What kind of stupid stunt is my exaggeratedly dickish memory of Alex trying to pull here? “I’m getting a copy next week.” Argh! Fuck. That was no good to me. I needed to see it right there and then. “There’s a screenshot in this magazine.”

And, bless me, there was. Lurid and large on a page glossier than a thousand internets, it depicted a chainsaw being thrust into a cacodemon’s eyeball. I pretended that I thought it was the most amazing thing I’d ever seen but, in truth, I was a bit disappointed. It all looked a bit messy and too colourful. A bright red demon with glowing blue blood? I think teenage Adam, idiot that he was, wanted more browns and greys. He’d be happy as a champion today and I distinctly remember how much he loved Quake.

Undeterred by the lurid screenshot, I realised that I had to return to Alex’s house when the game arrived. This is the same chap who, later in life, would convince me to swap my best Spellfire card for a one night ‘lend’ of his copy of Duke Nukem 3D. He was the kind of friend who knows the value of his superior ability to wangle goods and services out of parents wealthier than the neighbourhood average.

With Doom, he didn’t ask for any favours or trades. Instead, he allowed me to visit, loaded the game and then sat playing it for three hours without letting me have a single go. “It’s mine,” he explained, simply. “But you can watch.” I think he fed off my steadily increasing desire.

That night, when I got home, I began my campaign. I needed a PC because I needed Doom. I loved my Amiga but would it ever be able to emulate the smooth, bobbing movement of a space marine in an alien-infested base on Phobos? It didn’t seem likely. What about the gloriously sloppy animation of an imp covered in exploding toxic waste? Fat chance.

I told my parents I needed a PC because everyone at school had one and that it would help with homework, and that I really really wanted to learn how to be the best computer software man, and that the Amiga was RUBBISH (oh god I’m so so sorry it was a lie).

Somehow it worked. I never became a computer software man and I did most of homework with a pen and paper, but I did get hold of a copy of Doom. Just the shareware version for the longest time. I’ve probably spent more time in the opening level – which I still think of as nothing more than E1M1 – than in any other piece of imaginary real estate. The music, the secrets, the placement of the enemies are as clear in my mind as they were seventeen years ago.

Doom was my first LAN game, my first FPS game and my first PC game. Like a kid who graduates from the illicit thrill of video nasties to the wider world of cinema, I unintentionally treated Doom as a gateway game, moving swiftly through genres and the history that I’d missed. That’s not to say I’ve moved on though – every house needs a gateway and Doom’s a hell of a one to go back to every once in a while.

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111 Comments »

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  1. NailBombed says:

    Still one of the best FPS experiences to this day, for these aging eyes. Of course, as per Alec, I’d already played Wolf 3D at 12, but this was on a whole other level. Need to get back to making levels sometime….

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      I can still remember some of the keyboard commands for WadEd. Like F to flip which side of a wall would be textured, because DOOM was really 2.5D rather than 3D. I even started work on an X-Wing inspired Star Wars mod which featured TIE fighters and laser bolts poorly drawn in MSPaint for Windows 3.1.

      Not quite sure if it was that or ZZT which was my first experience of game development / modding.

  2. Nevard says:

    You’re big! That means you have big guts!

  3. Premium User Badge

    mpk says:

    This is a Game That Made Me.

    I had this installed on the library computer at school and used to build levels there. All my friends were amazed, and by amazed I do mean tolerant of the crazy obsessed person and why doesn’t he talk more about SNES games?

    It’s one of the few instances where I will allow nostalgia to take hold of me – every now and again I’ll install it off Steam*, complete Knee Deep in the Dead in one sitting and then go to bed happy. A genuine classic of the genre, and a landmark in gaming.

    *Oh man, 5 seconds, it literally takes 5 seconds to install

    • Premium User Badge

      caff says:

      Absolutely this. It is a legendary game.

      I remember going into Oxford Street on a cold, wet Saturday, and buying my first ever copy of PC Zone, with the demo on the cover disk. I played that demo again and again and again.

      Playing around with editors and BSP compilers introduced me to a whole world of modding, coding and graphics that has fascinated me ever since.

  4. CookPassBabtridge says:

    Note the tear in the trouser, freshly made by the salaciously grinning demon on his inner thigh. Now look at the “Ab Armour”. Put a speech bubble on the skelly in the background going “cooeee! Bruno! Ohh Bruuuuno!” and one on the devil going “TOUCH MAH HORN”. Play some Frankie Goes To Hollywood. All I’m saying is, Doom was a bit … camp.

  5. LionsPhil says:

    Let’s try another of these:

    Games that have shotguns at least as satifying as DOOM’s. Go.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      DOOM 2

      Its double-barreled shotgun was quite nice.

      • CookPassBabtridge says:

        Doom 3

        “THUNK”

      • Premium User Badge

        particlese says:

        Totally agree on the super shotgun. It did good damage, of course, but it just sounded so satisfying as it went through the fire&reload loop. Fun times in rooms full of demons. :D

        Were it not for the sounds, though, I’d probably go with Quake 3’s railgun. Quake 2’s had a cooler smoke trail, but I think Quake 3 felt less squishy in general.

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      mpk says:

      There is nothing. Nothing else has recaptured the joy of that iconic BOOMkuclickBOOMkuclickBOOMkuclick

      • tobecooper says:

        Between them BOOMkuclicBOOMs, there’s also that lovely ARRGGH.

      • smeghamr says:

        Pretty much a perfect combination of Meaty sound effect+perfect spread/aim+lovely animation syncing. I don’t think there’s anything more satisfying. Even killing a co-op partner randomly was hilarious.

        The only other shotgun i really liked is the half life 1 shotty, just because you could pull of ridiculous headshots with it online, and it had that spread that made heads pop and the alternate “upcloseandpersonal” shot.

    • DatonKallandor says:

      FEAR. I’d say FEARs shotgun is even better than Dooms, but then so is all of FEARs Combat.

      • Kaeoschassis says:

        I was just logging in to say exactly this. When I think DOOM, I think ‘shotgun’. When I think FEAR, I think ‘shotgun’.
        In both cases those games just nailed the pace and the weight and the impact of videogame combat, and in both cases the shotgun is the perfect example.

        A shooter’s shotgun is in all seriousness probably the best measurement of the quality of its combat. Deus Ex (while not strictly a shooter) is a good example here – one of the greatest games of all time, and a personal favourite, but the combat was really not very good. And I ask you, can you even remember its shotgun?

        tl;dr – Shotguns.

        • HadToLogin says:

          Seeing how you couldn’t put silencer on shotguns in DE, they weren’t really useful for me.

          I’ve used it few times in Human Revolution Directors Cut, when I played my “Bond’y” playthough, but again, it was just few enemies during Missing Link part when I had no guns and after getting my silenced pistols and rifles I’ve sold it and went back to hacking robots and turrents and killing everyone with silenced headshots.

          Hmm, I wonder if there anyone who went fully Rambo in those series?

          • LionsPhil says:

            I’ve done it in Invisible War. It was fun enough (until you run out of ammo for everything at once), but doesn’t compare to good dedicated shooters.

            Mostly I was doing it to hear all the support characters go absolutely ape at me, since IW is the one where they tried to minimize invulnerable people.

        • LionsPhil says:

          DX’s shotguns were pretty pathetic. They weren’t desperately effective weapons, and the feel was bad, not least due to some weak sound effects, like they’re coughing up pellets from some kind of firearm chest infection.

    • TheBarringGaffner says:

      Under the right circumstances, the shotguns in Hotline Miami can be really satisfying, but yeah, nothing compares to the super shotgun from DOOM 2.

    • DestructibleEnvironments says:

      The Killing Floor Hunting Shotgun! Okay it doesn’t really live up to the Doom shotgun, but I have used it for many, many hours.

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      Jubaal says:

      Worms

    • gganate says:

      Unreal Tournament Flak Cannon. It’s basically a shotgun.

      • LionsPhil says:

        Good call!

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        particlese says:

        I was thinking that, too, with the caveat that the satisfaction is delayed unless you’re right next to someone. The instagib rifle, on the other hand, while satisfying instantly, doesn’t sound nearly as good.

    • Ravey says:

      Duke Nukem 3D and Blood!

    • tehfish says:

      Odd answer for me, but:
      Borderlands 2 mechromancer with anarchy stacked up and a beefy shotgun…

      Hilariously inaccurate but pretty much instagib close-combat shotgun rampages are incredibly satisfying if stressed out :D

    • hamburger_cheesedoodle says:

      I was a bit of a latecomer, being a touch younger (my first FPS was Unreal Tournament at the age of 12) but five years ago I played Doom for the first time.

      In any FPS, the measure by which I judge the game is “How satisfying and fun to use is the shotgun or its equivalent?” Doom did not disappoint. Easily in my top 10 video game shotguns of all time, probably top five.

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      Mungrul says:

      There isn’t a game shotgun better than the Doom one.
      The rhythm of the boomstick.
      I completed the whole of the Jaguar version of Doom with just the shotgun.
      To this day, I think it’s probably my favourite game weapon.

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      Simbosan says:

      None match the shotgun, it was deadly up close and accurate as a sniper rifle at range. The top of the barrel sight was 2 pixels, above the right pixel was the aim point. If you could see it, you could take it. You could easily do the game with just shotgun, ammo allowing.

    • Farcelet says:

      Marathon 2: Durandal

      Sawn off shotgun reloaded by spinning it – and if that weren’t enough: DUEL WIELD.

      Total Carnage

    • Eukatheude says:

      Hate to say it, but Halo’s shotgun was mighty good.

    • Premium User Badge

      phuzz says:

      There’s a parameter in HL2 for how many pellets the shotgun fires. Off the top of my head it’s 7 pellets which each do a small amount of damage each.
      By fiddling in the console*, you can up the number of pellets to a ridiculous extent, such that one shot will remove all destroyable items or enemies from in front of you.
      My PC of a few years ago would only cope with up to about 400 pellets, I recon I could keep playable framerates with over 1000 per shot now, hmm, might try that later…

      *(sk_plr_num_shotgun_pellets is the one you want)

    • HadToLogin says:

      Bullet timed shotgun in Max Payne (especially with some even more slower bullet-time). You fly majestically through air, you shoot, then camera jumps to enemy hit and slowly flying backwards. And then you hear that slowed ka-click.

  6. Sp4rkR4t says:

    As I was reading this I saw in vivid detail the playthrough I always did of the first level in my head, that stuff is etched into my gaming soul.

  7. Rao Dao Zao says:

    No, RPS. You are the demons.

  8. Muzman says:

    As an aside. You talk about the change in understanding the performance on the PC, from what was a thing you did spreadsheets on and maybe “Where in the World is Carmen Santiago.”. The first clue of the change for me was actually Formula One Grand Prix. Everything was Amigas at the time and the older guys would always go on about the number of colours and the special sprite and music rendering chips. When you saw F1 GP side by side PC and Amiga, they both looked the same, pretty much (and the PC sounded like shite of course). But the PC version was clearly a lot smoother and easier to look at for long periods. That’s when it seemed obvious to me what was going to happen. The Amiga was clever and venerable in its tricks. But the PC just had raw power and that’s all 3d cares about.
    They were all like ‘ nah’ it’s colours and sprites and music and price! All true, up to a point. Then Doom came along. The clever little self contained keyboard thing that served everyone so well seemed irrelevant overnight.

    • thekelvingreen says:

      Yep, Commodore’s incompetence killed the Amiga but Doom helped.

      • Maritz says:

        They tried with Gloom, they really tried, but it was never going to be able to compete with Doom.

        • sinister agent says:

          To be fair, Gloom never really tried to be Doom. It made no bones about wanting to be the nearest equivalent, but it knew when to stop stretching – which is something most of the other “Doom – but on the Amiga” games of the time failed to understand (e.g. Fears. One of the most technically impressive, also played the worst of all of them, while Alien Breed 3D still look surprisingly good today… but required the kind of souped-up mutant Amiga that six, maybe seven people in the world would ever own) – and instead use what was within reach to create something of its own. It went for a lightweight spray and pray shooting gallery with a little bit of scary (the ghosts were scarier than anything in Doom). It’s true that Doom was better, but Gloom was unique enough that it could still hold its head up.

          Look at it this way: if you had Doom, you would never play any of the other attempted amiga Doom clones, because there’d be no point. But you might play Gloom as well.

    • Snids says:

      Goodnight, sweet prince…

  9. TheBarringGaffner says:

    Loved the article, but in response to John’s bit, I didn’t find DOOM scary at all, and I’m pretty sure I wasn’t supposed to. It’s a well-paced, well-designed FPS, but it’s not really trying to be a horror game.

  10. Casimir's Blake says:

    Have some appropriate fan-art. (Seriously, click on this, IT IS BRILLIANT.)

    Doom is still FPS perfection distilled. Only Blood comes close as a comparable experience (it perhaps even bests Doom in some ways), but Doom has the long-standing fan base with endless mods and tons of excellent map packs.

    Oh and unlike pretty much every FPS released in the last 10 years, you walk in a direction other than FORWARD. Differing enemy types fighting you from every direction (and above & below), unique / fantastical / malignant level designs, totally satisfying weapons (and each one has its use, Doom probably still has the tightest set of weapons in an FPS as none of them feel superfluous), and an effective atmosphere all add up to what is one of the greatest gaming experiences in existence. Really.

    I would put only System Shock, Thief and Ultima Underworld on the same level but these are for different reasons.

    • Geebs says:

      (Marathon)

    • nperrin says:

      You’re right about the tightness of the weapons, and any multiplay time will confirm that for any doubters. Except the pistol. That pea shooter is a little bit superfluous outside of SP.

    • sleepisthebrotherofdeath says:

      Oh man, that Doom 2 level where those two guys are on pedestals and you can trick them into fighting each other. I loved that level.

  11. Arglebargle says:

    Things like this show me again how different my experiance was compared to a lot of other computer gamers. Watched friends play Doom. Was uninterested. Still don’t care much. Yeah, it may have been seminal, but not everyone gets the same twitch itch. Civilization was much more my speed.

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    DrScuttles says:

    They grow so fast. I remember after my parents split up and my dad had us for the weekend we’d often end up at his work and discover each computer in the head office had the shareware of Doom installed. While dad did the boring stuff of work, my brother and I discovered deathmatch. Like John I pretty much ignore all multiplayer these days (with the exception of Dark Souls), but Doom 1 and 2 have had a permanent spot on every computer I’ve had.

  13. dE says:

    I feel like this is relevant:

    Q&A: Doom’s Creator Looks Back on 20 Years of Demonic Mayhem
    -> http://www.wired.com/gamelife/2013/12/john-carmack-doom/

    He talks a lot about how the industry changed and how his perceptions changed over time. As usual, there are some interesting things in there, in my opinion.

  14. Low Life says:

    I find it difficult to grasp that Doom is only 5 years older than Half-Life. That’s less than it’s been since Modern Warfare was released.

  15. thekelvingreen says:

    “First person shooter”? I’m still calling them “Doom-clones”.

  16. int says:

    To Doom!

    *raises glass of demon blood*

  17. McDan says:

    First game I ever played on PC, great times.

  18. Sigh says:

    Blazkowicz’s exposed mid-drift is oh so dreamy.

    • HadToLogin says:

      So, you’re saying after killing Hitler he was sent to kill demons in space?

      • Sigh says:

        What else would he do with that very particular set of skills and a resume of that nature?

    • LionsPhil says:

      I dunno, these unrealistic pieces of plate armour with holes to show off the chest, tsch.

      (A most appropriate username, there.)

  19. S Jay says:

    I remember the first time I saw a game using a sound blaster was Doom. The difference playing the game was incredible. I still can hear the gatling gun (or whatever is the name).

  20. Sigh says:

    Flowers to Womans
    Toasts to Monsters

  21. xaphoo says:

    I was a huge fan of DOOM as an 11-13 year-old (I even made some silly WADs back then — I wish I could find them), but I think it’s important to remember DOOM also as a precursor to Quake 1, an even better game. I worry these days that Quake 1 is somehow falling in between the cracks of our memories between Doom and HL, and this is sad. So many of Doom’s innovations — the juvenile 90s thrash-metal Lovecraft lite-Satanist atmosphere, the enemies who attack you from every direction and keep you running and strafing, the hefty weapons, the keycard hunting, the *straight face* that masked the games humor in just the right way perfect for a 90s manchild — were carried over and enhanced by Quake.

    I still play both games, but I only worry that Valve’s imperial reach has dulled our esteem for Quake even as we still celebrate Doom.

    Back to the topic: my first Doom memories were at my older neighbor’s house. His PC was the first I had seen with a sound card, and it was powering these little globe shaped grey speakers. I remember the crunchy frying meat sound of a rocket launcher gib. I felt like I was sinning while playing it, and it was great.

    We got our own PC shortly after and I loaded up the Doom shareware. When my mom saw it she knew she couldn’t keep me from playing it and that was the moment that my childhood, during which she kept from violent media of all kinds, ended.

  22. Advanced Assault Hippo says:

    Am I the only one who played it on PSX first and always preferred it to the PC version? The sound effects and soundtrack were great quality and creepy.

    I couldn’t play the PC version afterwards, always felt like a step backwards.

    • dethtoll says:

      There’s a lot of people on the Doomworld forums who agree with you. Go look for PSX Doom TC — Christmas may come early for you.

      I personally would love to have someone go over the vanilla maps and slap in PSX-style lighting and effects without compromising architecture like they had to do for the PSX hardware.

      Doom 64 remains my favourite Doom, however.

  23. dethtoll says:

    This is one of those Games That Made Me. To the point where I’ve celebrated its release every year for the past ten years, not just 10 years ago and not just today.

    I think the thing that really struck me, playing the shareware version on my neighbor’s basement computer in the summer of 1994, was the windows to the outside. I’d played Wolfenstein before on his computer and it was all indoors — the only outside part you saw was at the very end of the shareware episode. So I saw all these huge windows looking into a grey, gloomy mountainscape and I had to wonder… how could I get out there? That sort of feeling of “escape from the crazy place if only you could get outside” pervaded throughout the episode, and I think to some extent that’s influenced me quite a bit.

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    PoulWrist says:

    Doom, to this day is still my most favorite game ever. Endlessly replayable, endlessly modable… endlessly fun.

    Brilliant in every regard, perfectly paced and balanced and fun. Amazing how it was made by a bunch of kids in less than a year without focus groups and a thousand designers.

    My first memory of it is seeing it on danish TV in the program “Troldspejlet” (the magic mirror) which aired every week, alternating between looking at new videogames and new movies/cartoons and comic books. Doom was there on the TV and I remember thinking “omg I want this so bad” and … some time went by and my cousin got us a shareware copy. it was magical and I was just 12 years old back then in 94.
    I remember going to my uncle’s business with my older cousin to play Doom on the IPX LAN there with a couple of his friends. My first look at deathmatch.
    Excellent times. Played that thing a thousand times and then later when I bought a used copy of Doom 2 at a fleamarket, I played that… and scrounged up all these mod CDs and when the Internet became a thing that was accessible, I downloaded maps and total conversions and other wonderful things for Doom… all kinds of other games came and went, like Duke3D and Quake, but you could always return to Doom and see something new and crazy that someone had made.

  25. Scumbag says:

    Twenty years, still being modded fanatically.
    Cant say that about many other titles.

  26. Pundabaya says:

    Doom. You can’t talk to the monsters. 6/10.

    • nimzy says:

      Ah, but in Doom, guns ARE the conversation. (And the chainsaw is the punchline of a side-splitting joke.)

  27. hamburger_cheesedoodle says:

    Mr. Walker: I was about five years too late for Doom to be my first FPS, and when I played it for the first time a half-decade ago, I didn’t find it to be even slightly scary. To the game’s credit, it was incredibly fun, the movement was fast and fluid and lent itself to that sort of “death-waltz” that really good shooters have where you can improvise a graceful rhythm of carnage and it feels perfectly natural; but I was never frightened once, and I am the sort of person who does get scared from video games. (Intense memories of creeping around at night in STALKER, one inch at a time, paralyzed in fear that there is another Bloodsucker around the corner).

  28. Hardmood says:

    i remember the days of doom as very special. first game and first weekend u didnt go out to clubs as usual and explaining this to friends was like talking to aliens.
    doom started it. couldnt resist anymore since then until i got totally overfed with games today.
    but that feelin when we connected our first computers was great. it was new and u were a true nerd. i didnt knew more than 3 people out of maybe 100 who did this and felt it the way i did: a whole new world and awesome like hell.
    i truely miss this special kick nowadays.

  29. sinister agent says:

    Adam of Smith… you have betrayed the sisterhood of the Amiga (YES IT’S A SISTERHOOD EVEN THE MEN SHUT UP) and must pay.

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    VelvetFistIronGlove says:

    I have never played DOOM, despite being of the right vintage (I was 13 when it came out).

    I’m pretty sure I only came to it a year or so late after playing Dark Forces, and being disappointed that you couldn’t jump, and that there were no multilayered levels.

  31. Tiax says:

    And now we have Brutal Doom wich makes it better than most of the current FPS.

  32. Gryz says:

    I played Doom 20 years ago (well, 19, to be precise).
    I decided to play the first few levels again. Just for old times’s sake.
    It was actually quite easy to get the game running.
    Took me less than 5 minutes.

    Step 1): Download ZDoom.
    http://zdoom.org/Download
    It’s a zip file, with 4 files inside.
    This is all legal.

    Step 2): Unzip the file. Put the 4 files wherever you want.

    Step 3): Find a doom1.wad file.
    Now this content is copyrighted. If you want the full game.
    But there was a shareware version.
    You can find the doom1.wad file in many places on the Internet. All legal.
    Example is here: http://www.doomarchive.com/ListFiles.asp?FolderId=216&ContentsFolderId=216

    Step 4): Download the doom1.wad file.
    Unzip it, and put it in the same folder as where you put those first 4 files.

    Step 5): Start the game.
    Just click on the zdoom.exe file.
    No need to install dosbox or other tools.
    It just works. (Running win7 here). Mouselook and everything.
    After starting the game, go into options, and change the resolution to 1920×1080 (or whatever you want).
    The game runs flawlessly.

    It took me about 2 hours to play through the first set of levels. All the way to the 2 Barons.
    Oh, the memories.

    • LionsPhil says:

      If you want a vintage experience, you may prefer Chocolate Doom which is a source port that aims for perfect bug-for-bug faithfulness to the original. So it’s like running the original in DOSBox, except without the performance overhead of DOSBox, which might be nice if you want to run a twenty-year-old game on a modern laptop without it turning all its battery life into heat.

  33. Premium User Badge

    particlese says:

    Ah, Doom! I thoroughly enjoyed exploding imps with my fists (and rockets) of rage, but I was always more into knowing the names of all the dudes, learning cheat codes (oh, how I loved ROTT), and finding all the secrets in the levels. E1M2 was my favorite for the latter, if I remember correctly. No idea what it was called, but I loved it!

    I’m pretty sure I’m not lying about those emphases, either, because the rare Doom dreams I have always seem to involve hundreds of enemies of all types in a gigantic arena that I eventually get to or open up by finding some secret switches or satisfying some obtuse game conditions. (Think E1M8 enbiggened to Serious Sam proportions and populated wall-to-wall with monsters.) I even use noclip and reload the level to figure out what the secret was, and if I kill anything at all, it’s probably just one giant BFG blast before reloading and exploring again. For science!

  34. TWChristine says:

    “..I remember Rab Florence comparing how odd it must be to the younglings of today to know we oldies were scared by Doom..”

    This line resonated with me because just last week I was talking with some coworkers about how Doom had scared the crap out of me, and this young 19 year old kid pipes up and says “Really? Doom scared you? Pff..”; to which I then tried to explain that back then, those graphics were INTENSE! and if you were really getting into the game then yes, it could be quite scary. I often slowly sneak around in games, waiting for ambushes or what have you..but it’s not often that I’m doing that and feeling that I’m the one being hunted. A dark hall with occasional lights flashing and somewhere in the distance you hear the call of a Baron of Hell..*shudder*

  35. Kentauroi says:

    I loved playing doom coop in my friends basement (though it often ended in use just murdering each other), but my one true childhood love will always be Descent 2. So similar to Doom really, but there’s just something about Descent 2 that made it special. Maybe it was as simple as it being set in space and piloting a fighter.

  36. cookieheadjenkins says:

    Doom’s 20 years old?! Oh my wad!

  37. sleepisthebrotherofdeath says:

    Doom 2 was the first game I played on my shiny new pc back in the day. Played it for what seemed like forever.

    Then one day I got the first Doom. Never really enjoyed it that much – compared to 2 it felt muted and missing something.

  38. Cytrom says:

    I wish there were still games like doom, but since cod consumed and destroyed the fps genre, there is little hope. But then again we live in a gaming renaissance nowadays. Sidescrollers, point n click adventures, turn based strategies, action rpgs, proper rpgs.. even space shooters resurrected from the dead recently. I hope FPS is the next to be rediscovered, can’t wait.

    • Tiax says:

      As I mentionned earlier, you might want to give Brutal Doom a try, it enhances Doom is so many ways and makes it such a visceral experience.

      Hell, I have friends who never played a FPS before who got addicted to Brutal Doom once I showed it to them.

      • nperrin says:

        Amen.

        I’m a “the shareware was one of my first and favourite PC games ever and since then I’ve been playing and modding the game on and off for almost 20 years” purist about Doom, but I dare say Brutal Doom is the ONLY “enhancement” mod that truly ends up being BETTER than the base game for a “pure” Doom experience that turns you into a madman while you play.

        Hell I’d even say it’s the BEST mindless, fast-paced bloody fun FPS available right now. In 2013. Versus even the newest shiniest threedee-est additions to this genre.

    • Sharza says:

      What about Rise of the Triad? It’s pretty good in my opinion, has fast gameplay, ludicrous weapons, secrets and traps.

      What about Shadow Warrior? While not as maze-like as the original was, it is still a very fast paced and silly game that you can play in a variety of ways.

      Also Painkiller Black Edition always felt like having good elements of the really oldschool shooters.

  39. Gundrea says:

    I celebrate but have no personal connection to Doom. I remember getting it on a bunch of floppy discs and trying it out. It didn’t impress me at the time and I went back to playing Commander Keen. It wasn’t until Command & Conquer that PC games really overclocked my brain.

  40. stoner says:

    The article failed to mention modding support. For shame. There were hundreds of levels, with new textures, developed by fans. You had to search for the level on different BBSs, but they were there

    To you young whipper-snappers out there, a BBS is a “Bulletin Board System”, a primitive system to deliver content. There wasn’t this new-fangled thing, you refer to as the internet, back then. How well I remember those golden, warbly tones of my 300 baud modem as it hand-shook (handshaked?) with another modem in some distant place.

  41. Lemming says:

    What better way to celebrate, than playing Brutal Doom!

  42. fish99 says:

    The game I bought a PC to play. A 486 DX2-66.

  43. nojjynb says:

    Is it bad that I still have muscle memory for IDSPISPOPD? I have to really think to remember it, but on a keyboard… bam. You see, when you don’t really understand what “shareware” means, and you think you can beat that first episode. Well, as soon as you teleport in, IDDQD wears off, and you need to escape before the acid and Imps tear you apart. If you are fast enough, you can IDSPISPOPD to noclip (wasn’t it sad when Doom 2 made it just IDNOCLIP?), escape the death trap and “Win.”

  44. Geen says:

    Anyone remember Chex Quest, the kid-friendly version that came with Chex Cereal?
    It had a chainspork.
    A motherfucking chainspork.
    It’s still one of my favorite video game weapons of all time.

    • Grape Flavor says:

      Yeah I remember that! I had forgotten about that game. At the time I thought it was a pretty impressive thing to make and give away for free. Well, not free, you had to buy the cereal, but still.

  45. tomek says:

    I still have the wooden 30cm ruler from school back than and it sais DooM on one end. I was obsessed.

    The game was out for a while when one of my friends told me that people overseas play it with the mouse instead of keyboard only, i tried it and never again did my friends wanted to play with me on lan :(

  46. Premium User Badge

    kdz says:

    I’m a month younger than DOOM. Should I play it?*

    *I really know I should as I aspire to become a game designer one day, nonetheless I think it’s an interesting question.

  47. Uninteresting Curse File Implement says:

    I marvel at how iconic Doom’s elements are still, its Imps and shotguns and chainsaws, its Cacodemons and Cyberdemons and its space marine in green armour. Then I wonder if, like Star Wars, this is simply a consequence of being the loudest voice amongst those first on the scene, if another game with a similar idea at a similar time would have wormed its way into the popular consciousness in quite the same way. But I like to think there was some grand, accidental alchemy in Doom that made its monsters seem quite so singular, its arsenal so instantly archetypal and its colours and music and sound work in such unison.

    Uh, actually it is well-known that DOOM2 took System Shock’s righteous place in the spotlight. If DOOM1 never came out, we would all be praising Looking Glass’s iconic designs, like