John Romero wants you to buy his Doom 2 floppies

Would you like a $3,000 copy of Doom 2? Sure, that’s a little bit more expensive than the £5.99/$4.99 Steam version, but you’d be getting five whole floppy disks! When the world ends, that plastic might be valuable. Still not convinced? Well then, I guess John Romero will have to sell his copy to someone else.

John Romero is selling his five-disk copy of Doom 2, a game he helped create 23 years ago, on eBay. The auction has just over 80 bids and another four hours to go.

It looks like Romero decided to do this on a whim last weekend, and soon after he plugged the auction on Twitter.

Unfortunately, you’ll get nothing but the discs if you win — no box or manual. Romero says they’re in good condition, however, though the 23-year-old glue means that the labels are starting to peel off.

Aside from trying to shift old floppy disks, Romero’s been working on an FPS along with fellow id alumnus, Adrian Carmack. Blackroom’s [official site] been pitched as a “visceral, action-packed FPS set in a holographic simulation gone rogue” complete with all the stuff you’d expect from Romero: heavy-metal, lots of violence, rocket jumping and plenty of strafing. The pair started a Kickstarter campaign last year, but cancelled it four days later. They didn’t have much to show, and have opted to start up the campaign again once there’s a gameplay demo.

33 Comments

  1. FurryLippedSquid says:

    Madness. Buying some disks with history I could understand, a first press or something, but just an incomplete copy of the game that Romero once touched? Eh.

    • CMaster says:

      Agreed. I suspect there are perfectly good boxed copies of Doom II out there that would sell for less. If there was something unique about this, then I can see the collectors appeal, but this is apparently just a standard retail set that Romero happens to have.

  2. BobbyDylan says:

    Ummm… those are stiffies. Floppies were a lot larger, 5 1/4 inch iirc.
    Also, $3000 for doom 2 disks? Man, I gotta find mine. They in my mum’s garage somewhere.

    • ColonelFlanders says:

      5 1/4in Floppies were definitely floppier, but the 3 1/2 inchers were also called this.

      • phlebas says:

        Indeed. Inside the plastic case is the magnetic material which is both floppy and disc-shaped whether it’s 3 1/2″, 5 1/4″ or some more arcane format.

    • A Gentleman and a Taffer says:

      Yeah, what part of the world do you hail from? Round my ways stiffies are…something else!

    • poliovaccine says:

      Unless your mum’s garage is John Romero, I wouldnt expect em to fetch quite the same bounty…

      That said, “historicity” is a great joke. The difference between a genuine historical artifact and a counterfeit is whether you can tell them apart at all.

      Maybe you want to market them as having historicity? So say they once belonged to John Romero! People dont believe you? G’wan and photoshop yourself a certificate of authenticity!

      But really though. Dude has the big balls to even ask that much, I’ll give him that.

    • durrbluh says:

      You’re about 40 years too late to force “stiffies” into computing lingo, Gretchen. They are forever floppy. This is incontestable.

  3. vast_anusse103 says:

    Arguing about the definition of floppy disk lol.

  4. FroshKiller says:

    I must be misremembering, but I could’ve sworn DOOM II came on a whopping 32 3.5″ floppies. My best friend got his on CD-ROM, and I was so jealous.

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      Don Reba says:

      The five floppies are just for storing a Steam key.

    • Archonsod says:

      You’re definitely misremembering. The original Doom was 2 floppies (just over 2Mb in total). Doom 2 originally came on four floppies (not sure why Romero has five, unless one of them is the expansion).

      32 floppies would give you around 46Mb of storage space, which is about a 10th of the size of the average hard drive when Doom 2 was released. Windows 95 shipped on only 13 floppies …

      • TheUltimateDoomer666 says:

        DOOM Shareware (the first episode) was 2 disks. DOOM Registered (3 episodes) was 4 disks. The Ultimate DOOM (4 episodes) was 5 disks. DOOM II was also 5 (not 4) disks, with the exception of the Macintosh floppy version which was 7 disks.

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    phuzz says:

    So this is just Romero wanting to buy a new car/computer/house/kidney or something? Not for a charity?

    • poliovaccine says:

      To be fair, it’s easy and fairly natural to presume public figures have more wealth than they do, but in particular, creatives tend to live comfortably middle-class lives, and no more, a lot more often than we think. Many of my creative idols hold down day jobs, and not just for kicks either – one of my favorite musicians runs a charter boat.
      For every Michael Jackson or David Bowie there are two dozen John Romeros who, in spite of what we gamers think, are not quite at the same level of megacelebrity as those other names.

      Besides, games are second only to movies for how much money and how many skilled people their creation requires, and even then, only second sometimes. These things cost a lot to make, and as much-loved as DOOM may be, it’s not like we ever bought more than one copy each. I’m sure it recouped its cost and then some, but money goes like sand in the hourglass, and I think it’s fair to say that Mr. Romero has never had another success quite so big as his first* (*I see DOOM and DOOM II as both being part of the same singular achievement – that is, their combined influence on gaming going forward/their distillation of the formula of FPS). Its (DOOM’s) fame is only stronger after decades, but life and raising kids and healthcare (in this country anyway) and food and shelter and etc all cost money, and life keeps plodding on – those things persist beyond the sales of DOOM and DOOM II. I’m sure there was a time when American McGee (ugh that name is like the “Kid Rock” of gaming) had carte blanche to do whatever he wished within the industry – but I’d be pretty shocked if that was still true today.

      All I mean to say with this is that very many of the figures who are celebrities to us are still not exactly beyond all financial concern. Just being a popular public figure alone doesnt pay anything innately (unless you’re a youtuber), and anyway one’s level of wealth is only after one’s expenses – an author of a bestselling book, who nonetheless has terminal cancer and two kids in college, may not be fabulously wealthy after all that, even if they’re fortunate just to be able to send two kids to college and pay for their own treatment.

      And anyway that refers to something else about this notion – there’s a certain ineffable principle at work in this life, partly economic, partly metaphysical, which dictates that having more inevitably costs you more – a mortgage on a house that you pay in your 30s costs more than the rent on an apartment that you paid in your 20s. My guess is that it’s ultimately just an organic result of capitalism – the more wealth you have, the more entities and mechanisms exist to wrest it from you. Not being that wealthy myself, I cant even predict what the expenses of Mr. Romero’s echelon might be – it’s like when I was six, and calculated my parents’ income for the year, and thought we must be zillionaires, because I had no awareness of the many expenses which make up an ordinary life each day. I feel like I’d be in the same position if I were to speculate on John Romero’s relative wealth right now.

      But ultimately, it’s an auction. You cant blame him if other people think it’s worth $3,000, nor can he be blamed for trying to make himself some money. Not sure why the expectation this should be for charity? I’m sure he’s comfortable enough in this life, but is he so wealthy that he owes the rest of the world an added amount of moral responsibility? I believe such a thing is true of wealth, in an ethical sense, but I wouldnt assert that he necessarily has wealth like that.

      In any case, it could very well be for a new kidney or something – just something he doesnt want to make public. Maybe his kid needs to go to rehab. I dont know that he owes us a special explanation of his motives.

      It is an interesting thing to think about – how wealthy do you need to be before you owe something more to the world than the average man? I dont mean to suggest I have a definite answer in mind.

      • theblazeuk says:

        These are generally good points, but a mortgage that you pay in your 30s is no longer more expensive than the rent you pay on a flat in your 20s.

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          phuzz says:

          Being able to afford a mortgage in my thirties, as the kids say: lol.
          (Ok, I’ve got a couple of years left for my income to more-than-double, but I’m not holding my breath)

  6. Ahkey says:

    They belong in a museum!

    Really though, does Romero need the money? From the headline I expected a charity auction, but it’s just a straightforward cash grab.

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      Phasma Felis says:

      He might. He hasn’t worked on anything you’ve heard of in well over a decade. “Hey, remember me, I was on DOOM” doesn’t pay the bills.

  7. Porkolt says:

    It seems a shame that mr. Romero isn’t donating the proceeds of this auction to charity. At least for a charity auction I would be able to justify these kinds of prices.

    As it is now it just seems like a cashgrab to me. Perhaps I’m overestimating his personal wealth a little bit, or they’re running out of money to stick into Blackroom’s development – what a shame that Kickstarter they had to cancel because it seemed a little bit too much like a cash grab didn’t work out.

    • JaguarWong says:

      He started the auction at $10, I don’t see why he should be judged for what others are willing to pay for them.

  8. spaced says:

    Yeah yeah, but will his new game make us his bitch?

  9. theirongiant says:

    The title should have been “John Romero will make you his pitch”

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    DelrueOfDetroit says:

    How much for his Daikatana discs?