Doom: A History Before Doom 2016

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The next installment in the Doom video game franchise is set to come out soon.

To celebrate the occasion, it only seemed right to trace the steps of this crazy video game from the very beginning.

Here are some things you didn’t know about the Doom video game:


The original creators were punished for playing video games

The two key players in the creation of Doom were programmer John Carmack and game designer John Romero. The “Two Johns” would create id Software where they would create Doom.

In his book “Masters of Doom”, David Kushner describes a violent incident that happened between game designer John Romero and his stepdad. The incident occurred when John was a teenager and snuck out to play Asteroids in an arcade against his stepdad’s permission.

While playing the game, John’s stepdad slammed him into the arcade cabinet.

This moment cemented John’s hatred of his stepdad for many years and was only reconciled once he became a rock star game designer after the success of doom

Programmer John Carmack stole computers

John Carmack was a troublemaker in his youth who was often disciplined by his strict mother. When his mother locked his comic books away as punishment for not doing his extra credit homework, John undid the hinges on the door.

A huge example of Carmack’s intelligent hatred of authority came when he decided to steal his computers then brand new Apple II computers. Carmack used his knowledge of chemistry to make a concoction of thermite and vasoline to melt the glass of the computer lab.

Everything went according to plan until Carmack’s fat friend opened a window that tripped the alarm.

They once abandoned a pizza

The guys at id Software eat a lot of pizza.

Carmack once described pizza as the most effective food since you could work while eating it.

Because of his consumption of pizza, Domino’s has a special deal where they only charge him 1995 prices for all of his pizzas.

There was once an incident at id Software where they had forgotten a pizza in the snow. The id team was located in Madison, Wisconsin in their early days. The team stayed at an apartment that was freezing cold. The team had once made a pizza run, but ran back inside their car because of the cold. When they realized they forgot the pizza, they decided that it was too cold to retrieve it. Their love of pizza did not endure the elements.

John Carmack works like a machine

Carmack’s work ethic is the stuff of legend. He has been accused of being a robot, his wife calls him Spock, and his work almost alienates his co-workers. There’s even a song on the original Doom soundtrack called “Deep in the Code” written by the composer who noticed that Carmack was the only one in the office.

Carmack’s work ethic would transcend to games like Quake and Doom 3.

Tom Cruise inspired the game’s title

The title for Doom came from the movie “Color of Money”. In the movie, Tom Cruise presents a black case in front of an unsuspecting pool player. When asked what he has in the case, Tom Cruise replies “Doom”. Carmack loved the idea of creating something that would bring trouble to the world.

Doom Was Inspired By Aliens and Evil Dead

John Romero and John Carmack are said to have bonded over similar interests like Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and Dungeons and Dragons. After working at Softdisk and creating id Software, they had created a wide variety of games including Commander Keen and Wolfenstein 3D.

Wolfenstein 3D introduced a new system where the video game could simulate movement in a 3d space. This new form of movement would be the basis of the first person shooter. After Wolfenstein 3D had proven to be a success, the guys at id Software decided to create a new game.

John Romero was inspired by movies like Aliens and wanted something that had a dark humor to it like the Evil Dead series.

It was from this artistic need that Doom was born.

Many iterations of the game where presented in the pre-production stages. An attempt at a cut scene with a bunch of space marines playing cards was cut when John Carmack compared the plot of video games to the plot of a porno.

John Romero spent his time designing the imps and demons to work with John Carmack’s programming. The combination of these two elements created Doom.

The impact of Doom was huge when it launched. It was one of the final steps (along with Windows 95) that made the personal computer a new part of society.

Doom helped usher in a new era of PC gaming, and became a mainstream success.

Doom’s success created a backlash as several members of Congress protested the game for its violence. The reaction to both Doom and Mortal Kombat had lead to a series of hearings that asked for a rating system for video games.

Doom only made money off of one percent of the people who played it

Doom was one of the first attempts at a shareware platform. Both of the Johns were proponents of the hacker community, and John Carmack didn’t like the idea of exploiting people who played his game.

Carmack originally only cared about making enough money doing what he loved, which was different than someone like Romero who had dreams of riches.

A deal was created where people were given the option to buy the entire game or play a demo level instead. It has been said that there have been a lot of pirated copies of the game around, but that did not faze the id team, as Doom was such a bestseller that it made them millionaires in the process.

John Carmack is still a huge advocate for shareware.

John Romero and John Carmack love fast cars

With their newfound wealth, the guys at id Software celebrated by buying lavish goods like replica medieval battle axes and Ferraris. Carmack got in an argument with a mechanic when he tried to alter his Ferrari to make it go even faster.

Bob Norwood, the mechanic, installed a turbo system in John Carmack’s Ferrari. This modification really quenched Carmack’s thirst for defying authority in a logical and constructive way.

John Romero left Id Software to Create Daikatana

John Romero created a tension following the success of Doom when he became the face of id Software. Romero’s outward personality contrasted with the other members of id Software who were much more introverted.

Romero caused a big stir at id Software as his rising celebrity status was affecting his ability to get any work done. This caused a big tension between him and John Carmack and led to him leaving id Software to create his own company, Ion Storm.

It was at Ion Storm that John Romero began a new project called Daikatana. This project was extremely ambitious and had loads of weapons and multiple levels spanning from futuristic cities to feudal Japan.

John Romero’s infamous lazy lifestyle got the better of him as the game was delayed multiple times due to changes in software development. Video games differ from films in that a scheduling setback can really destroy a game if new graphic developments are made in the industry.

A series of advertisements in gaming magazines said things like “John Romero is about to make you his bitch” which propelled an extreme amount of hype for a game that could not perform to expectation.

This led to Daikatana being a huge financial and critical disappointment for Ion Storm.

Daikatana is now known as one the bigger flops in the gaming industry.

John Carmack makes rockets now

John Carmack’s analyzed his expensive Ferrari hobby and realized he could spend around the same amount on cars that he could on rockets. This new obsession led to the creation of Armadillo Aerospace, Carmack’s rocketry startup. Carmack participated in the X Prize and even won in NASA sponsored Lunar Lander Challenge.

John Carmack is even seen chatting with Elon Musk on how they like to coordinate their rockets from time to time.

Bonus: Most of the Music of the Original Doom is Actually Thrash Metal

The music of Doom was composed by Robert Prince. The soundtrack in the original Doom contains tracks that are remarkably similar to songs of popular thrash metal artists. The opening track to Doom sounds similar to “No Remorse” by Metallica. Other songs seem to be synth copies of songs by Pantera, Slayer, and Alice In Chains. This soundtrack was created before the concept of piracy of music was considered mainstream.

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