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Classic Games (Games) First Person Shooters (Games)

Doom Is Twenty Years Old 225

alancronin writes with a quick bite from the Dallas News about everyone's favorite FPS: "Few video games have had the impact that Doom has on the medium as a whole. While it wasn't the first first-person shooter out there, it was certainly one of the earliest hits of the genre, due in no small part to its revolutionary multiplayer. Today, that game is 20 years old. Made in Mesquite by a bunch of young developers including legends John Carmack and John Romero, Doom went on to 'transform pop culture,' as noted by the sub-title of the book Masters of Doom." Yesterday, but who's counting. Fire up your favorite source port and slay some hellspawn to celebrate (or processes). I'm partial to Doomsday (helps that it's in Debian).
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Doom Is Twenty Years Old

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 11, 2013 @11:13AM (#45660205)

    That's like saying "Singing legends Elvis Presley and Right Said Fred."

    One of these things is not like the other, one of these things just doesn't belong...

    • by BanHammor ( 2587175 ) on Wednesday December 11, 2013 @11:22AM (#45660301)
      They made their best games together. After that...well, the engines were good, I'd give them that.
    • by tuffy ( 10202 ) on Wednesday December 11, 2013 @11:42AM (#45660461) Homepage Journal

      Although John Carmack's engine opened up a lot of possibilities, John Romero's level designs were also a big part of Doom's success. The key difference is that Romero hasn't done much since Daikatana landed with a thud.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by geek ( 5680 )

        Although John Carmack's engine opened up a lot of possibilities, John Romero's level designs were also a big part of Doom's success. The key difference is that Romero hasn't done much since Daikatana landed with a thud.

        Carmack hasn't done much either.

  • Ah the memories (Score:2, Insightful)

    by cold fjord ( 826450 )

    There were some fragging good times playing that with friends.

  • by Pope ( 17780 ) on Wednesday December 11, 2013 @11:14AM (#45660209)

    I remember a friend and I bought the full version of Doom at a shareware vending machine at a local mall. We brought our own floppies and a two rolls of loonies to pay for it. Then spent the rest of the day taking turns playing on his 486. Good times! :D

    • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Wednesday December 11, 2013 @11:46AM (#45660517) Homepage

      I remember a friend and I bought the full version of Doom at a shareware vending machine at a local mall. We brought our own floppies and a two rolls of loonies to pay for it.

      Wow. I don't remember vending machines like that at all.

      I do, however, remember loading programs off cassette tape. :-P

      • READY.



        FOUND DOOM
        ?LOAD ERROR

        SUCK IT DOWN.

        bhsihbvhb ruif v riuvhwer ur viurvye whb ru wiu ergwer
        65fub yuv54r ^5vdc ^ &r 856* ^t8V^*679

      • by nedwidek ( 98930 )

        Never happier than the day we got a VIC-1541 and put the days of pressing play behind me.

    • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Wednesday December 11, 2013 @11:49AM (#45660535)

      I remember a friend and I bought the full version of Doom at a shareware vending machine at a local mall. We brought our own floppies and a two rolls of loonies to pay for it. Then spent the rest of the day taking turns playing on his 486. Good times! :D

      You forgot the "eh".

    • by Nerdfest ( 867930 ) on Wednesday December 11, 2013 @11:59AM (#45660659)

      The first machine I played it on cost in the areas of $2000. Now I can run it on a $10 MP3 player smaller than a pack of matches using RockBox. I kind of like the future.

    • by cusco ( 717999 )

      I first encountered Doom while training to do Win95 tech support. One day the trainer didn't show up so they just let us into the training room and told us to practice in the OS. Someone got wandering around the Microsoft network, found a network install of the game, and 25 of the 29 other people in class spent the next couple of hours playing Doom.

      Then we found out why Doom was called "the unofficial network stress tester". They crashed the Microsoft network backbone. We got put on the support phones t

  • I believe Wolfenstein 3D was the first, but I could be wrong about that.

    • Maze War (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 11, 2013 @11:20AM (#45660285)

      Maze War, 1973 []

    • by LoRdTAW ( 99712 ) on Wednesday December 11, 2013 @11:30AM (#45660365)

      If you read the wikipedia article on the FPS genre, Wolfenstein 3D was not the first FPS. Turns out that FPS games started in the 70's but were not released to the public (one was a US Army tank simulator). the first publicly released FPS was Battlezone released in 1980.

      Wold 3D did however put the genre on the map. Doom had the privilege of being the first FPS with true modem and networked multiplayer.

      • by CastrTroy ( 595695 ) on Wednesday December 11, 2013 @11:47AM (#45660525) Homepage
        Most people don't realize how far we've come until you go back and play those games. If I recall correctly, in Doom, there was no jumping, and you couldn't aim up and down. The only way to move vertically was going up small steps, which your character automatically walked up. The levels were all 2 dimensional. It didn't support rooms above other rooms.

        Other games like Descent, were more 3D, but as someone who designed levels in his spare time for the game, there's some weird stuff you can do in that game because the 3D engine was flawed, most likely to make it run fast enough. You could build a room with a floating cube in the middle. Put a door on one side of that cube. When you go through the door, you could enter a room bigger than the encompassing cube.
        • by ArcadeMan ( 2766669 ) on Wednesday December 11, 2013 @11:55AM (#45660611)

          Was your cube blue, by any chance?

          • I think it was. I made a few levels and put them on my Tripod page, so it's possible you could have played it. I also remember making a roughly spherical room which had the walls looking like a checkerboard or soccer ball. Another level (or part of the same) required you to shoot down a long narrow shaft to hit the reactor, like destroying the death start in the battle of Yavin. I don't have copies of the levels anymore, but I went back using DOSBox a couple years ago, and verified that you could indeed
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by timftbf ( 48204 )

          Most people don't realize how far we've come until you go back and play those games. If I recall correctly, in Doom, there was no jumping, and you couldn't aim up and down. The only way to move vertically was going up small steps, which your character automatically walked up. The levels were all 2 dimensional. It didn't support rooms above other rooms.

          See, for me, these are features, not limitations.

          One set of directional controls. Look where you move where you shoot. That's controls I can have fun with.

        • If I'm not confusing Doom with Doom2 I think it wasn't just 2D, the second or so room had imps on a shelf. Your aim automatically adjusted to kill enemies above, this was interesting in a room full of enemies on different heights but in front of each other. You are probably correct in that you couldn't have rooms below each other. The lack of aim may have also been a choice as the first one I remember that didn't use a mouse was Dark Forces. I think you aimed with page up and down. That is kind of cumbe
          • by stjobe ( 78285 )

            Doom map layout was definitely 2D, I remember very well having to use all kinds of tricks to get the illusion of full 3D, and some things just weren't possible, like bridges you could both pass over and under.

            Doom 2 I can't say, never did any maps for that one.

            • What I mean is there was a height aspect or Z coordinate. [] The gun auto aimed. I don't think the limitations in the map building exclude the fact that there was a 3rd dimension.
              • by Boronx ( 228853 )

                I think calling it auto-aim is a bit of a misunderstanding of whats going on. My experience with doom suggests that the shot hits the first creature that's vertically inline with the gun. It's drawn at some z coordinate, but there's no z axis in actual game play, it's just graphical sugar.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          The Doom Engine was built out of a BSP tree, each leaf node had the floor and ceiling height. Then each frame was rendered by scanning across the screen horizontally and rendering each vertical strip in turn. This was done by building up a set of texture lines going from a point at the top of the screen to a point at the bottom, so it would alternate between ceiling, wall and floor spans. Thus players could go up steps, and steps could be made to rise and fall automatically or be triggered.

          The Quake engine

      • First commerically available FPS? I nominate Phantom Slayer..1982

        FIrst Person? Yes!
        Shooter? Yes!
        Spooky as well....

    • Well Wolfenstein 3d wasn't the first either, but it was on that set the bar. For the model of the 3d Shoot-em-ups. Which doom then used with some more advanced technology that made it move a little smoother and a little more interesting game.

      I think TFA over did the multi-player. As you needed 2 computers next to each other over a Null-Modem Cable, so most people didn't play multi-player.

  • Memories (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 11, 2013 @11:20AM (#45660287)

    My first memory of DOOM was playing it on a 385 25MHz with 2 MB of RAM. Yeah, that ran like a slideshow. I couldn't understand the big deal. Shortly thereafter I got a screaming 486DX 66MHz with 8 MB of RAM. THEN I understood why the game was a big deal.

    I feel silly, but I started playing this game pretty young, about 9 or 10. And I was terrified. Not enough to stop playing mind you. But the snorts of the imps in adjacent rooms really terrified me. If I wanted a bigger scare, I'd turn off all the lights. I sure played games differently then. Not like I play games now, where I stroll around with a cocky sense of invincibility, just soaking damage and pressing the kill button as fast as I can.

    • Clearly you are playing the wrong games, or you're not playing them in "hardcore" mode.

      Generally, players (and other things) die in 1 to 3 hits.

    • by jandrese ( 485 )
      If you wanted to really troll your friends, you could bring that 386 to a LAN party, especially if they all had shiny new Pentiums. Doom framelocked everybody to the slowest computer in the group, so the previously butter smooth Doom gameplay would instead be a slideshow on their powerful machines.

      I remember the days of doing 4 player games using serial ports (you had to have guys with 2 serial port machines in the middle) using some third party utility that I've long forgotten the name of. In college
    • Ah yes, I remember playing Doom on a 386 with the view minimized as small as possible to make it playable. We had a 486 as well, the two machines cobbled together with Arcnet so we could play on the network. The guy on the 486 had a huge advantage in frame rate and larger viewing area, but only the 486 had a soundcard, so the guy on the 386 could get an advantage by listening to the sound from the other computer (you could guess how far away the opponent was based on the volume of your gunfire coming out

    • My first exposure was as a bench tech for a Circuit City service center, someone in the front office was playing it just after closing time. I was fascinated. Even more when they told me the first level was a free download. Naturally, that led to buying the full version and every version after.
      I remember being sick one winter with a bad cold, sore throat, mild fever, but being bored out of my mind laying in bed, got up and played Doom all day, it took my mind off of my discomfort. (Some of those things
    • by Boronx ( 228853 )

      Holy crap, when you start a level and hear a cyber demon, that was terrifying.

  • by wiredog ( 43288 ) on Wednesday December 11, 2013 @11:25AM (#45660323) Journal love me..

  • We called them (Score:5, Interesting)

    by spywhere ( 824072 ) on Wednesday December 11, 2013 @11:28AM (#45660351)
    My roommate came home back in '93 with a bootleg copy of the original game. After we installed it, we were concerned about "going to HELL," so we called id Software.

    "Hi, we're calling because someone gave us a bootleg copy of Doom...
    "We need the address, so we can send a check... how much do we owe you?"

    The person on the phone, after recovering from their shock, gave us the address, and told us to make sure to include OUR mailing address with the check.

    A few weeks later, we received a boxed copy of Doom, and a bunch of other cool swag.
    • Re:We called them (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Fluffy the Destroyer ( 3459643 ) on Wednesday December 11, 2013 @11:40AM (#45660435) Homepage
      We need more people like you
    • Re:We called them (Score:5, Insightful)

      by X0563511 ( 793323 ) on Wednesday December 11, 2013 @11:43AM (#45660483) Homepage Journal

      Ah, back in the days when developers (and players) were (mostly) honest.

      • I never knew those people. Most of my games for the Apple in the mid 80s came from a college-age uncle and every single one started with a "cracked by" splash screen.

        • Then you were not one of the honest ones, you were one of the ones who's existence I implied with "mostly."

          • My personal experience differs from yours. I saw plenty of evidence of piracy in my youth. I don't have any kind of scientific study* to point to piracy rates over time, and I suspect neither do you. I'm very suspicious that human nature has changed over the past 30 years. Hell, I'd argue that software piracy is the reason we are all stuck with no competition to MS Office today. Literally every home computer I have ever worked on for a friend or family member until MS started "activation" had a copy of the

      • Re:We called them (Score:5, Interesting)

        by UnknowingFool ( 672806 ) on Wednesday December 11, 2013 @12:20PM (#45660855)
        I was listening to a talk by a ROM hacker recently. He was looking at old cartridge games from the 80s and 90s and looking through them for Easter Egg comments. The first one he came across was "Jeff Spangenberg is a weenie". It was put in by the programmer who was not happy on the treatment he got from Jeff. The hidden comments ranged from dedications to humor. Some of the Easter Eggs contained threats of all sorts, but, surprisingly, a few of them were job offers. Those companies figured that someone with enough talent back then to crack the game to see the source code was talented enough to work for them.
  • by Martz ( 861209 ) on Wednesday December 11, 2013 @11:30AM (#45660363)

    Doom always reminds me of my first first person shooter multiplayer experience.

    My friend got his first 1x CDROM/Soundcard package for his 486 SX 25, and it came with a bunch of free games. We haggled and traded these crappy games at our local computer shop for a Null Model Cable, after discovering the Intersrv.exe and Interlnk.exe files and reading the help /? and realising that we could get 2 computers to "talk" to each other.

    After enormous amounts of trial and error, tweaking config.sys and auto exec.bat, we were able to copy the doom.exe using a null model transfer to another computer, and have player vs player games. We had a lot of fun and felt like this was the cutting edge of gaming, or at least in our world.

    Doom for me is the foundation of all modern multiplayer games, regardless of it was the first - i still have fond memories of where it all started for me. It's mind blowing to think about the games industry these days and how it's evolved.

    We didn't have search engines or ways to connect with other people of similar minds to solve the problems that we encounter. From these early gaming experiences I learnt enough about DOS and the PC to make it my hobby and later my career.

    I owe Doom more than just many hours of entertainment, in a round-about way.

    • I hope you managed to copy more than just the executable ;)

      I remember playing via dialup. That was 'fun' (people kept answering the phone)

    • A buddy of mine and I played Doom forever, heck we still do on occasion.

      We didn't have the ability to play direct connect, so we discovered and figured out how to get modem play to work. we upgraded to USRobotics 28.8 DSVD modems, and figured out how to get them to work and how we could talk over the phone line while playing the game. This was all pre-internet days, so I had to figure out the AT Commands to enable DSVD, to dial, to answer etc. fun times. again lots of trial and error, dropped connectio

      • by Boronx ( 228853 )

        "A buddy of mine and I played Doom forever, heck we still do on occasion."

        This checks out.

  • by Lester67 ( 218549 ) <ratels72082@mypacks. n e t> on Wednesday December 11, 2013 @11:34AM (#45660389)

    I'd starting tinkering with computers about the time the MicroAce came out. I moved through the Vic, C64 and C128... and then to the Amiga. While I wouldn't consider myself a fan-boy, I supported the brand almost to a fault.

    It wasn't until one day, in a Sears, I saw an Asus 486/DX2-66 for sale, and they were running DOOM on it. I bought a PC for no other reason than to play Doom.

    I'm now an IT manager over our hardware repair and oncall function, and I owe it to the day I went "PC Compatible"... over a freakin' video game.

    • I personally know 4 other people (including myself), almost the exact same scenario (not Doom, but other fun aspects of computing, as thought to be in the 90's). Had you seen the IT world (as it is today), you'd have been an idiot to get involved. At least that's what we all say.
    • Same here, only the game that made me want a PC was Civilization. I'd never seen anything like it, and it was the first game I special ordered after getting a 486.
    • by kwerle ( 39371 )

      I'm now an IT manager over our hardware repair and oncall function, and I owe it to the day I went "PC Compatible"... over a freakin' video game.

      Kinda sad. []

  • If you suddenly feel the need to play Doom after reading this and long since don't have a copy, I recommend Freedoom. Same engine and gameplay, levels are little different. Tons of fun. []

    If your running a debian\ubuntu system, it's probably as simple as sudo apt-get install freedoom
    I don't think you need a special PPA
    I gather it runs on Windows, but I don't know much about that.
    • Neat, I'll have to check it out. Wonder if it works with Brutal Doom.

      Brutal Doom is possibly the best Doom mod ever. Check out this review. []

      Had a ton of fun with it. It's not extra levels, instead you play the same old levels with smarter monsters, heavier weapons and extreme brutality. The latter seems silly now, it's all just sprites, but I wonder how that would have been received in 1993.
  • IF EVER office productivity needed a kick...
    Why is the google doodle today NOT a playable version of Doom?
    Make note. For the 21st bday, it should be a link to local liquor stores and a playable version... You have one year to get on that...


    Everyone that does not feel like working today...

  • We celebrated the 20th anniversary of Doom this year at RetroEuskal (which is held within Euskal Encounter in Bilbao, one of Europe's largest LAN parties with about 5000 people who bring their machines (Euskal Encounter itself has been going for 21 years now, it came out of the Amiga demoscene and still hosts quite a bit of demoscene stuff).

    Here's the video I made of the tournament. Proper e-sports with prizes and everything :-) []

    We also had a tournam

  • Check out DoomRL for a rougelike Doom experience. It works surprisingly well.

  • Marathon was better.

    It's a shame that Marathon was a Mac-only game for the most part, as a lot of PC gamers missed out on a great title.

    Bungie later got their just desserts through the success of the Halo franchise, but said rewards were quite overdue by that point.

    • by anss123 ( 985305 )
      Marathon does not hold a candle to Doom.
      • by Pope ( 17780 )

        Marathon does not hold a candle to Doom.

        You've got that backwards :)

        • by anss123 ( 985305 )
          Marathon has a humoristic story going for it, but the gameplay is crud. This while Doom is as fun today as it was in 1993. If not for being a mac exlusive game, and Halo, Marathon would have been quickly forgotten.
  • My first encounter of doom was when browsing the shareware rack at the local computer shop. I already had Wolfenstein 3D and loved the game and I remember it was made by id. So this Doom game was also made by id and looked interesting. Installed it on my 486DX-33MHz with 4MB ram and was blown away. Didnt run smooth but that was fixed when my father bought a 486DX2-66MHz with 16MB of ram for CAD work. what an amazing game and it sucked up hous of my time.

    In high school our computer lab consisted of 486's (ei

    • I had a similar experience with Doom, about the same time, '94-'95. We'd play it on our high school token ring network, during our "computer science" class (which pretty much amounted to learning how to program in some variant of Basic). The teacher got so annoyed, catching the 3 or 4 of us playing during her lectures that she eventually would allow us to play after we finished our in-class work. Needless to say, those of us interested in playing became pretty decent at coding Basic quickly.
  • by nimbius ( 983462 ) on Wednesday December 11, 2013 @11:55AM (#45660615) Homepage
    sit down kids, the old mans about to tell a story.
    Doom, the game, meant so much more than any bejewel clicking farmville grinding facebook gaming ass-scratching fruit-ninja with a bird in a slingshot can ever hope to understand; but you can learn to.
    it was 20 years ago that I sat in a dark bedroom beset with mountain dew and doritos, the boomy din of Nine Inch Nails churning away as I poured through the WAD file editor on a sunny saturday afternoon and a smirk on my face knowing the level I uploaded to the BBS that evening would be a work of art. It was designs for floors and trap doors and creative new weapons that filled my 3 ring binder during gym class and on the bus ride home I'd power through 30 minutes of the most unforgiving motion sickness in the tri-county area thinking about new places to stick a cacodaemon or a pain elemental. Doom was my respite, but it was also my temple. the days torment and teasing in school meant nothing once i heard the first few notes of the devils tri-tone main-screen theme and laid eyes on 'doom guy.' Network modem multiplayer and the joy of a friends new map, or the hillarity of a deathmatch laiden with machine gun rocket launchers of our own devise were the the epitomy of my childhood. Dooms wad editing frenzy pushed me into computer programming despite all odds. Six years later the mere act of playing doom was enough to send parents scrambling for body armor and in my case, suspended me for a week thanks to my inability to stop talking about Doom 2's shotguns and their modifications in school after the Columbine Massacre revealed its duo played the dreaded game.

    Doom was analogous to who i was as a child. one lone guy trying to get past an ocean of seemingly endless torment and assault if only to make it to the next level where despite the horror of it all I still tried as best i could to beat the records and discover everything i could.

    now go. buy a copy of doom and start knee deep in the dead as so many of us have, and *sniff* .....get off my lawn.
  • Doom came out around the time that I lost interest in gaming. I think the fact that the medium was overtaken by first-person shooters was part of the reason.
  • Although I thought Doom was cool and all at the time, it wasn't until Half-Life that first person shooters became my game genre of choice.
  • I remember downloading the shareware version of DOOM from a BBS shortly after it was released. Shooting at the soul sphere displayed in level 2 because I didn't' know what it was, and then almost falling over dizzy when I had to get up and go!

    It certainly wasn't the first FPS to exist or even have networking (see Mazewar on the Xerox Alto), but it was the first to provide a fully immersive experience (full screen, all surfaces with texture, and sound) on a common desktop PC.

    When I first heard of DOOM, and

  • Well, perhaps not a dark and stormy night, but a dull, windy and wet winter Saturday afternoon.

    I was playing Doom on my 486, with headphones on on said dull afternoon. I had been playing a while and was really into it - Doom actually has great atmosphere with the music and the sounds of the various creatures and monsters shuffling around the map, and especially good atmosphere when played in a dimly lit room with proper headphones that cover the ears.

    So my friend who I lived with at the time comes back from

  • by tekrat ( 242117 ) on Wednesday December 11, 2013 @01:07PM (#45661255) Homepage Journal

    Other than Tetris, I can't think of a single game that's been ported to more platforms, and played more than DOOM has -- there are people right now, somewhere in the world still playing doom -- and I'm one of them.

    What I enjoy about doom is that it's simply everywhere. I remember being at an E3, and among other new releases for the Super Nintendo (yes the 16 bit), was a DOOM cartridge. The fact that DOOM is available for practically every platform there is (although I have no bothered to confirm, I'm sure I can even play on an iPhone), one of my favorites was finding the engine for SGI machines and SUN platforms very early on -- so, yeah... you could play it on a cheap 486, or on your high-end $20,000 workstation, it was (and still is) literally everywhere.

    My prediction is that regardless of what new platforms materialize in the future, some enterprising hacker will port DOOM to it, making the franchise one of the most durable in the history of videogames.

    • Considering the engine is open source, I bet you are right. I was looking at a 4-player one-screen setup for my arcade cabinet, similar to the split screen doom1 and doom2 on the doom3 xbox disk. I found dozens of ports and projects, including PrBoom, VanillaDoom, ChocolateDoom, ports to OpenGL, to SDL, ripping the Doom sprites out of the N64 Doom to make custom WAD's. Those are just the ones that I can remember off the top of my head. I even played Doom on my old Sprint phone, from 2001. The levels looked
    • The fact that DOOM is available for practically every platform there is (although I have no bothered to confirm, I'm sure I can even play on an iPhone)

      You would be correct in that assumption []

      (Although I found the Doom2 RPG [] to be far more enjoyable game; FPS games and touchscreens are not a good combination)

      But you are right about how widespread Doom has become in the computing world. According to Wikipedia [], the following platforms had official versions of Doom ported to them

      Computers: MS DOS, NextStep, IRIX,

  • I started out playing Pong. Zork and other nascent games followed. Our grandmother taught us how to program, since she was the first one in our part of the state to own one of the early IBM PCs (the one with the 4"x4" screen). Atari, Colecovision, Sega, Nintendo, were all part of our mother's milk, digitally speaking.

    Doom in college, though, was the first time I felt horror at playing a computer game. When the T-Rex demons came for me at the climax, with the creepy music, I felt something past the usual

  • by cshay ( 79326 ) on Wednesday December 11, 2013 @02:31PM (#45662243)

    I occasionally get nostalgic for those days back in 1994 but I have a big problem reliving them due to the sophistication of the audio in this game. You see, it was designed to play high quality MIDI if you happened to have a $1000 sound card. Of course I nor most of my friends did not have that... I had the standard soundblaster chip on my 486.

    So when I play it in DosBox or whichever emulator, the sound is just too good! It is not the same as when I played it before!

    Any tips on how to recreate that standard 1994-1995 486 experience aside from finding an old pc and installing win95?

  • I never did figure out how to get off of the first level. Of course, I was playing with a keyboard and mouse which didn't make the game too enthralling in the first place. Haven't bothered much with FPSs since, to be honest.

"If it's not loud, it doesn't work!" -- Blank Reg, from "Max Headroom"