DOOM: A Retrospective


It pains me to think that if you were to ask most kids anywhere from age 12 to 18 what is the first thing that comes to mind when I say first person shooter, they say Halo or Call of Duty. In this generation, no credit is given where it is due. No one remembers the classics, the ones that started it all. That is why I’m directing the spotlight on a landmark in first person shooting and a personal favourite; DOOM.

Let’s look at a bit of history of DOOM firstly.

DOOM was created by id Software in 1993. id at the time consisted of only 6 people including the 2 geniuses John Romero and John Carmack. Originally being part of computer company Softdisk, they broke off and created their own studio and began making games for home PCs. They started of with the hit side-scroller Commander Keen. With John Carmack being the genius that he is, created the Wolfenstein 3D engine to create first person shooters. Something unheard of at the time. It featured full 3D environments, player physics, etc. It was groundbreaking.

These are the guys that made DOOM... Yeah, I know...

From there, Carmack created the DOOM engine also know as id Tech 1. Capable of high speed texture rendering, 3D spacial movement, and a binary space partitioning method that allowed for the game to render in order that it is viewed based on depth. It was leaps and bounds beyond Wolfenstein 3D and ultimately led to DOOM being the more successful of the two.

Now contrary to popular belief, DOOM is not the original first person shooter. Someone may say Wolfenstein 3D, that is also wrong. The original first person shooter is a little gem called Hovertank 3D. Interestingly enough, all 3 of those were developed by id Software. Anyways, I’m spotlighting DOOM because of what it did for the industry. Not only did it take the first person shooting genre and revolutionize it in a short amount of time but it also sparked the violence in video games controversy.

First person shooters were originally very bland, this was due to the limitations of the platforms at the the time. Lighting was consistently one brightness, walls were blocks of solid colour, they were very simple. This was only in 1991. In 1993, everything changed. DOOM had flickering lights, or even no lights at all at times. The walls were grim, either raw stone or broken electronics. It was appealing to the eye and it made it instantly more unique than anything else on the market. Wolfenstein 3D had one level. No stairs, no elevators, nothing. It was all one height. DOOM added all those things. But with the added realism to the environments came the realism to the enemies.

Yes, the enemies were incredibly cartoony and fairly unrealistic at the time, it was what happened to them as they died that raised some red flags. As they were gunned down, they would explode into blood and crumble to a bloody heap that would remain until you finished the level. Having an install rate of more than 10 million, someone was bound to see this and say something. And they did. Suddenly video games were the root of all the evil in this world. “This boy shot up a school.” “Well, he did play DOOM…” “IT’S THE VIDEO GAMES FAULT!” That is pure horseshit. The kid was troubled, the video games let him vent. The fact that DOOM is a shooter and infinitely customizable through WADs is merely a coincidence. Video games don’t make people violent, their upbringing does.

On top of this being violent as hell, this guy is getting his ass handed to him. Maybe this is why he shot up a school...

Now where was I going with that? Ah, fuck it.

DOOM was a landmark for gaming and thanks to it, you can all enjoy your Call of Duty’s and your Halo’s and your Medal of Honor’s. But you don’t need to say it for it to be true. Every time you say you love a certain shooter, you’re indirectly saying you love DOOM. So you can’t really avoid it.

Oh, and eventually DOOM 3 was made but it suffered some… Problems.

This is DOOM, notice the near lack of colour. It's beautiful. This is DOOM 3, notice the severe lack of everything. The fuck were they thinking?

About Ian Long

Ian Long is the resident Canadian. Likes new games but prefers old ones. He is also usually the one that has an opinion that the rest don't agree with.