This Day in Tech History

On This Day . . .

Graphic Violence ~ Satanic Imagery ~ Success

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December 10, 1993: DOOM Released

It was 20 years ago today than a Shareware copy of DOOM was uploaded through a server at the University of Wisconsin. The rest is history as DOOM is considered one of the most influential titles in video game history, introducing features such as 3D graphics, true third dimension spatiality, networked multiplayer gameplay, and support for player-created expansions with the Doom WAD format.

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The game developer, iD Software, released this first version as shareware where users were encouraged to share it and pay for it if they liked it. This was one of the first popularized 3D games, a first-person shooter with a “Deathmatch” multi-player mode. The use of graphic violence and satanic imagery made the game intense and controversial . . . which of course helped to increase DOOM’s popularity.

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By late 1995, Doom was estimated to be installed on more computers worldwide than Microsoft’s new operating system, Windows 95.

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The development of Doom started in 1992, when John D. Carmack developed a new 3D game engine, the Doom engine. The title of the game was picked by Carmack:

“There is a scene in ‘The Color of Money’ where Tom Cruse [sic] shows up at a pool hall with a custom pool cue in a case. ‘What do you have in there?’ asks someone. ‘Doom.’ replied Cruse with a cocky grin. That, and the resulting carnage, was how I viewed us springing the game on the industry.”

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Most of the level design that ended up in the final game is that of John Romero and Sandy Petersen. The graphics, by Adrian Carmack, Kevin Cloud and Gregor Punchatz, were modelled in various ways: although much was drawn or painted, several of the monsters were built from sculptures in clay or latex, and some of the weapons are toy guns from Toys “R” Us.

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  • In 2001, Doom was voted the number one game of all time in a poll among over 100 game developers and journalists conducted by GameSpy.
  • In 1996, Computer Gaming World ranked it as the fifth best video game of all time.
  • PC Gamer proclaimed Doom the most influential game of all time in its ten-year anniversary issue in April 2004.
  • In 2004, readers of Retro Gamer voted Doom as the ninth top retro game, with the editors commenting: “Only a handful of games can claim that they’ve changed the gaming world, and Doom is perhaps the most qualified of them all.”
  • On March 12, 2007, The New York Times reported that Doom was named to a list of the ten most important video games of all time.

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  • In 2009, GameTrailers ranked Doom as the number one “breakthrough PC game”.
  • Game Informer staff also put it sixth on their 2001 list of the 100 best games ever.
  • In 2012, Time named it one of the 100 greatest video games of all time as “it established the look and feel of later shooters as surely as Xerox PARC established the rules of the virtual desktop,”
  • Including Doom on the list of the greatest games of all time, GameSpot wrote that “despite its numerous appearances in other formats and on other media, longtime fans will forever remember the original 1993 release of Doom as the beginning of a true revolution in action gaming.”

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