Twenty years ago today id Software gave birth to a legend that would forever change the industry–and in turn gave birth to an entire genre.
Doom laid the major framework to the first-person shooter genre, and remains a seminal landmark in the history of PC gaming.
Millions of people across the globe can recount their experiences with Doom over the years, and even today the franchise is sending ripples throughout the industry–but its glory days will forever be held in the nostalgic experiences that the early 90’s brought.
Much of the game’s appeal was a mixture of tantalizing fear and the sheer exotic feel that Doom entailed. We were transported to another world wherein players faced unspeakable monstrosities from the depths of hell itself, creating a haunting–yet alluring–experience.
The exteriors were so bizarre, and the interiors had all of the classic horror sentiments like flickering lights and ominous overtones. Everything was in full 3-D, and gamers could freely roam around the blood-soaked and desecrated labyrinthine halls searching for upgrades and hidden rooms.
Bloodthirsty demons ensured we were thrown into a desperate gambit for survival, scrambling for the next bit of ammo, health pack, or armament to tear a swath in the horde. Here we were, a lone marine, armed with our wits, courage, and a whole lotta guns against a seemingly never-ending army of Lovecraftian creatures who are hellbent on annihilating everything.
In Doom, many of us faced our nightmares; but in a way, it introduced us to a new batch of nightmares–some of which still haunt us today, but in a good way. The abysmal horrors gave our fears a new shape, a new face, and many gamers can still remember the moments that scared them the most throughout the campaign.
Much of the game’s charm came from the mix of grueling FPS action with that distinct feeling of surprise. Unless you’ve played the game before, you don’t know what’s going to happen next, and it was that kind of suspense that kept gamers on the edge of their seats.
The gore was another aspect that simultaneously drew and repelled gamers. We were freaked out to see such twisted things during that age, even if it was just pixels. But we kept on going, that fascination and curiosity egging us on. We had to know what horrors lay in wait for us, and more importantly, we had to triumph over them.
There were many times Doom took away the power given to gamers, forcing them think and plan for the battles ahead. It also introduced the “luck” factor that we’re all aware of, where anything can happen. But more importantly, the game forced us to use strategy and tactics, and to manage our ammo–sentiments that are reflected even in today’s modern shooters.
Doom was also the first first-person shooter game to make use of multiplayer. Some of us will be able to remember lugging around giant monitors and hefting PC’s to a LAN party, only to be engrossed in the tedium of early 90’s computer set-ups. Once connected, though, the marathons ran on and on, with countless bouts of deathmatch action.
All of us have our own personal memories will Doom, many of which are treasured, and throughout the last two decades the game has had a tremendous influence on the sphere of gaming.
Now that it’s twenty years old, some of us are feeling less-than-young, but we find solace in the fact that those days of shooting our way out of nightmarish scenarios have made us into steely, grizzled space marines. We’ve been through hell and back, and have more than a few tales to tell about the horrors that lay within the Martian Moon Base; tales that will always be with us.
In conclusion, Doom left the industry forever-changed, and has crafted a legacy that has stood against the tides of time quite well, keeping a thriving fan-base that eagerly explores the hallowed halls of the moon base in search of their unholy quarry.
Be sure to celebrate this gaming juggernaut’s 20th anniversary the right way, with some old-school campaign action or deathmatch fragfests.