Fri, 30 Jun 2006
Masters of Doom
David Kushner, Masters of Doom,
Random House, Piatkus
This is about the guys that created Wolfenstein 3D, Doom,
and Quake amongst other games. It's about John Carmack
and John Romero and the changing supporting cast in a fluid
world. It's also about the history of gaming, through Dungeons
and Dragons and early computer games to the arcades and cash
cows of later years. It is also very US-centric. There is no
mention of contributions from other countries at all other
than the occasional Brit (well, I think there was one) who
ended up in the USA working in that environment.
It's a great book though. David Kushner is a long time
gamer and he assembled the personal sagas of the two main
characters from six years of interviews and research. You get to
feel the joy of a small team working their guts out to get a
game out the door, the pains of political infighting and
idea clashes, the triumph of success, and the hollow feelings
of things going to hell in a handbasket.
It also deals with the call for censorship (remember, Doom
was incredibly violent and gory) and the after-affects of the
Columbine massacre. My question is, do parents not have brains anymore?
But I guess there are quite a few people that can't and won't
take responsibility for anything. They deserve a totalitarian
Another thing this book highlights is that games can still
be made by small teams and without a king's ransom for a
budget ... just stay away from consoles until you've got a hit
and the console makers come asking for a port.
In the early days, if you wanted to check up on what John
Carmack was up to, you fingered firstname.lastname@example.org. This has
now moved to a blog and you can catch it at ...
John Romero's site is http://rome.ro