25 years on from its initial release, one Doom fan looks back at how id Softwares classic shaped his interest in video games.
Its surreal to look back and think that Ive been an avid gamer for 23 years. Its even more baffling – and perhaps a case of bad parenting in the eyes of some – that one of my first video game experiences came in the form of the gory, demon-killing title known as Doom.
For those unfamiliar with the series, Doom is a first person shooter, developed by id Software, that focuses on an unnamed space marine – simply known as Doomguy – who battles a demonic invasion on Mars and Earth when scientists open a portal to Hell after a secret experiment goes awry.
Dooms success, following its initial release on 10 December 1993, was down to the marketing and online distribution strategies that are used so often these days for digital sales, but at the time were almost unheard of. It was through this that I first encountered Doom, with the game coming as part of a games demo package with the release of Windows 95.
The parental alarm bells should have been ringing immediately for a game called Doom. The cover art too, depicting a space marine firing a double-barrelled shotgun into a variety of gruesome foes, meant that there was no chance that any other eight-year-old would have access to such a title. My parents understanding of this new entertainment medium was almost non-existent back in 1995 though, and allowed me to delve into Dooms horrifying world, albeit only via the demo, without fear of repercussions.
I was immediately hooked. Gunning down opponents such as imps, cacodemons, spectres, and more across Mars under-siege colony was a thrilling ride that left me wanting more each time that the demo ended. Countless evenings, particularly during those harsh winter nights when playing outside wasnt an option, were spent replaying the same levels, killing the same enemies, and finding the same secrets to continue my battle against Hells most testing foes.
Id Softwares mega hit left an indelible mark on my fledgling interest in video games. Such was my appetite for all things gaming, my parents eventually gave in to my unrelenting wishes for a proper gaming device for my next birthday. The glut of consoles, games, memories, and now even my job are reflections of how this passion has grown from playing Doom on my dads old computer. I wouldnt be as hooked as I am today if it wasnt for Doom, and this was only reinforced further with the 2016 reboot of the franchise.
My mind was initially at odds, over playing the fourth title in the series, for fear of it ruining my memories of the original. Would it still feel as satisfying to take down Hells greatest enemies? Would I feel like the biggest, baddest action hero that strikes fear into his foes? Would the game contain a plethora of secrets just waiting to be discovered? And would I gain as much enjoyment from the up-to-date reimagining as I did back in 1995?
I need not have worried. It took me six months to play Doom 2016 after launch but, right away, the nostalgia for this franchise came flooding back. I smiled as I tore through the hordes of the undead across beautiful-looking levels, I chuckled at the dark humour on display, I searched high and low for every conceivable secret weapon and collectible, and I felt extremely satisfied as the end credits finally rolled after I defeated the final boss.
Nostalgia can be the difference between enjoying a reinvented version of something you used to adore or being left severely disappointed by the latest adaptation. The 2016 release of Doom proved to be the former for me, and helped to cement the bond that I had with the original. It has left me wanting more again, and Doom Eternal – the follow-up to Doom 2016 that will be released in May 2019 – cannot come soon enough.
Despite Doom introducing me to video games, there are other titles that I would list as favourites in my all-time most loved video games list. It arguably wouldnt be my go-to game for competitive tournaments either, if I ever decided to enter into eSports. Why, then, does it hold such a special place in my video gaming pantheon?
Doom gave me a passion that Ive carried throughout my life. Hobbies have come and gone, while interests in other pastimes have waxed and waned depending on where I am at any given time. Video games have remained the true constant since my introduction to Doom though, and its likely that I would have arrived late to this form of entertainment if not for Dooms Windows 95 demo.
Its hard to understate the impact that Doom has had on my video game obsession. Theres just something fulfilling about taking out demons with a meaty shotgun and feeling like youre the only person who can save the day. Modern day video games feel like they have to tell convoluted stories, or retain their audience for years at a time as they constantly update their online multiplayer titles.
Doom, however, offered up an enjoyable, short romp that made me the hero without bogging itself down in semantics. It made me the gamer that I am today and, no matter how much time passes, the impact that Doom had on my gaming passion will never be dimmed.
By Tom Power