This week, Doom co-creator Jon “Jubb-jubb” Romero took to a graceless social media platform called “Twitter” to share a selection of previously unseen behind-the-scenes artwork and photos from the making of Doom. You can see some of them with your eyes and mind here.
It’s difficult now to remember the impact Doom made at the time. If you imagine a moose falling off a tall building onto a tramp you'll only be partway to grasping how big an impact it had. Even if you multiply the number of mooses, increase the height of the building, and reduce the health of the tramp, you're still not going to get it.
Graphics and technology have reached a level where it’s doubtful there’ll ever be such a quantum jump for games again. In part, we think that because we can't really recall one that's happened in the decades since. At the risk of forcing you to sniff our clichés, after Doom nothing was ever the same.
We could harp on about it setting the template for first-person shooters – building as it did on the foundations laid down by Wolfenstein 3D – but you're smart. You already know that. What Doom really got right, as all the great, epoch-shaking games have, was coupling era-defining, iconic graphics with sublime gameplay, and an utterly unique atmosphere. It was close to perfect.
Doom was also one of the first games to be motored by the Internet – newsgroup buzz got people talking, before a shareware version was uploaded to FTP servers.
Cue a global phenomenon, and reduced productivity throughout the Illuminate-controlled world.
It’s a rarely remembered fact that it wasn’t until 1995 that the game was properly released commercially, as The Ultimate Doom.
We recall playing it for the first time on Teletext’s terribly poor PCs – having to reduce it down to a postage stamp-sized window to make the frame rate bearable. This may shock you, but we don't think we ever properly played a full-screen version until the Atari Jaguar. That's how rubbish we were.
And despite that handicap, it still gave us the "willies" (ha ha). For all the alleged survival “horror” games that have followed in its wake, we honestly can’t think of a game since that’s freaked us out quite as much as Doom did. The sharp, sudden rasp of a cacodemon’s roar. The pools of darkness. The flickering lights. And so on and so forth.
A FINAL PARAGRAPH
So. There you go. Another week, another gaming birthday. Well done, Doom, for existing and being good, and for somehow enduring across the years.
Next year we'll be seeing Doom 4, maybe. Hopefully. Let us all join hands, roll our eyes into their sockets, and sing a sinister and threatening song about hoping it will be better than rubbish.