The First Time I Played Doom Was Yesterday

Doom was a ground-breaking 2003 1993 first-person shooter, with a successful business model that involved releasing the first few levels as shareware and charging for the full game.

From GoldenEye to Modern Warfare 2, I’ve played first-person shooters made of polygons. As the years advanced, I’ve watched the worlds and figures these games depict advance from the aesthetic of roughly-modeled Papier-mâché to photorealism. I’d not played a shooter that looks like Doom. I’d not played one that presented each of its figures as a stack of pixels rendered at the fever-dream intersection of real and relevant abstract. Be it dirt, blood, hair or the barrel of a gun, everything I saw was a block. Each block was a tile of a nightmare mosaic.
In Doom the shotgun feels mighty, at least partially I believe because
they make first-timers like me wait for it. The creators make us sweat
until we have it in hand. But once we have the shotgun, its big shots
and its slow, fetishized reload are the floored-accelerator-pedal stuff
of macho fantasy. The shotgun is, in all senses, instant puberty, which
is to say, delicately, that to obtain it is to have the assumed added
potency that a boy believes a man possesses vis a vis a world on which
he’d like to have some impact. The shotgun is the punch in the face the
once-scrawny boy on the beach gives the bully when he returns a muscled
I had expected a dinosaur, something that felt outmoded and unevolved.
Instead, I found a cave-painting, gorgeous in its primitive beauty and
built with an intelligence that rendered mean conflict with a thrill it
is hard to ignore — or forget. —Steven Totilo, Kotaku

2 thoughts on “The First Time I Played Doom Was Yesterday

  1. That’s 1993 ;)
    One of the WIU geeks “hid” Doom in the standard build installed in our computer labs. I found it and got my class playing it. Most had never played before. We spend much of a class period playing and talking about the game design. The number of secrets was fascinating to both gamers and non-gamers alike — and scored at the end!

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