Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Doom

I recently finished playing and beating the new video game Doom at "Nightmare" difficulty.  In the past when I had mastered a previous release in the Doom game series, I would play it again with a rule of my own that I would have to restart from the very beginning when I died.  This new version of Doom has an "Ultra-Nightmare" difficulty level in which this is enforced.  Based partially on my experience with Sid Meier's Civilization, I have decided that Ultra-Nightmare is a mountain which need not be climbed.

When Doom first came out back in 1993, it was distributed as shareware which was free to copy and play.  Back in this pre-Web era, I was a system operator (sysop) running a modem-based bulletin board system (BBS).  Doom was the most popular shareware downloaded by my users because people loved that they could now play a 3D graphics first-person shooter on their desktop personal computers.

In my spare time, I was writing the code for a BBS from scratch with the goal of providing a platform that would support multiple players in the same online game at the same time.  I gave that up when I saw that the authors of Doom had it figured out.  I remember the novelty of playing Doom with co-workers on the office network at a company-sanctioned LAN party.

My whole family has enjoyed playing the various iterations of Doom over the years.  Recently one of my children was playing an older version of Doom running on Steam.  When he got stuck on one of the levels, I was able to help him progress by using my knowledge from playing that particular release of the game some two decades earlier.

Doom was created here where I live in the Dallas area and is probably largely responsible for the growth of the local game development industry.  Just before I took over teaching the class for a couple of semesters, one of the Doom founders, John Romero, used to teach game development at the University of Texas at Dallas.  Another Doom founder, John Carmack, launched a space flight company in the neighborhood.

One of the nice things about getting older is that the video games just keep getting better.  The next time I play Doom, I want to play it in virtual reality.  In the meantime, I think I will content myself with re-watching Doom the movie.