Doom isn’t a Top Five video game. It’s not even a Top Ten video game. It’s the only video game.
If you don’t know about Doom, it basically invented what’s called the First Person Shooter. It was devised by Id Software, which was run by two programmers, John Carmack and John Romero, a game designer named Tom Hall, and an artist named Adrian Carmack. In keeping with the strange vibe the whole proceedings have, Adrian and John are not related.
It was the early nineties. We were all dreaming of the day when we could join AOL or Compuserve to start our day with a blast of modem noise, and then read the entire Internet in an hour and a half — if you read slow. That’s why Doom seemed so amazing. Doom was the first video game I ever saw that you could play on your computer. Get out of here with solitaire and Minesweeper and you have died of dysentery and all that. Doom was a real, live game.
A work colleague gave me a floppy disk with Doom on it back in the day. The program wouldn’t run in Windows. You had to boot the computer from the disk and play it in MS-DOS. It did something nothing else let you do. It let you wander through a fairly believable representation of three-dimensional space. It made Donkey Kong look like, well, like Donkey Kong.
I’ve taken Doom all apart and modded it back in the day. My son takes it apart and mods it even further now. I testify to you that Doom’s method of projecting textures on surfaces using perspective, all of which change believably as you move past them, was as brilliant as when Brunelleschi developed linear perspective in art during the Renaissance.
Of course, Brunelleschi never let me shoot anyone. Advantage: Doom