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Masters of Doom: How Two Guys Created an…

Masters of Doom: How Two Guys Created an Empire and Transformed Pop… (2003)

by David Kushner

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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This review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot.wordpress.leafmarks.tumblr.com by express permission of this reviewer. Title: Masters of Doom Series: ----- Author: David Kushner Rating: 3 of 5 Stars Genre: Biography Pages: 301 Synopsis: A Quick and Dirty Biography of John Romero and John Carmack, the Co-Creators of ID Software, which gave us Doom and Quake. My Thoughts: Overall, I'd say this was a pretty lackluster book. Serious issues were quickly gone over, motivations and thoughts barely sketched out, no footnotes, quotes or anything of substance. However, it brought such a dose of Nostalgia that I practically felt like a kid again! I remember my first computer, a dx2-66, on which I ran DOS 6.22 [not that nasty ol' 6.20 mind you!] and was the envy of my friends because I'd saved up and bought a cd-rom 4x. Oh man, I was blazing. I didn't really play Doom, but was introduced to Doom II: Hell on Earth. It was fantastic. It was everything my young self craved. Guns. Violence against a legitimate target. Being a bad ass hero. Double barreled shotgun. Puzzle solving along aside adrenalin inducing action. Then Heretic and Hexxen came out, based on Doom's graphic engine. Medieval Doom with bows and arrows, magic arcane items, more intricate puzzles. And Hexxen with its multi-hub puzzles. It was all awesome. Then Quake. I remember Quake so well because it required a Pentium 75 and my neighbor had just gotten one and there was no way I was going to be able to afford one for quite some time. And this book brought back all those memories and feelings. And that is why this was rated so high. The book itself was about two raging egomaniacs with different strengths who wouldn't and couldn't work together or with others. Because of that, they made and lost great people, companies and games. Kushner tries to end on a happy note, but you know it won't last because nothing has changed in the John's lives except their current circumstances. " ( )
  BookstoogeLT | Dec 10, 2016 |
Loved it, loved it, loved it. Maybe it's because these are the games I grew up with. This is the story of how John Romero and John Carmack got together and defined a decade of PC gaming. The rise and fall of the first person shooter. And there's nothing better than reading behind the scenes of something you grew up with and played over and over. Finding out about their methods, their personalities -- the conflicts between employees, where the ideas came from, and how the little guy gained success in the world.

This is a nonfiction must read for any nineties kid, computer gamer, or new past historian. Forget all those Steve Jobs biopics -- this is the movie they should make. There's enough plot twists and colorful characters to make it like a zippy version of Spotlight. The narrative crackles with true facts and incentivizes with cliffhangers and drama. You may not like what you see, but it's impossible not to be drawn in. ( )
  theWallflower | Sep 12, 2016 |
I love a good success story, and that's what this book is about. Also, I grew up during the time period involved, and my first few jobs out of college involved working as an artist and animator on the games that followed in their wake. I really enjoyed the behind-the-scenes stories of how John Carmack pioneered the tech I use daily in my career. ( )
  Abby_Goldsmith | Feb 10, 2016 |
A fun, fast paced, hard-to-put-down read that does a great job of telling the story of John Carmack, John Romero, and the groundbreaking games they created (Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, Quake). By the time I was done, I had a massive desire to a) play games, b) play old school games like quake, and c) spend all night coding and eating pizza.

My favorite quote from the book:

Video games don't let people really live their dreams. They let gamers live a developer's simulation of a dream. The action is digital. It's confined to a computer or television or a handheld device. Players experience it thought their eyes, ears, and fingertips. But when they're done careening down the Daytona Speedway or storming an interstellar military base, they feel as if they've really been somewhere, as if they've momentarily transcended their sac of fat and bones, their office politics, their mounting bills. Games let them escape, learn, recharge. Games are necessary. ( )
  brikis98 | Nov 11, 2015 |
Like many thousands of others in the early 90s, I grew up playing games such as Wolfenstein 3D and Doom. 100s of hours invested and even today I can easily boot up Doom and play for hours. This book brought to life what happened behind the scenes and the mentality of the people that were crucial to video games of this era. I really enjoyed the book and having grown up hearing about the contrasting personalities of the 2 John's I was eager to read about this in the book. Very glad I read this book and would recommend to others who also lived and breathed Doom and the other video games of the early 90s. ( )
  briandarvell | Jun 15, 2015 |
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
David Kushnerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Wheaton, WilNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0812972155, Paperback)

Doom, the video game in which you navigate a dungeon in the first person and messily lay waste to everything that crosses your path, represented a milestone in many areas. It was a technical landmark, in that its graphics engine delivered brilliant performance on ordinary PC hardware. It was a social phenomenon, with individuals and companies hooking up networks specifically for Doom tournaments and staying up for days to blast away on them (well before the Internet went big-time). The game's publisher, id Software, used an unusual shareware marketing strategy (give away the first levels, charge for the more advanced ones) that worked very well. On top of it all, the gore-filled game raised serious questions about decency in products meant for use by school-age kids. Masters of Doom explores the Doom phenomenon, as well as the lives and personalities of the two men behind it: John Carmack and John Romero.

This book manages, for the most part, to keep clear of the breathless techno-hagiography style that characterizes many books with similar subjects. He tells the story of Carmack, Romero, and id--which includes far more than Doom and its successors--in novel style, and he's done a good job of keeping the action flowing and the characters' motivations clear. Some of the quoted passages of dialog sound like idealized reconstructions that probably never came from the lips of real people, but this is an entertaining and informative book, of interest to anyone who's let rip with a nail gun. --David Wall

Topics covered: The biographies of John Carmack and John Romero, and of their company, id Software. The development and marketing of all major id games (including Wolfenstein, Doom, Doom II, and Quake) get lavish attention.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:39 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Tells the rags to riches story of John Carmack and John Romero, creators of the Doom and Quake video games, describing the development of the game programs, and discussing the controversy that arose over the popularity of the violent game action.

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