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Masters of Doom: How Two Guys Created an…
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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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6181625,059 (4.05)1
Masters of Doom is the amazing true story of the Lennon and McCartney of video games: John Carmack and John Romero. Together, they ruled big business. They transformed popular culture. And they provoked a national controversy. More than anything, they lived a unique and rollicking American Dream, escaping the broken homes of their youth to co-create the most notoriously successful game franchises in history-Doom and Quake-until the games they made tore them apart. Americans spend more money on video games than on movie tickets. Masters of Doom is the first book to chronicle this industry's greatest story, written by one of the medium's leading observers. David Kushner takes readers inside the rags-to-riches adventure of two rebellious entrepreneurs who came of age to shape a generation. The vivid portrait reveals why their games are so violent and why their immersion in their brilliantly designed fantasy worlds offered them solace. And it shows how they channeled their fury and imagination into products that are a formative influence on our culture, from MTV to the Internet to Columbine. This is a story of friendship and betrayal, commerce and artistry - a powerful and compassionate account of what it's like to be young, driven, and wildly creative.… (more)

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Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
Fast, energetic, full of attitude; yet the speed, energy, and 'tude are wholly those of the subjects at hand, John Romero and John Cormack, as they go from nobodies to the biggest rock stars of the PC gaming industry. Kudos to Kushden for writing a compelling, fun book that still feels responsibly done. He doesn't sermonize or extrapolate much. The only nitpicks I have are the occasional repetition of well established facts (why do so many bio books suffer from this?) and the long, dark tail of the Johns' careers. Can't blame the writer for that, but it does suck the fun out somewhat. Overall, one of the best software-story books I've read. ( )
  mrgan | Oct 30, 2017 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
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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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