Science and Tech


Groundbreaking First-Person Shooter Game 'Doom' Turns 20

Created by id Software, the game provided the first-person view of an anonymous space marine sent to Mars to fight monsters straight from hell.
Posted at 10:43 PM, Dec 10, 2013

It was one of the most influencial first-person shooter games of all-time and Tuesday it turned 20-years-old.

If you’ve never been a gamer, you may not know what we’re talking about. But if you ever were, you’ve likely guessed we’re talking about Doom — one of the most well-known shoot-‘em-up games in gaming history. (Via YouTube / CuteFloor PC Classics

Created by id Software, the game provided the first-person view of an anonymous space marine sent to Mars to fight monsters straight from the pits of hell. (Via id Software

And he did so with an array of demon-destroying weapons — like several different guns, brass knuckles, his bare hands, and occasionally a chainsaw. (Via The Spriters Resource)

When it hit the market in 1993 it was immediately a lightning rod for controversy — just ask The Telegraph: "Depending on whom you’re asking, [Doom] is either the most influential gaming title of all time, or a devil-worshipping ‘mass murder simulator’ that led to real life slaughter.”

Thanks to that sort of buzz, Doom was a mega-hit and a cash cow for it’s creators. As NBC reports, “The company was raking in $100,000 per day from $9 shareware purchases — and the free first episode was installed on millions of computers.”

So what was behind the success? Well, Stuff says it’s an interesting recipe.

“It had excellent graphics for the period; huge, open levels rather than pokey corridors; a reasonably coherent plot-line; and a staggering amount of blood, guns, violence and both sci-fi and Satanic imagery.”

That success led to a whole host of spin-off products, including two more games, novels, comic books, and a slew of imitators. (Via

Some even say modern games like "Call of Duty" and "Gears of War" were inspired by the two-decade old hit. (Via Activision)

It was also made into a feature film starring The Rock in 2005, but that didn’t get the best reviews. (Via Universal Pictures / 'Doom', Rotten Tomatoes

Along with all that success though, the game’s pixelated-gore did face some controversy. Like blame for at least one high-profile shooting.

Many pointed an accusatory finger at the game after it came out during the investigation that Columbine shooters Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris were Doom players. (Via The New York Times, BBC)

Controversy aside though, the game made a big name for itself at a time when home computers were just a burgeoning market.

For perspective, The Economist points out, "Doom required an Intel 386 processor with 4MB of RAM, which is to say about the same amount of memory as is taken up by a handful of images from a modern high-end mobile-phone camera.” 

With all it’s imitators, and as far as we’ve come in the world of video games, there are those who think very few games since Doom stack up.

As Time writes, "The kind of shooter that Doom was doesn’t exist anymore. It can’t. That’s why, 20 years later, we can still marvel over Doom without merely being nostalgic."