Happy 20th, DOOM! (Updated)

Update: For retrospective pieces on DOOM, be sure to visit Games RadarPolygon, Wired, IGN, Eurogamer, and The Verge.

Hard to believe, but today marks the 20th anniversary of DOOM’s original PC release. To help celebrate, we’re sharing some of our favorite DOOM community creations, DOOM memories from the team at id Software, and for one day only, you can purchase a commemorative anniversary t-shirt on the Official Bethesda Store.

Want to share your memories? Post in the comments below or include #DOOMemories on Twitter.

Tim Willits — “DOOM is the sole reason I am in the video game industry. I remember downloading the game, without knowing much about it, playing it, and then having the game consume most of my life for two years — until id Software hired me!

For me, the greatest thing about DOOM was the ability to create and play my own levels. The limitless possibilities of what I could do in the game fascinated me so much that the entire direction of my life changed. I knew, after creating my first DOOM level, that the only thing I wanted to do in my life was make video games. And to this day, I still feel very blessed and a little amazed that I work at id Software and that I have had the chance to shape the DOOM franchise.

Morgan Wilson — “When your birthday is right before Christmas, parents have a way of splitting up big gifts into multiple parts as a way to save cash. In 1993, this little scheme would catalyze the longest two weeks that this twelve-year-old could have  ever imagined.  My awesome birthday gift? DOOM. The Christmas gift that came two excruciating weeks later? The extra 2MB of RAM we needed to play the game. When considering how those gifts affected the next twenty years of my life, I’d say it was worth the wait.  Happy Birthday, DOOM!

Sean Bean — My first memory of DOOM was mucking with autoexec.bat VM settings so my friends and I could even run it. After that, it was all LPT1 ports, caffeine, and sailor talk!

Davis Scherer — “I remember when my dad first got DOOM I would watch him play and when he went to work and I would play when I got home from school. Before he got home I would save my game and stop playing so I wouldn’t get in trouble, being six at the time I didn’t think he would approve. One night I was watching him play and I let it slip ‘No dad the red key card is over there’. The look on his face was priceless as I thought I was in big trouble, but he smiled and said ‘I guess you’ve been playing huh, that explains these weird save games’. ”

Garret Young — “1995.  I was an intern at Shapeware (company that makes Visio). Another intern and I stayed late to play DOOM II one night, and ended up playing all night.  A senior programmer walks by at 7am the next day and teases us for coming in early to play. I guess he didn’t notice the 15 Diet Cokes sitting next to my monitor.”

Shale Williams — “I was only SIX when I played DOOM for the first time. Today, I’m lucky enough to be working with the talented developers at id Software. Dream come true!”

Brett Paton — “I remember the day DOOM came out vividly because it was one day before my birthday in 1993. I couldn’t download it in my dorm room so I rushed to one of the university’s computer labs, got on some bbs and downloaded the free, yes free, shareware episode one to a few 3.5″ floppy discs.  How could something this glorious be possible?  Needless to say I was blow away when I got back to the dorm and booted it up on my 486dx with 8 megs of ram.”

Steve Rescoe — “Lots of hours playing co-op with my brother over a modem plugged into my house phone line. Most exciting memory is when I found out that it was possible to make my own monsters and maps for the game. Still my favorite hobby…”

Andy Chang — “I remember the DOOM shareware release hitting the University of Illinois computer labs at a time when a lot of students needed computer terminals to finish their midterm papers. It didn’t take long for the game files to go the early 90’s version of “viral” via floppy disks. By the end of the week, you could see impromptu signs being displayed in the labs: “NO DOOM.” Almost every one of my friends asked their parents for new computers that Christmas. How else were they going to … um… write midterm papers?”

Jonathan Wright — “I was in college and my friend and I had seen DOOM in PC Gamer (when it was still supposed to be space marines vs. aliens).  I still remember the screenshot of the low-resolution, rasterized playing card  left on the table when the “aliens” invaded. Being big Wolf 3D fans we were stoked to play DOOM and when it was released, I was on the ftp site waiting for it at 12:00 am. From there, I played DOOM every day for about 3 years. My roommates never figured out that I would carefully control the connection order to ensure I always ended up as the dark gray player. Eventually I ended with racking up some ridiculous long distance phone bills deathmatching on the Dwango service. Little did I know I had started myself on a path where I would end up working for the company that made the games I was playing.”

Chad Eanes — “I remember playing DOOM back when it came out. It was incredible to me because it was the first game I played that really gave me a sense of dread. The market was flooded with bright and colorful platformers at the time and there was simply nothing like it. Hearing enemies lurking around, hoping you’re heading toward the exit as you inch forward on your last couple of hit points… I remember teleporting into darkness and getting torn apart at the end of episode 1. I was shocked and shouted, ‘You can’t kill the hero like that!!'”

Grant Shonkwiler — “The first time I played Doom, I was at a family friend’s house for a yard sale, their son came and grabbed me and told me I had to check out this game. We loaded up DOOM and I was blown away. I had never seen or played anything like it, we played it for about an hour until one of my parents found us…and encouraged me to not play anymore.”

Kenneth Gower — “The first time I played DOOM was in December, 1993 with my dad. We would take turns playing, switching every time one of us died. It was so much fun, and unlike anything else we had played before. Playing DOOM with my dad is still one of my favorite memories.”

Jeff Senita — “I remember seeing DOOM for the first time on a computer in a dark little room at my friend’s house.  The next time I got to play it – it was on my Sega Genesis 32X.  I always played it with the lights off and the sound cranked up!  I can still recall hearing the sound of those pinky demons rumbling through the space station walls on Mars…followed by the boom of my shotgun!  One of my favorite games ever.”

Travis Bradshaw — “Not long after that initial experience, checking on BBS message boards, we learned that you could allegedly play multiplayer DOOM over a dialup connection.  Convinced it couldn’t be real, I hauled my 486sx 25 over to my neighbor’s house (it took three trips), he pulled out a null modem cable, and we set up our computers back to back in his unfinished basement.  After entering the appropriate AT commands to connect via the cable, we started the game.  It was a coop match, we hadn’t yet even conceived of anything else, and made it through almost an hour of play before everything changed.  We were making our way through a green slime filled, zigzagging hallway, when–out of complete now where and with no prompting–he unloaded his shotgun into my back at point blank.

My marine died.  I looked over my chunky 14” monitor at my neighbor friend and asked, “Whoa, what was that? Did you just shoot me?!”

“Yeah man, I just wanted to see what it would do.”

I smiled.  “Oh.  It’s on now.” 🙂

Reader Comments

  1. 1. To begin with, can we really believe it has been so long? (Short answer: Yes.)

    I’m just in the middle of a quick and casual playthrough of a small part of (Ultimate) Doom for the original Playstation console again.

    2. Secondly, well, I admit it may seem off-topic (Hint: It is), but it may still be good to mention this anyway. Can anybody around here give a little help to an id veteran (if not more) in regards to the following recent revelation?


    Many thanks for giving the chance to play the various games of Doom (that is, officially released titles), along with the possibility to try out a ton of modifications (and still growing)!

  2. I was damn near 50 when it came out. First heard about it when I spotted it on a BBS. Tried it and loved it. Played a lot of modem coop with a buddy who always seemed to walk in front of my shotgun. He never figured it out either. 😀

    What I remember more than anything is how antsy I was waiting for Doom 2. That was the most revved up I got waiting for any game, before or since.

  3. I had the poster and box set. I think it was 5 floppies. 1995. I wish I still had them. Doom was the start of it all for me. So cool! ID rules!

  4. Wolfenstein 3D is the first FPS that got me interested in the genre, but it was Doom that really got me hooked. After making many Wads and a Doom 3 project under way, I’m still enjoying this game just as I did back in 1994. Happy birthday, Doom!

  5. I played Doom when it first came out. I was so good at it, my dad bought a vanity trophy that said I was the 1994 champion Doom player. I was 7 years old. It was the first game I had a modification for, which was a replacement graphic for the Baron of Hell that turned them into Barney the Dinosaur instead. It was the first game I made a mod for, which was a really crappy two sector level.

    I still play it. It’s probably the game I’ve logged the most hours in. Skyrim doesn’t come close, and I’ve put nearly 1500 hours in Skyrim since it was released. I put over 2000 hours in Oblivion. But none of those come close to Doom. How can such a relatively simple game get so much playtime? Because of the community. My favorite megawad is Alien Vendetta. That map set I play through at least once a month. I know every nook and cranny of every map. I like Hell Revealed, Scythe, Deus Vult, community chests, KDiZD, Requiem, Phocas and countless others.

  6. Memories of the developers? i see only Tim Willits… bah!

    There is no Romero, Carmack, Todd, Adrian… no DOOM!

    id is already dead! inside Bethesda belly.

  7. Not only was Doom incredible shareware, but many folks are unaware that it introduced MODs to the gaming community! MOD creation is still booming, so thanks id, and congratulations on the 20th Anniversary.

    BTW, a shout out and recognition is certainly due to the incomparable, invaluable Romero, Carmack, Todd, Adrian!

    Whatever may have transpired since, they certainly deserve acknowledgement! Hope to see an edited 20th Anniversary post or official supplement!

    Without the whole original id and DOOM team there would be no DOOM, no huge and continuing fan base!

    Still an id and Doom fan,

    John aka Aulkjohn