Holy flying demon skulls, Doom is 25-years-old!
If anything was ever sent from the bowels of Hell to royally screw up my afternoon by reminding me just how incredibly old I have become, it was this nugget of tainted information. They say time goes faster as you get older, but this news must have been wearing god-damned rocket-propelled roller skates!
But it is what it is, I am getting older way quicker than I ever intended, and the Godfather of first-person shooters is old enough to have long moved out, got married and had a few shotgun-wielding kids. But, regardless of how fast time has moved and how far the videogame industry has come, I will always have that magical summer of ’95, when sat in my bedroom, an original PlayStation before me, I popped the Doom disc into the tray, closed it gently, and had my tiny mind utterly blown.
Everyone has a starting point for their favourite genre of game. My personal favourite is the FPS. A genre that has now become a little tired possibly, a genre that has reached a point where fresh additions generally offer a new place to visit whilst wearing the same old clothes. However, when I sat to play Doom back in the nineties, I had never experienced a first-person game before, and it was breathtaking.
I can still remember vividly the unbridled speed, the tension, the music, the legions of demons hellbent on ending my days, and the growing crowd of family members who gathered at my back in quiet awe at this new, exciting breed of game. Minutes became hours and day became night as I sat utterly lost in the madness. My eyes could barely keep up, and I died countless times, yet always dived back into the maelstrom with a beaming grin plastered on my face. This was gaming nectar and I wanted to gorge myself until I might literally burst in a joyous explosion much like the many felled demons on screen had done this day and night.
Doom for me was monumental. It was the game that cemented an early love of how immersive first-person games could be. To be dragged into the action like never before had adrenaline coursing through me, and this early infatuation led me to a lifelong love of the genre.
Yet despite a continued joy at embarking on a new FPS journey, nothing has ever quite lived up to that initial baptism of fire. And demons. Thanks to its ridiculous speed and damned slick controls, Doom has remained in a league of its own for me. To bring previously unknown tension, peppered with moments of sheer panic, and then euphoric relief or bitter defeat to my little screen was a phenomenal achievement. It was almost more than a game, it was an experience. The Doomi Hendrix Experience perhaps?..sorry about that, I got lost in the moment. Quickly moving on.
Depending on when they were born, gamers will experience a different introduction to the various genres on offer. As a gamer cutting his teeth in the eighties I grew up on a diet of simple side-scrollers, platformers, top-down shooters, and text-based adventures, where the world was 2D and the pace was relatively gentle. Then came Doom. Rather than knocking on the door and waiting to be welcomed, it kicked it to pieces and hit my life like a tornado of true gaming magnificence.
And looking back this now brings a little tingle to my spine and a smile to my face. It’s undeniably cool that Doom was my first FPS experience! Many kids today will find their feet on the modern age Call of Duty battlefield, or the Battlefield battlefield for that matter, and although they might look pretty great, and although they have more whistles and bells than Santa’s workshop, and an online population bigger than the legions of Hell could ever hope to spawn, they can never top the downright onslaught of cool that came when Doom started to spin in my original PlayStation. Modern day shooters are Limp Bizkit, Doom was the Sex Pistols.
Over two and a half decades many games have made a lasting impression on my time playing. Some left me with great stories to tell, some left me emotionally drained, others left me exhilarated, but Doom did all this and more. Here was a game that not only delivered an unforgettable experience, it also forged a definite route for my future gaming to follow. It instilled a love for the FPS genre that is still strong today, and it did so in an age when gaming was still in its difficult teenage years and games looked like games. Hats off to you Doom, and to your many demonic minions of the underworld, it was one hell of a ride!