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Masters of Doom: How Two Guys Created an Empire and Transformed Pop Culture Paperback – May 11, 2004
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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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
More About the Author
A contributing editor of Rolling Stone, Kushner has written for publications including The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Wired, New York Times Magazine, New York, GQ, and Details. He served as the digital culture commentator for National Public Radio Weekend Edition Sunday. He has been included in The Best American Crime Reporting and The Best Music Writing, and taught as an adjunct professor of journalism at New York University.
For articles and info, visit his website www.davidkushner.com.
Top Customer Reviews
This is a fascinating account of perhaps the most intriguing story in the world of computer gaming: the story of id Software's rise to prominence through the development of Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, and Quake, as well as the highly publicized split between the two men most responsible for these blockbusters, the two Johns: John Carmack and John Romero.
The book is not only an entertaining blow-by-blow account of the events that transpired in this story, but is also a cunningly crafted and penetrating look inside the psyche and personality of two fascinating human beings, and the wild initial success of colloboration followed by the bitter conflict bred by the polar forces that drove them. As such, its appeal transcends that of the video gaming community; it is a marvelous case study in sociology as well as a chronicle of the creation of computer games.
Masters of Doom is ultimately a "rise and fall" tale, in a sense. id Software, John Carmack, and John Romero will likely never reach the heights they achieved in the glory days following the release of Doom, but it is arguable that no single company or individual developer will ever do so again either.
The book is uncompromising in its account of the conflicts, and assesses blame only through the eyes of the people involved, without sounding preachy. Kushner assumes a neutral role and presents a remarkably balanced portrayal of the events, siding with neither Romero nor Carmack on the critical issues, leaving the reader with the accurate perception that both were right in their own way.Read more ›
Their many fans call them "The Two Johns," John Carmack and John Romero. They were both products of broken homes, and of the years when video games were enjoyed in arcades only. Both of them were better at playing video games and writing programs than they were at making grades or making friends. They came up with real innovations, now taken for granted, like side scrolling for the PC or rooms with skewed walls. All were steps to make the games look better, of course, but the overall effect was to make them more involving, increasing the illusion that "You are not just playing the game, you're inhabiting it." They also increased the blood; monsters or bad guys that were killed did not simply vanish when brought into the sights and fired upon. These were not the only innovations; Doom, released in 1993, featured the "Deathmatch" in which players could play together or against each other.Read more ›
This is a fascinating book on many fronts. It describes how two kids got into games from the early childhoods, describes their fascination with computers in general, and their dreams. It goes from a tale of two kids with ideas, to their technological innovations, to business start, to their monumental growth, and finally to their fallout. It sheds light not only independent game programming, but of the type of people who develop and play these first person shooters like Doom.
Not only is this a biography, or a game book, it's also sort of the "startup.com" of the gaming world. With a good mixture of business, gaming, with unique and individual characters, it indirectly describes the world of gaming companies and what it takes to make a good, and bad, company.
While a good book for all, it's a must for anyone who loves games or is into software development.
The story is perfectly readable for a "non-fan", and I'd bet a game-hating girlfriend or wife would enjoy this book and maybe even feel a connection. The game developers at "id" were like snotty kids who created a huge fad, only to discover they had talent and the fad wasn't going away. John Carmack was the brains and John Romero the heart, an incredible partnership of opposites that created (or at least cemented) an new form of entertainment, only to break up at the height of their success. Like the Beatles, fans have argued who had the greatest impact, but in truth the magic was lost and never really regained.
By now their story has been ground into the dirt by the gaming press. At the time, the events seemed very one-dimensional with clear losers (first Carmack, then Romero), but author Kushner points out enough obvious contributions that I was reminded of the greatness of the partnership, not their egos. Hardcore fans will find all kinds of "So THAT's what happened" moments, lots of cameos and observations from famous id employees, and the all important history of the "Two Johns" after their break-up. The story of Ion Storm is included but too brief to feel authentic (ion deserves it's own book) and Kushner follows the conflicts within id after Romero left.
I don't have enough good things to say. This book isn't perfect, but the subject is so fascinating I couldn't put it down. Buy it, now.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Enjoyable book about id software and the making of Doom, Quake et al.
I found the insight into the personalities involved interesting, especially John Carmack and John Romero.
Great read and interesting to learn about the ups and downs of the two Johns. Starting a game co is hard!Published 15 days ago by vrod-rick
Such a fun book! I rarely read and I finished this thing in just over a week. Simply could not put it down for very long. Read morePublished 18 days ago by M. Mains
A well done book, for some reason I was expecting a little more technical writeup and a little less about the personalities, so was a bit sad about that but in hindsight that was... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Connor Wilson
This was a quick read, and I enjoyed most of it. It's an interesting story if you're curious about programming, gaming, or John Carmack. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Nathan S
As a programmer I've always worked with computers, but rarely played on them. This book moves along well and does a good job setting the scenes. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Brian Phillips