- Paperback: 368 pages
- Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks; Reprint edition (May 11, 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780812972153
- ISBN-13: 978-0812972153
- ASIN: 0812972155
- Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.7 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 314 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #67,535 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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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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"To my taste, the greatest American myth of cosmogenesis features the maladjusted, antisocial, genius teenage boy who, in the insular laboratory of his own bedroom, invents the universe from scratch. Masters of Doom is a particularly inspired rendition. Dave Kushner chronicles the saga of video game virtuosi Carmack and Romero with terrific brio. This is a page-turning, mythopoeic cyber-soap opera about two glamorous geek geniuses - and it should be read while scarfing down pepperoni pizza and swilling Diet Coke, with Queens of the Stone Age cranked up all the way."
—Mark Leyner, author of I Smell Esther Williams
"Masters of Doom is an excellent archetypal tale of hard work and genius being corrupted by fame too young and fortune too fast. I rooted for these guys, was inspired by them, then was disturbed by them, and was fascinated from beginning to end."
—Po Bronson, author of The Nudist on the Late Shift
"Like Hackers, David Kushner's Masters of Doom paints a fascinating portrait of visionary coders transforming a previously marginal hobby into a kind of 21st-century art form -- and enraging an entire generation of parents along the way. Kushner tells the story with intelligence and a great sense of pacing. Masters of Doom is as riveting as the games themselves."
—Steven Johnson, author of Emergence
"Masters of Doom tells the compelling story of the decade-long showdown between gaming's own real-life dynamic duo, played high above the corridors of Doom in the meta-game of industry and innovation. With the narrative passion of a true aficionado, Kushner reminds us that the Internet was not created to manage stock portfolios but to serve as the ultimate networked entertainment platform. It's all just a game."
—Douglas Rushkoff, author of Coercion, Ecstasy Club, and Nothing Sacred
"Are you brainy? Gifted? Deeply alienated? Ever wanted to be a multimillionaire who transformed a major industry? Then Masters of Doom is the book for you!"
—Bruce Sterling, author of Tomorrow Now
“Kushner’s mesmerizing tale of the Two Johns moves at a rapid clip . . . describing the twists and turns of fate that led them to team up in creating the most powerful video games of their generation. . . . An exciting combination of biography and technology.”
“Meticulously researched . . . as a ticktock of the creative process and as insight into a powerful medium too often dismissed as kids’ stuff, Masters of Doom blasts its way to a high score.”
“[An] extraordinary journey . . . an exhilarating time capsule of a moment in time where anything could happen—and often did. Kushner’s take on this geek uprising is like a breakneck-paced comic book that you can’t put down.”
“Kushner’s portrait of Carmack is lustrous and gripping. . . . An impressive and adroit social history.”
—The New York Times Book Review
“Terrifically told . . . The storytelling is so fluid, so addictive, that your twitching thumbs keep working the pages.”
—The Washington Post Book World
From the Inside Flap
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 produce the most notoriously successful game franchises in historyDoom and Quake until the games they made tore them apart. This is a story of friendship and betrayal, commerce and artistrya powerful and compassionate account of what it's like to be young, driven, and wildly creative.
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Overall highly recommended, excellent book, stayed up all night reading it.
I'm really impressed on how things turn out for the guys that created DOOM. They were successful in tech and gaming but they weren't able to handle so much in so little time. None of the Johns were able to see that they needed each other.
I think the book is summarized by a great analogy presented by the author: Carmack was the guitar maker and Romero was the musician that could get the best songs out of them.
I really recommend buying this book, it gets interesting from the beginning and it grips you until the end. I even read the index hoping there would be more stories post 2003.
Long and well-researched account of an important part of the history of the subculture of violent and high tech video games and their creators, their lives, failures and technological adventures. I really enjoyed this reading and I recommend it not only for those who lived part of this recent history but for everyone who want to learn about this important subculture.
So given that I'm rather disgusted with the fact that every other game is a brainless FPS these days, why on earth would I be interested in "Masters of Doom," a book that chronicles the early days of the genre? Easy. I actually like the shooters born out of id's developments during the early 90's. Sad as it is, I could probably go on and on about why Doom is one of the greatest games ever created and just how ingenious its level design really is. Crazier still is the fact I didn't really "grow up" with Doom like others did but I can definitely appreciate everything the game offers - even today.
Still, as eager I was to learn more about my favorite first person shooter, the section of the book on Doom - as good as it is - can't really hold a candle to the passages concerning Quake's development. It was at this point where I literally refused to put the book down and thankfully that happened when I had a day off of work. Just as alluring and maybe even better is the troubled development of Daikatana were you can feel the desperation of the IonStorm employees as you read. As a gamer you may not want to play John Romero's Daikatana but reading about it's history is as interesting as you can get.
The games it centers on aside, I can't recommend "Masters of Doom" enough. There are a few sections I wish were fleshed out a little more - personally I wanted to read more about composer Bobby/Robert Prince than what's in here because his music for Doom is just that good - but then he's described more as a freelancer more than a real part of id so it's understandable. But really, people can have their Call of Duty and Halo but this is the real story of the first person shooter and the only part of it's history I'll ever care about. Still, my preferences aside, do yourself a humongous favor and give this a read - it can easily hold your interest even if your not into the games themselves.