DOOM, the OG First-Person Shooter

Doom (id Software 1993) is a horror-themed first-person shooter that was released as shareware in December 1993. Although it was released as shareware and many people did not purchase the registered version, the game has sold several million copies. Upon release it was abundantly clear that Doom would go down as one of the most influential video games of all time, and is heavily known for being the pioneer game in the massively popular first-person shooter genre.

Doom was praised for its ability to create a chilling atmosphere and its detailed design, resulting in both comprehensive and customizable levels that added an extra element to the game that previous shooters didn’t offer. Doom’s gameplay also set it apart from its predecessors by managing to be fairly simple, yet not monotonous at all. Many secret pathways, levels and power-ups, as well as a wide arsenal of weaponry, keeps the gameplay fresh throughout an otherwise basic “narrative” and uncomplicated controls. There was also a smaller, but not insignificant, multiplayer setting that would set the precedent for many of the more recent, super-popular, multiplayer and online shooters.

            Doom’s legacy speaks for itself, but really cannot be understated. With the massive success of the Call of Duty and Halo franchises (to name a few), the sheer popularity of first-person shooters today is through the roof. Immediately, however, Doom sparked an onslaught of what became known as “Doom clones,” which were just other first-person shooters (no matter how good or bad) that came out in the 90’s. This is what truly ignited the first-person shooter genre boost. From Doom’s release until now, these types of games are absolutely everywhere.

But beyond that, the innovation and courage involved in making a game like Doom is often overlooked. Creating a game in which you essentially place a gun in the player’s hand and order him to shoot other beings is both inherently risky and incredibly revolutionary. Add on the utter explicitness of the violence and you’re playing with fire.

In fact, this did spark major controversy for Doom. The game was met with a large amount of criticism for this graphic violence and was even declared by some as a “mass murder simulator”. Many religious groups also heavily criticized its satanic themes. Doom reached its peak of controversy after it came out that the Columbine High School shooters were passionate players of the game, causing many to fear that first-person shooters like Doom would spark players to want to emulate the game in real life. Especially with the growth of virtual reality on the horizon, this panic only heightened.

Despite this controversy, Doom is still viewed as one of the most important and influential games of all time. I believe that the appreciation for this game is only going to grow as first-person shooters continue to innovate. Essentially, what Doom did was create one of the biggest video game genre markets today, and that alone is an incredible achievement. When you add in the fact that this game completely shook up not only the gaming world, but also the real world as much as it did, you end up with a truly legendary game that will transcend time.

Works Cited:

“Doom (1993 video game).” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 26 Feb. 2017.

idSoftware 1993, Doom, video game, MS-DOS, GT Interactive.

Lindsey, Patrick. “20 Years of Doom: The Most Influential Shooter Ever.” N.p., 10 Dec. 2013. Web. 26 Feb. 2017.


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