Outside of guiding a small Italian plumber from left to right, stomping on enemies along the way, few games have left more of an impact on the entire video game medium as much as “Doom.”
What Mario did for 2D game design, “Doom” did for first-person: without “Doom,” there may never have been blockbusters like “Halo” and “Call of Duty,” to say nothing of the dozens of other wildly popular first-person games. There were next to no games made previous to “Doom” with first-person in mind, and it made you — the player — the character in the game. Instead of controlling Mario or Link or Guybrush Threepwood, you were the marine stuck in some form of Hell on Earth.
Also like the influence of Mario, “Doom” was far more than just what it appeared to be.
Yes, you’re shooting demons from a first-person perspective, but it also showcased the importance of level design in first-person. There was no straight line from point-to-point with video exposition in between (“cutscenes”) — the very first level in “Doom” is a notorious horseshoe, encouraging exploration over immediate gratification.
Perhaps more importantly, it was many players’ first experience with multiplayer. “Doom” — for better or worse — is credited with creating and popularising the concept of “deathmatch.” Despite being released in 1993, “deathmatch” is still the most popular multiplayer mode in first-person shooters: a mode where players fight to the death for the most kills in a given period of time. “Deathmatch” is a standard at this point, and one of many that “Doom” helped set in stone.
When “Doom” wasn’t influencing the future of games by setting good examples, it was influencing future generations of game designers by encouraging the modification of its code. Players could take the game they bought and “mod” (modify) it to their heart’s desires.
Not only did mods encourage players to be creative (and, eventually, spurred some of those young players to become game developers themselves), but it set yet another precedent in the world of PC-based games: mods quickly became a standard in PC gaming that stands to this day. If your game doesn’t ship with mod support on PC, players are quick to ask why not, and it’s largely “Doom” to blame for that expectation.
In spring 2016, the company that created the original “Doom” — id Software — will publish the next entry in the series. Like the original, the new iteration is simply named “Doom.” It’s the fourth entry in the franchise, and the first new “Doom” game in over a decade. Thematically, it remains as gruesome as ever. Here’s a look at the disgustingly gorgeous new “Doom”:
In anticipation of the game’s forthcoming release, Business Insider spoke with the new game’s executive producer Marty Stratton for some insight into what makes the “Doom” franchise such an influential one across the past 20 years of video games.
As a bonus, here’s a ridiculous GIF of Microsoft founder Bill Gates superimposed inside the original “Doom,” from an internal company announcement back in 1995 when the game was at the height of its popularity:
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