Extra Punctuation

Extra Punctuation
Life After Doom - Video Games' Visionaries

Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw | 9 Sep 2014 12:00
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Tom Hall

Bit of a cheat, this one, because Tom Hall doesn't actually appear on the credits page of Doom. According to Wikipedia, he left Id Software before Doom was released after some kind of dispute related to the amount of gore. I'd assume he was arguing for there to be less gore, but since he then went to Apogee and worked on Rise of the Triad and Duke Nukem 3D, I guess he wasn't completely averse to gore as a concept. Maybe he was arguing that there should have been more gore in Doom and creeped everyone out. Perhaps today he is better known as Sergeant Mk. IV, the guy who does the Brutal Doom mod.

Not really, of course. Hall loops back around into the story of Doom's aftermath by co-founding Ion Storm with John Romero, and his personal baby was the sci-fi action RPG Anachronox. Which, along with Deus Ex, are the main arguments for not tarring all of Ion Storm with the Daikatana brush, because Anachronox was fairly critically acclaimed for its story. I don't know much about it, which is odd, because I remember playing it at some point. I guess that goes to show what kind of lasting impression it created. I do remember it being quite slow to get going, and I was a young spod who couldn't spare much time in between eating a constant supply of Haribos.

John Carmack

You know, everything I read about John Carmack enforces the notion I have that he might be a robot from space. Apparently he was arrested for stealing computers as a kid, and the police psychiatric report said he had 'no empathy for other human beings'. And you know something's wrong if an American policeman is calling you out for inhumanity, arf arf arf.

But John Carmack was the driving force of Id all the way from Catacomb 3D to Rage, and the recurring narrative seemed to be that he was the best possible person to have around if you were making a new graphics engine, but he had trouble with things that require human emotion, like telling an engaging story. There's even a graphics algorithm named after him called Carmack's Reverse. Not quite the same as Michelangelo's David, is it? We see what happens when Carmack doesn't have someone around who can write a good story for him: we get Quake 2, a game on the cutting edge of graphics tech, which could do nothing to stop it being achingly dull.

You know, for all the people that came off it and became names, it's interesting that Doom itself is not a name-driven game. It's not John Carmack's Doom, it's not specifically associated with any of the dudes on the list any more than any others. And I think that's what makes it even more interesting. Perhaps committee design isn't always a highway to mediocrity, perhaps, with the right committee, it can produce something engaging, but also universal. As long as the committee's small, and full of weirdos. Ideally making first-person monster shooters. WELL I DON'T KNOW!

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