Celebrating 30 Years of DOOM: A Journey into Hell and Beyond

by Matthew Wrightson

In the world of video games, there are titles that come and go, leaving a lasting impact that reshapes the industry. DOOM is one such game, and in December 2023, we celebrate its 30th anniversary. Developed by id Software and first released in 1993, DOOM revolutionized the first-person shooter genre and became a cultural icon. As we mark three decades of demon-slaying action, let's take a journey through the history of DOOM and the impact it has had on the gaming world.

The Birth of DOOM

DOOM's inception can be traced back to John Carmack, John Romero, and their team at id Software. The game's development began in 1992, and it was released on December 10, 1993. The game's creators pushed the boundaries of technology then, utilising innovative graphics and a 3D game engine. DOOM's engine, known as the Doom Engine, allowed for a level of immersion and interactivity never before seen in video games.

The game's plot was straightforward but effective: you played as a space marine, known as Doom Slayer, battling hordes of demons unleashed on the Mars moon base and eventually descending into the depths of Hell. The game was a fast-paced, adrenaline-pumping experience focused on action and precision shooting. DOOM popularised the term "first-person shooter" and laid the foundation for the genre's future.

One of the key aspects that set DOOM apart was its pioneering approach to multiplayer gaming. DOOM featured cooperative and competitive multiplayer modes, setting the stage for the online gaming culture we know today. Gamers could connect their computers using a local area network (LAN) or dial-up modems, engaging in intense deathmatches and cooperative missions.

Another enduring legacy of DOOM is its modding community. DOOM was one of the first games that allowed players to create custom content, including levels, enemies, and even entirely new games. This support for modding led to the creation of countless user-generated levels and total conversions, some of which became iconic in their own right.

Following the success of the original DOOM, id Software released several sequels and spin-offs, including DOOM II: Hell on Earth (1994) and DOOM 3 (2004). Each entry brought new features, improvements, and challenges for players. DOOM 2016, a reboot of the series, received widespread acclaim for its fast-paced gameplay and brought the franchise back to the forefront of the gaming world.

DOOM (2016) was followed by DOOM Eternal in 2020, which continued the tradition of high-speed demon-slaying action while adding more complex level designs, intricate lore, and an even more immersive experience.

Cultural Impact

Beyond the gaming world, DOOM had a significant impact on popular culture. Its influence can be seen in music, film, and even the tech industry. The game's pounding soundtrack, composed by Bobby Prince, is legendary and has inspired countless musicians. DOOM's imagery and themes have appeared in movies, books, and even political discourse, referencing the game's "Hell on Earth."

DOOM's influence extends to the tech industry as well. Many software developers and programmers in the 90s cut their teeth on modding DOOM, learning essential coding and level design skills that would shape their careers.

DOOM's 30th anniversary is a celebration of a game that transformed the gaming landscape and left an indelible mark on our culture. From its ground-breaking technology to its innovative multiplayer and modding community, DOOM has influenced generations of gamers and creators. As we look back on the last three decades, it's clear that the legacy of DOOM is as alive and as intense as ever. Here's to another 30 years of demon-slaying and hell-raising action!