MORE

Living Nightmares

INSIDE THE GAME OF DOOM

Several reporters have noted that Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were avid players of the video game Doom. Below is one writer's experience with the game -- and a chart ranking it among other first-person shooting games.

DOOM CHANGED EVERYTHING.

Related Links:
  • Assessment of Popular First-Person Shooting Games
  • When id Software released the shareware preview of Doom in 1993, its chief rival was Apogee's first-person action game Wolfenstein 3-D, an addictive but harmless shooter that featured you against a castle full of Nazis. The graphics were good for DOS and the enemies were semi-intelligent, but Wolf 3-D never completely overcame the cuteness endemic to video games of the time.

    Enter Doom. One writer described Doom as being the first game to achieve total immersion of the player. What he meant was, in the right setting: dark room, big screen, good sound; you didn't play Doom so much as you lived it.

    You ducked when you were shot at, you craned your neck to see around corners, and you jumped like hell when a monster came at you from a dark recess. No one had ever seen graphics so detailed in a game before. And the enemies -- demonic nightmares with sounds to match -- made Wolf's toy Nazis look infantile. Doom pushed the hardware limits of PCs and launched the trend of games driving the market for high-end desktop computers . What good's that fancy Voodoo chip if you can't see how many millions of pixels it'll move?

    Doom pushed the limits of other things, too, among them our tolerance, or maybe more accurately, our appetite for violence in games. For many players, Doom probably comes closest to the sensation of firing a real shotgun, hearing the satisfying boom as the spiny imp jerks backward and slides dead across the floor. You can almost feel the recoil and smell the gunpowder as another shell gets pumped into the chamber.

    After I bought the full version of Doom, I spent more hours than I care to admit in front of the monitor. I began having dreams of Doom-like scenarios; even scarier, the dreams were jagged like a video display. With faster processors, blistering graphics and studio-quality sound, the sensory combination will only get more powerful. Fun as these games are, it may be advisable to keep them out of the hands of younger players.

    Newsletters

    All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

    Sign Up >

    No Thanks!

    Remind Me Later >