Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Doom Generation

Everyone old enough remembers Doom. It was the first first person shooter game I ever played. I played it on a PC using a keyboard, and while I was less than impressed with the controls, I could tell this game was going to change things.

There was Wolfenstein before it, but Doom upped the ante a bit. It didn't necessarily feel like a better game, but it definitely felt like a different game (I played the Nazi fps well after Doom, so that's how I make the comparison.) It was a game that caused casual gamers and non-gamers to take notice. In a few years it would be named as part of the reason the Columbine massacre happened. Duke Nuke 'Em never got such press.

Doom is not one of my favorite games. I can play it at any time, but quickly grow tired of it. At times it seems like it tries too hard. I'm not the only one who thinks that, either. So why did this game capture people's attention? It was the promise of what was to come.

Doom clearly showed that first person shooters had life. The level designs were clever, the story was at least momentarily interesting, and the creatures showed imagination. Playing that game made gamers realize that in the right hands, magic could be created. You could be immersed, and that's why that game took off. People caught glimpses of greatness, and for that it was worth some of the more groan-worthy aspects. For some, it became an addiction. For others, inspiration. And then there were those who feared it. They really helped the success of the game.

There's no denying this game's place in game history. There's no denying its influence. I would say that people's memories of the game's greatness are exaggerated, however. It was fun and different, but it wasn't the spectacular god people remember it being.

For me, fps games are something I turn to once or twice a year to blow off some steam. They don't engage me the way other games do. I'll give it credit, though. It changed quite a bit about gaming, and I think the entire industry owes it some thanks. I just think gamers need to be more realistic about it, too.

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