Shack Chat: What is your earliest, or fondest, memory of Doom?

Shacknews editors gather 'round to wax nostalgic and bloody about our earliest, and/or fondest memories of id Software's Doom franchise.

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Shacknews started as Quakeholio, a Quake fansite (obviously). That means our roots in FPS games go deep, far deeper than one shooter from id Software. Doom is Quake's antecedent, so, naturally, we hold that franchise near and dear to our hearts as well. This week, we reflect on our earliest memory of Doom, or our fondest. What's yours? Let us know in the Chatty thread below.


What is your earliest, or fondest, Doom memory?

DooM shareware uploaded to UW FTP server - Asif Khan, Played Doom in 1993

A Doom shareware-sixty-fourrrrrr!
A Doom shareware sixty-FOURRRRRRR!

My earliest and fondest Doom series memory is one that goes way back to the 1990s. It was December of 1993, and my friend down the street just received a brand new computer for his birthday. It had a brand-spanking-new Pentium processor which was several generations ahead of my family’s shared PC. The closest thing I had to a gaming PC in those days was an NEC that had a 386 CPU and no sound card. I was a buster.

It was either serendipity, entropy, or some sort of act of God that led to Doom’s shareware being uploaded the weekend of my friend’s birthday party. Our group of buddies all gathered around as we waited for Doom to download on his dialup Internet connection. I didn’t even get to play the game that day, but seeing Doom running on DOS in 1993 was as important and meaningful moment for me as the day I saw the original The Legend of Zelda running on NES for the first time, or the first time I tried out the latest iteration of VR at CES 2014.

Doom’s shareware created a deep desire inside me to own a gaming PC. I ended up getting my own gaming PC three years later, just in time for id Software’s Quake and Duke3D.exe to take over my life.


When Doom 2016 won Shacknews Game of the Year - Ozzie Mejia

Rip and Tear all year long.
Rip and Tear all year long.

So I've spent the better part of a decade with Shacknews. But fun fact, I was away for a brief period at the summer camp called Yahoo Esports. During my time there, I took time to unwind during the little off-time I had with a game called Doom. Like many here, I came to love what Bethesda and id Software put together. This the best reinvention of a franchise I've seen since Wolfenstein and the only other reboot that's touched in terms of quality since was 2018's God of War.

Shacnkews did me proud in 2016. It was the one year this decade where I wasn't around to contribute to the Game of the Year voting, but I was happy to see Doom take home the top honors. It truly deserved it and, more than that, this is Shacknews. If this Doom didn't win Game of the Year, then what are we even doing?


Blockbuster Video - Blake Morse, Really dating myself this week

Blakebuster Video.
Blockbuster. More like Blakebuster!

The first time I ever saw Doom in all its glory was at my local Blockbuster Video way, way, way, way, back in the day. One of the kids who worked there had installed it on a kiosk computer that was used for searching for movies. What was once used to find out if there were any copies of Aladdin in stock was now a harbinger of pure, uncensored evil. Sure, I’d seen Wolfenstein, but this was on a whole other level. The satanic imagery, the gore, the creature designs, even the backgrounds were epic for the time and place society was at. I’m lucky that my mom was the kind of person to say “oh, cool!” at such things, but I could tell she was still not entirely stoked that her 12-year-old son was exposed to such sin. Still, by the end of next year I was playing Doom on my own PC.


Shareware - Chris Jarrard, Lived for mid-'90s demo discs

Remember ordering games over the phone, or sending a check in the mail?
Remember ordering games over the phone, or sending a check in the mail?

Like many old farts, I first encountered Doom via shareware distribution. A friend of the family had come over to fix up our computer and had a tray full of 3.5” floppy disk with all sorts of stuff (the grand majority likely pirated). He told me that I would like this new game and proceeded to load the pair of floppies containing the Doom shareware release onto our family PC. 

The PC did not have an adequate sound card solution at the time and anyone familiar with playing games of the time understands that configuring sound output for DOS titles when you didn’t own one of the major cards was a crapshoot. Thus, the first time I played Doom was in silence. This made little difference as I was hooked from the opening moments like most people. Good times!


The reimagining - Sam Chandler, Social Distancing Pro

Doom 2016 made the Revenant relevant again.
Doom 2016 made the Revenant relevant again.

Though my first experience with the DOOM franchise was 2004’s DOOM 3, it wasn’t until 2016 that my appreciation for DOOM blossomed into what it is today. As I wrote about DOOM 2016’s impending release, I couldn’t help but become more excited about its arrival. I could feel the adrenaline pumping through my veins and that was before I even laid a finger on the title. And then it came out and I got to experience the joys of being the Doom Slayer first hand. On the cusp of Doom Eternal’s release, I’m just excited today as I was back in 2016. I can’t wait to send those demons back to hell.


The Doom Eternal E3 Demo - Donovan Erskine, Intern 

At last year's E3 (rip), I attended Bethesda’s press conference with our illustrious Reviews Editor Blake Morse. During the show, id Software dove deep into their upcoming sequel to 2016’s Doom reboot. Everything they showed us looked amazing, and it was quite the welcome surprise when we learned we’d have the opportunity to play the game directly after the show. The demo thrust us right back into the intense action that fans have come to love from the franchise, setting id up for another notable entry in their historic franchise. 


Gaming with Dad - Brittany Vincent, Senior Editor

Doom: letting you frag your friends and family since 1993.
Doom: letting you frag your friends and family since 1993.

The first time I ever saw Doom was sitting behind my dad as he ripped through enemies in my parents' bedroom on the main PC. I couldn't have even been 5 by then, but I knew it was something I wanted to see more of. I was absolutely fascinated as I saw him positively annihilating Cacodemons, and fell in love nearly immediately. It was a sight different from most games I had seen at that point in my life, and Dad would occasionally let me try my hand at it, even though I was a young gamer, just like he would with Duke Nukem, and I was enamored. I was slaying at an impossibly young age, and I'm so appreciative that I had the chance to it, as Doom has been a formative part of my identity as someone who thoroughly enjoys games.


Right Now - Bill Lavoy, In Debt to Tom Nook

March 20, 2020: Best game-release day of the year.
March 20, 2020: Best game-release day of the year.

Most of my early memories of Doom are just playing it at a friend’s house when I had the chance. Since I didn’t own a computer, my play time and understanding was lacking. To be honest, I didn’t really have appreciation for Doom. That’s changed over the last few years, especially recently. Watching David produce content, and everyone I follow on Twitch lose their minds for Doom Eternal, has given me a new awareness for just how influential this series has been in people’s lives. Once I’m able to get out from under my crushing debt to Tom Nook, I can’t wait to dig into Doom Eternal myself.


The summer of 2006 - Josh Hawkins, Guides guy

Josh became a man that sweet, sweet summer.
Josh became a man that sweet, sweet summer.

My fondest and earlier memories of Doom come way back when in the summer of 2006. I was between 9th and 10th grade. I had a girlfriend, a cell phone with Snake on it, and life was good. I got out for the summer and went up to my grandparents in North Georgia. It was always fun going up there and getting away from things.

Early that summer, we were doing our usual weekend trip around the thrift stores and yard sales in the area -- my grandparents loved going to those kind of things and finding good deals on useless stuff. While my grandmother was busy looking at old books and things, I managed to find myself in front of a bin of old computer games, inside were two discs I managed to talk my grandmother into buying for me -- Doom and Unreal.

It didn’t take me long to boot up the crappy Gateway computer in the office once we got back to the house. I managed to install the games on the system, still somewhat unsure if the dinosaur of a PC would even run them. Listen, I didn’t know anything about PC games back then, and my grandparent’s computer was OLD, at least as far as I was concerned. Thankfully, I managed to get Doom running and fired it up for the first time.

I’ll honestly never forget how it felt, playing through that first level for the first time. I’d played FPS games in the past, but nothing had been as frantic or outright brutal as Doom was. It was utterly fantastic. So fantastic that I spent the next three weeks of my vacation finding reasons to hang out in the office and play more of these new experiences I had discovered.


“That’s one ‘Doomed’ Space Marine” - TJ Denzer, One Doomed News Machine

Dear TJ: How dare you?
Dear TJ: How dare you?

Remember when Duke Nukem was good enough to talk trash and wasn’t a spent husk of his former self? I do. In fact, Duke Nukem 3D was the primary shooter in my childhood household. There was a time when my parents cared about video game violence and so when I was in my single digit years, I didn’t really get to play Doom. My first experience with the actual games would be playing Doom 2 in its entirety when I was a teen going on a nostalgia kick of classic games.

Point is, I played Duke Nukem 3D before I played Doom and it was my first introduction to the id Software classic. You remember right? There’s a level where you open a door and there he is. Poor Doomguy is just the upper half of a corpse shredded and planted on his bloody stump of a missing lower half to the floor. I remember asking my older brothers what the joke was, but it didn’t matter to me that much. Duke made a crack about this dead nerd and Duke was cool at the time so whoever that guy was couldn’t have been all that special.

I would of course realize the error of my logic further along in my life and come to appreciate both franchises, but that vivid memory of reference between 3D Realms and id Software was definitely my earliest and most interesting memory of Doom as a whole. It’s a dang shame ol’ Nukem couldn’t keep pace with the Doomslayer in the long run, but at least one of them is doing pretty good for themselves.


Sharing my wares - David L. Craddock, long reads editor

Floppy disks. Man, oh man.
Floppy disks. Man, oh man.

I remember sitting in the back row of Sunday school with my friend, Aaron, both of us dressed to the nines because our parents made us. Our teacher was reading from some scripture or another. Never taking his eyes from the front of the room, Aaron leaned toward me: "Heard about Doom?" He proceeded to break down the greatest game he had ever played, even though it was only the shareware version. A week later, I went store to store until I found a copy for $5.

What better place to learn about killing demons than in church?


Old Skool - Greg Burke, Maker of Videos

Greg, you could have played the game on Super Ninten... never mind.
Greg, you could have played the game on Super Ninten... never mind.

Didn’t have a PC growing up, but my Uncle did. I’d always ask him to start up games in MS-DOS, cause I didn't know how. I always ask to “Kill Hilter” and he’d warp me to the last level and I'd double chain down Adolf Hitler in a mech suit. It was awesome.


Interesting Times- Steve Tyminski

Dooooom!
Dooooom!

When I was a kid, I didn’t play that many first-person shooter games and I still don’t. However, we had Duke Nukem on our family computer as well as Wolfenstein. Doom and Wolfenstein are seen as two of the games that helped define the FPS genre back in the day. However, when it comes to an interesting memory I have regarding Doom, two come to mind. One was at E3 last year when Bethesda showed off gameplay footage at their showcase. It means a lot for me to get invited to E3 presentations as in a way, it signals your arrival into the business.

My second memory is a little more odd. I remember when cereal companies would put demo disks of games on their boxes so kids would pester their parents for said cereal. I believe that some cereal boxes had demo disks for Wolfenstein and Doom. It just goes to show how far we’ve come that in the late 80’s/early 90’s. Cereal companies were giving demo disks of violent games away and now in the modern era, the cereal companies don’t even want cartoon characters on their boxes anymore to advertise to kids.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    March 20, 2020 2:00 PM

    Shack Staff posted a new article, Shack Chat: What is your earliest, or fondest, memory of Doom?

    • reply
      March 20, 2020 2:12 PM

      DooM Shareware my dad got from who knows where (although we'd already had the Wolfenstein 3D first episode, so probably the same place). I remember freaking out about getting attacked by stuff I couldn't see and the craziness that were the secrets and fireball chucking Imps in the first level. I wanna say I was 8 when it came out, ma wasn't terribly happy with dad about it ;p.

    • reply
      March 20, 2020 2:12 PM

      The time a cyberdemon took me out behind the woodshed and showed me the birds and the bees.

    • reply
      March 20, 2020 2:15 PM

      Playing DOOM deathmatch in the high school computer lab. Having to downsize the window about 50% because we were playing on 486 SX 33's (no FPU) so they ran the game terribly.

      But if you go the window down to about 6" x 6" you could get a good framerate. Was still loads of fun.

    • reply
      March 20, 2020 2:31 PM

      I used to pretend to be a computer science student at the local university when I was still in high school so I could sneak into the labs and play network doom.

      I’d just hang out and smoke and people would let me in usually. No passwords on the machines and I’d stay there all night. Good times.

    • reply
      March 20, 2020 2:35 PM

      When my dad brought it home the first time I had no idea it existed. My brother found me on my room and told me dad had a new game and it's better than Wolfenstein. Nothing is better than Wolfenstein, I thought. But I was wrong.

    • reply
      March 20, 2020 2:48 PM

      I bought the sync cable for the Playstation 1 to play with my best friend.
      I packed my TV and my playstation in my car and and drove to him, we would play over weekends. He got motion sickness when we played, so to avoid that he took pills.

      That was some of the best play sessions i have ever had.

      I actually saw that disc today, and remembered those times :)

    • reply
      March 20, 2020 2:53 PM

      My family was visiting my uncle Charlie and he had just tried the PC shareware and was excited to show everyone.

      He wasn't a gamer or anything; the PC was for managing his air conditioning business - it was just that impressive.

      I got through half that first episode before being yelled at for hiding away in a back room and not visiting.

    • reply
      March 20, 2020 3:07 PM

      Playing DooM on my dad's computer at 2am in the morning.

    • reply
      March 20, 2020 3:12 PM

      playing og doom shareware and being to scared to gey past more than a few levels haha

      • reply
        March 20, 2020 3:13 PM

        get*

        also, i remember not minding the controls at all. i was not yet spoiled by proper strafe and mouse look ahha

    • reply
      March 20, 2020 3:31 PM

      Shortly after I bought my first PC from Best Buy (Acer Acros Pentium 75), I was browsing the PC games section at Target, saw Doom ][ on the shelf and bought it, thinking it looked cool (I was completely oblivious to the hype around the game). It was the first time I'd ever actually moved around in a 3-D world like that, and I was completely immersed and obsessed.

      It came with DWANGO and I wasn't aware of any local BBS's or other ways of getting games, so I tried it and despite having to set "-ticdup 2" to make it playable and associating with people with names like "BigBallz" and "B0ngb0y" (actual names), I had an absurd amount of fun. Within a year I was a moderator with a few embarrassing 4-digit phone bills.

    • reply
      March 20, 2020 3:54 PM

      Shareware version of doom on disk that I convinced my mom to pick up at electronic boutique while we were at the mall. Came home, installed it on the family 486 33 and had a blissful afternoon. Never was able to convince me dad to buy the registered version and he was always anti-piracy so I didn't get to play the other episodes until much later. He did get me doom 2 on cd one Christmas and let me play it Christmas eve, same computer but it had a double speed cdrom at that point.

    • reply
      March 20, 2020 3:55 PM

      I first heard about DOOM in the same way you might hear about a really gnarly movie that your parents don’t want you to see.

      I heard about its reputation for blood and gore and motion-sickening gameplay before I ever saw the game, and then when I finally saw it being played in person I was obsessed and also jealous.

      Why? It was (then) PC-only, and I was a Mac guy. Thankfully the Mac eventually got a great (and TBH superior) port.

    • reply
      March 20, 2020 3:56 PM

      Weekend long serial cable LAN with my friend in my parents living room.

    • reply
      March 20, 2020 3:59 PM

      Shareware Doom with a Gravis Ultrasound... OMG. I was blown away.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f1V9m5_j1mg

      Real interesting comparison of various cards
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YXFYWJ7dbz0

    • rms legacy 10 years mercury super mega
      reply
      March 22, 2020 8:20 AM

      My first look at Quake test is likely more interesting; With no 3dfx card, I installed a software opengl wrapper before running the game, and just recall looking at a brown crate at 0.1fps, like literally 0.1 frames-per-second!

    • reply
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