John Romero still has a PC racing game demo that was comparable to SNES Mode 7

Id Software's pitches of PC ports to Nintendo are well-known, but John Romero claims he dabbled in other prototypes mimicking Nintendo tech features.

Image via Nintendo

John Romero and id Software’s early dabblings in attempting to pitch PC ports to Nintendo are well-documented at this point, but Romero shared in a recent interview that there are still some interesting demos we may not have seen yet. Speaking on his recent autobiographical book, Doom Guy: Life in First Person, Romero revealed that he has a demo of a PC racing game prototype that utilized graphical styles and scrolling similar to that of Mode 7 on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System.

Romero revealed this tidbit in an interview with our very own David L. Craddock, going into details about the writing and release of Romero’s autobiography. Pretty far along in the conversation, Craddock and Romero muse on the excellence of Nintendo technology around the time of PC gaming’s infancy and the success of the SNES. It was there that Romero spoke to his love of Mode 7, but he also revealed that he designed a prototype demo for a racing game that was meant to be mimic that very graphical style.

“Mode 7 was awesome,” Romero said. “In fact, I have a demo that we made similar to Mode 7 on the Super Nintendo, but on the PC to make a racing game.”

id Software demo of Super Mario Bros. 3
A significant part of id Software's foundation came from figuring out how to port Nintendo games to PC hardware, which the company pitched to Nintendo.
Source: id Software

It should come as little surprise that Romero and the id Software team were interested in Nintendo. It’s well-documented and shared even by Romero himself by this point that id Software tried to work on prototypes that it pitched to Nintendo as PC ports of the company’s popular games. Their demo of Super Mario Bros. 3 would eventually lay the groundwork for Commander Keen, but the original demo was also found in a floppy disc donated to the Museum of Play. However, it seems Romero and id’s prototyping went beyond the iconic plumber, largely due to their love of what Nintendo was doing at the time, as Romero explains:

It remains to be seen if Romero’s fabled Mode 7-like racing game demo will ever see the light of day, but it also seems just as likely that the knowledge gained from creating that demo was utilized in future id Software projects. For more on Romero’s legendary career in gaming and his book, Doom Guy: Life in First Person, be sure to check out our interview and check out the book on John Romero’s online shop.

Senior News Editor

TJ Denzer is a player and writer with a passion for games that has dominated a lifetime. He found his way to the Shacknews roster in late 2019 and has worked his way to Senior News Editor since. Between news coverage, he also aides notably in livestream projects like the indie game-focused Indie-licious, the Shacknews Stimulus Games, and the Shacknews Dump. You can reach him at and also find him on Twitter @JohnnyChugs.

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