'Doom': A personal retrospective

Doom 4 is scheduled to be released at some point in the future, but that doesn't mean we can't look back at a great franchise. Don Reisinger does just that.

Doom
Doom: The trend-setting franchise Id Software

Id Software, the video game developer behind Doom, announced Thursday that it has tapped British author Graham Joyce to write Doom 4. The fantasy novelist has won numerous awards for many of his 14 novels and 26 short stories.

"I can say that Id has hired me to help develop the storyline potential," Joyce said in an interview with CVG. He chose not to offer any more comments about the pending release of Doom 4.

Regardless, I'm looking forward to Doom 4 even though Id first announced the game back in 2007 and has made no mention of it since. The original Doom became an iconic franchise that helped start this whole anti- video-game-violence nonsense, but more importantly, it set the tone for gaming today. It brought first-person shooters to the mainstream and left an indelible mark on the entire industry.

Doom was an important part of my formative years, as well. Maybe that's why my love for Doom, even through rough patches (I'm looking at you, Doom 3), has ever diminished.

Remember when Doom first hit store shelves in 1993? It wasn't like any other game on the market. It included off-color remarks, a gun named BFG (the "F" stood for... you can guess that yourself), and unprecedented violence. Unfortunately, it was that violence that got all the media attention.

But for the rest of us, Doom was something special. It was the graphical king of its time and we marveled at Id's ability to bring it to life. More importantly, it led to the 1990s gaming boom that changed the industry (and its consumers) forever.

Remember the "BAM!" sound the BFG shot would make at impact on a weak enemy? That was well worth the cost of the game. And I'm sure I'm not the only person who whipped the chainsaw out at inopportune moments just to see how many enemies I could saw to death before I was taken out.

Oh, and the story? Barely there. Didn't matter.

Then gaming passed Doom by. Although it still lives on in halls of Congress whenever someone needs to make a point about violence and video games, Doom is but a relic of our past. Sure, we've been invited back to hell a couple times over the past decade and most of us have jumped in with both feet, but as computer gaming got bigger, Doom was forgotten, especially by younger gamers nurtured by Halo and Madden.

Perhaps that's why I'm so excited for Doom 4 and the fact that Id is finally hiring a real writer to shape the story. It's not that I need a better story or that I want something different. It's that, for the first time, Doom, gaming's once-dominant franchise, may be able to overshadow its successors and introduce a whole new generation of gamers to its bizarre world.

When will Doom 4 hit store shelves? Id Software isn't saying. But I'm sure I speak for thousands in saying that time doesn't matter. We just want our Doom back whenever it's ready.

Check out Don's Digital Home podcast, Twitter feed, and FriendFeed.

About the author

Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.

 

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