I taught my mom how to play Doom

Commentary: CNET writer Danny Gallagher goes to Hell and back with his mother by showing her how to play the new bloody reboot of the classic first-person shooter.

Danny Gallagher
CNET freelancer Danny Gallagher has contributed to Cracked.com, Mental Floss, Maxim, Break.com, Mandatory, Jackbox Games, Geeks Who Drink and many, many other publications in his never-ending quest to bring the world's productivity to a screeching halt. He lives and works in Dallas. Email Danny.
Danny Gallagher
2 min read
Watch this: Going to Hell with Mom: I played the new Doom game with my dear, sweet mother

The new Doom is the first game in a long time I've beaten and still can't stop playing. The enemies are challenging and menacing. The weapons offer all sorts of satisfying ways to eviscerate anyone who questions your digital authority. The opportunities for destruction are plentiful.

My mom, Deborah Gallagher, and I never shared the same love for gratuitous violence in games (unless you count bludgeoning someone with a fencing stick in Wii Sports Resort), but I thought it would be fun to open her eyes to a whole new bloody world of gaming. We sat down in front of my Xbox One and I showed her how to play the new reboot of the classic first-person shooter by Id Software and Bethesda Softworks.

No one in my family is more competitive than my mother. There aren't many video games she gets into, but when she does, this sweet, god-fearing woman transforms into a fierce barbarian who unabashedly celebrates vanquishing her enemies. The Wii fencing game is a perfect example. We learned three Christmases ago that no one could knock her adorable Mii off the platform.

When the new Doom came out May 13 and landed on my virtual doorstep, I wondered if Mom would have the same reaction to chainsawing Revenants and making a Mancubus choke on its own heart until it explodes. Also, Mii Danny has been itching for revenge.

Welcome to hell: Art from the world of Doom

See all photos

I started her on the "I'm too young to die" level, and it took a little time to get her used to the controls that require two different control sticks just to move the character. Throwing a pile of shambling corpses and hell beasts in her path didn't make it easier.

I'll be honest. Mom is terrible at the game. She never got used to the controls and had some trouble learning how to move out of the way of her enemies while still maintaining her aim. She never got past the first level or found another weapon like the chainsaw, so she's never experienced the joy of cutting open a Prowler like a honey-baked ham on Easter Sunday. She could definitely learn how to play it, but given all the scrunched-up looks she made during every decapitation and disembowelment, that's probably not going to happen.

However, she did learn one of the cardinal rules of any first-person shooter: You don't need to run away if you've got a big gun.

During one round, Mom got backed into a corner by a bunch of zombies right after picking up the body armor at the very beginning of the game and frantically tried to figure out how to move and aim at the same time. She just starting unloading her shotgun ammo and punching her way through them until she was the only one standing.

"I kicked ass!" she exclaimed with glee. I've never been prouder of her.