Masters of Doom is the story of John Carmack and John Romero, the forces behind some of the most notoriously successful video game franchises in history. The duo played a large role in shaping the modern-day gaming landscape. Carmack’s technological innovation combined with Romero’s ambition was a winning combination until eventually, like all great things, it came to an end.
It’s been a while since a book has kept me up until 4am because I couldn’t stop reading it, but that was the case with Masters of Doom. David Kushner’s novel is just flat-out entertaining to read, but there are also some really interesting takeaways that I thought were worth sharing with you.
Games Create Novel Worlds
Humans have been using techniques to create and participate in new worlds for a long time. Past civilizations did this through illustrations and written words. As children, we use our imagination to transport ourselves into these stories.
We grow up, but our primal desire to explore new worlds never goes away. I don’t think it ever will. This is why video games are so important.
Gamers overlooked the crudeness for what the games implied: a novelistic and participatory experience, a world.
Though Carmack was not aware of it, he was joining a pursuit that had begun thousands of years before. The dream of a realistic, immersive, interactive experience had consumed humankind for millennia. Some believed it to be a primal desire. Dating from 15,000 b.c.e., cave paintings in Lascaux, in the south of France, were considered to be among the first “immersive environments,” with images that would give…