John Romero was the co-founder of iD Sofware, the house behind hits such as Doom, Quake, and Wolfenstein 3D, all of which he played key roles in developing, even as he moved swiftly on at the height of their success. His autobiography is imminent, and an excerpt at The Verge covers the early days of the company that did more to establish the PC as a game platform than any other.
Now I looked at Super Mario Bros.' Mushroom Kingdom and wondered what it was doing on my PC screen. I also noticed Dangerous Dave standing at the bottom of the screen. The character I created two years earlier who was inspired by Super Mario Bros. was now inhabiting the Mushroom Kingdom. I laughed. That was the copyright violation of the title, but how far did this parody go?
I hit the arrow key to move Dangerous Dave and find out.
What I saw destroyed me.
The scenery on screen was changing, moving. As Dave walked and bounced his way into the game, moving right, new scenery and new challenges emerged. Everything scrolled smoothly, seamlessly, continually to the left. I hit the direction keys, moving him back and forth and up and down. As much as it looked like I was playing, I wasn't. I was processing the enormity of what I saw.
You know how in Star Wars when the Millennium Falcongoes into warp speed and the stars start whizzing by?
That's how I felt.
Teleported into the future.
I had to stop and process what I had just witnessed, what Carmack had done.
The book, Doom Guy: Life in First Person [Amazon] is out tomorrow. I can't wait to get the low down on Daikatana, a purer legend of development hell and ultimate floppitude than Duke Nukem Forever ever was.