Doom: Over Twenty Years Later

It’s no exaggeration to say that Doom changed my life. Released in December 1993, my parents bought me the game for Christmas. I was eight years old at the time and that May had gotten my first PC for my birthday, thus beginning my foray into computer programming, an endeavor which continues to this day. I was already interested in creating video games but up to that point I thought of them strictly in the context of consoles. Doom opened my mind to the idea of making PC games. It wasn’t the first PC game I played, but up until then I primarily played computer games like Minesweeper, games that I thought of more like fun distractions than ‘serious business’. But after Doom….

I am tempted to write a long text singing the praises of Doom and its impact both on me personally and on the game industry itself. But the former would be too self-indulgent and boring, and the latter is well-documented. So instead I’m making this brief post tonight to share with you some links for anyone interested in replaying Doom (which I’ve been doing recently), or for those of who you never played it.

Prerequisites

Before anything else you’re going to need the ‘IWADs’ for Doom and Doom 2, i.e. the files doom.wad and doom2.wad. They hold all the content for the games. To be honest, I don’t know where you can legally buy the games—maybe on Steam, but I have no Steam account so I’m not sure. Many years ago I re-purchased the games on CD as part of an “ultimate collection,” because 3.5 floppy drives were disappearing. But I’m not sure where you can buy that from either. I would check Amazon and eBay.

You can, of course, get the IWADs illegally from torrent sites and such. I think the games deserve a few of your dollars if you can find a place from which to purchase them. But having said that, I also don’t believe downloading pirated copies of two games from 1993–1994 is amorally reprehensible.

Get a Modern Engine

The source code for Doom is freely available. From that code people have created a variety of ports and mods which extend both the functionality of the game (e.g. for level creators) and take advantage of modern hardware.

Personally, I recommend ZDoom. I believe it is the best source-port, and you’ll find a plethora of modern Doom maps which require features ZDoom provides.

If you want to throw-down in some Doom deathmatch—and plenty of people still do—then consider using Zandronum.

Get Some Modern Content

The original Doom and Doom 2 levels remain great fun. But in the past two decades people have created a staggering amount of custom content. The best place to find this stuff is Doomworld, arguably the best place to find anything Doom-related nowadays.

Every year Doomworld honors the best-of-the-best community content with the Cacowards. You can’t go wrong by starting there if you want to see some of the truly impressive modern maps that exist.

And if you want to try a random map-pack or mod then look no further than the /idgames Archive. Everything you’ll want (and not want, heh) for Doom can be found there. If you know the name of a specific map that you want then you may find the GetWAD program to be useful.

Get Some Modern Doom-Loving Friends

Finally, don’t hesitate to dive into the community. Despite being over twenty years old, the classic Doom community is alive and well, still thriving, creating, sharing, and all-together enjoying one of the greatest classic PC games ever made. Whether you’re nostalgic about the games or whether they were before your time, you will find plenty of people eager to share their enthusiasm and love of Doom.

So don’t shy away. Dust off your double-barrel shotgun and get out there to kill some Hell demons.

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