Hello, and welcome to the 2018 edition of the Cacowards.
2018 marks the 25th anniversary of the original release of the shareware version of Doom, on December 10, 1993. 25 years is a significant milestone: one quarter of a century! I believe it is worth using this moment to reiterate the purpose of the Cacowards, and of Doomworld in general.
The Cacowards have their earliest origins in the 1998 Doomworld celebration entitled Five Years of Doom, which I organized and published as Doomworld's webmaster at the time (at the tender age of 17, no less). Five years later, in 2003, with the help of Mike "@Cyb" Watson and others, we published a follow-up edition, Ten Years of Doom. As one part of this feature, Cyb and I looked back on the first decade of custom-made WADs and selected 10 representative WADs from each year, declaring them as the "best" WADs of their day. (We also publicly published the Doom Comic for the first time, and thereby inadvertently memed Doom 2016 into existence.)
The following year, in 2004, my colleague "@Scuba Steve" Browning picked up the baton and organized the first instalment of the Cacowards, intended as an ongoing yearly curation of the best projects released in the Doom community in that year. Since then, the Cacowards have been organized by a loose and evolving confederation of dedicated team members, each of whom has put their own unique touches on it and left it in a better state than they found it. This is now the 15th instalment (although we have since discontinued the use of that numbering system).
The Cacowards remain now, as they have been thus far, a celebration of the artistry and spirit that the Doom community brings to bear upon the game that holds such a tenacious grip upon our hearts.
Unfortunately, even as the Cacowards and Doomworld have persisted over the years, the internet has changed around us, and in ways not for the better. Reflecting on the state of the internet in 2018 brings to mind data breaches and doxing and troll farms and election manipulation, rather than anything positive. With the repeal of net neutrality, the introduction of the GDPR and the ePrivacy Regulation, and recent TOS changes impacting what can appear on Tumblr, Craigslist, and other content aggregation sites, it has never been more clear that anything placed online on a website operated by a for-profit company will only remain online for so long as the company believes it is in their financial or legal interest to do so, and not a moment longer (and this is not even getting into whether or not the company is just plain evil).
I think it is important in this moment to restate that Doomworld is an independently owned and operated website; it is intended as a long term, not-for-profit educational, social, and historical resource; it is committed to treating all people with respect; it will never be sunsetted or deprecated or paywalled; and it does not vacuum up your personal information, much less sell or profit from it. If you despair for the future of the internet, consider that Doomworld continues to exist and thrive in the spirit of discovery and camaraderie in which the internet was first conceived - and there are still thousands of spaces like this one out there, just waiting for you to find them, or to build them yourself.
With that out of the way, we can again focus on the present - and we have another incredible selection of WADs and games to share with you.
But first, the Cacowards have seen their own changes as well. After many years of lending his considerable expertise, @Alfonzo has decided to depart the team to focus on other endeavours, and we wish him well. Luckily, we are fortunate to have found two excellent new additions to the Cacowards team. @rd. is an experienced player and mapper who sometimes writes stuff about Doom, and @Major Arlene is a passionate /idgames archive explorer with a YouTube .wad review series that has been running for almost six years.