December 10, 2013--one week from today(!)--will be the 20th anniversary of DooM.
Can you believe it?
Twenty years ago this holiday season I remember talking with someone about shareware games.
Back then the internet was really small and uncommonly used, CD ROM drives were expensive and not owned by many people, and shareware tended to be purchased in computer and electronic stores or the new dollar stores on either 5 1/4" or 3 1/2" floppy disks, or had to be shared (as the name suggests) by friends willing to part with the floppies they had, despite having to pay at least a dollar each for them.
Earlier that year I had played the shareware version of Blake Stone, and I was recommending a guy I was talking to should definitely try it. Another guy came up to us and said "Forget Blake Stone. Have you tried DooM?". He raved about how good it was, but I had no way of trying it yet, and did not think much of it at the time, and continued trying to talk about Blake Stone.
It wasn't until April or May of 1994 that I finally Got hold of a copy of the shareware version of DooM. I got it at my favourite dollar store at the time in a clam shell package with a version of the DooM title screen on the front. Every shareware game I had seen up until that point had come on a single floppy disk, so I was very suprised to find two floppies in the package. After all, DOS 5.0 took up only five disks, and it was the entire operating system for my machine!
My machine was a 80386SX 33MHz machine with 4Mb of RAM, which was the minimum required specs for running DooM. Unlike oher games I had tried, DooM installed and started without trouble. The frame rate was slower than Wolfenstein on my machine, because of the specs of course, and I often had to play with the screen size reduced or in the 160 x 200 low res mode toggled by one of the function keys.
I was not terribly impressed at first. The geometry of E1M1 was better than Wolfenstein, but I was trying to game on "I'm Too Young To Die" and there wasn't really much action yet. The controls did not quite work the same as Wolfenstein 3D, so it was very clumsy at first. It wasn't until I got into E1M2 with its dark flashing maze and Romero's surprise room at the top of the stairs that I really started getting into the game. By the time I finished E1M3, I was hooked.
I didn't get through DooM all in one go. There was a lot of time put in, and a lot of save spamming required.
One day after one of my early sessions of DooM, my mother came to me concerned (I was still living at home at the time). She had heard the sounds the troopers make when they are being shot and somehow thought *I* was making those sounds. She thought I had either gone mad or was masturbating! (How is it mothers are so skilled at completely embarrassing their sons?) I explained to her that it was only game, and tried as hard as I could to forget the incident after that, albeit not hard enough, because I am remembering it now.
After I finished episode 1 the first time, I tried again at a higher skill level. This time however, I had a partner in crime. My older brother wanted to play the game as well, and we came up with a simple system, where he played, but I gave him direction, since I had played through before. The problem was I had only seen a pinky demon once in ITYTD mode, and had killed it at a distance, forgetting the encounter shortly afterward, so as we went into the maze in E1M4 we were completely unprepared for what happened. We turned around and met pinky for the first time, point blank, just as he chomped down and killed us. The two of us pretty much jumped jumped right out of our skins.
I have many more stories to tell, but this post is kind of getting long, so I think I will leave them for another post.
What are your DooM memories?
Post as many of them as you can below.