I absolutely loved reading Masters of Doom. It canvases the history of some of my favourite video games growing up and I should have read it years ago. The story of the two Johns, John Carmack and John Romero is a page turning, novel-like read that I couldn’t put down.
It begins with the story of two kids growing up during the early days of video games, like PacMan, that were played in corner stores and pizza shops. They met as adults while programming games for Softdisk, a monthly disk magazine produced in Shreveport Louisiana. After Carmack masters the rendering of continuous scrolling graphics on a PC, similar to Mario Bros on Nintendo, they decide to moonlight on their own game: Commander Keen. It’s launch was a raging success that leads to them breaking out and forming id Software where they’ll eventually create breakthrough PC video games such as Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, and Quake.
At the time they were released, each of these games represented state-of-the-art game play, design, technology, and immersiveness. The two Johns led the field, and this book is an epic tale detailing the high and lows of what was arguably one of the most productive duos in video games history of the 20th century.