1993’s Doom, more than any of his involvement with notable games, defines John Romero. While the not the very first time a player peered through the eyes of a main character, id Software’s technical and game design mastery elevated it above anything seen before. For years, Doom’s first person hegemony saw any game of similar style dubbed a ‘Doom-clone’.
Dicing with Deathmatch
At PlayersXpo, he’s staking his reputation as Doom’s true final boss and taking on three finalists in a Deathmatch. “It’s going to be four players at a time, first to 200 frags (kills) wins. We’ll be playing on Map 7, it’s a fast-paced map where frags happen every few seconds - it’s going to be frantic.”
Romero has never lost his passion for gaming nor for the Doom community that made him a rock-star of the gaming world. Only last year, he released a new multiplayer map for Doom.
“I am excited for the tournament at PlayersXpo, the last time I got to play the public was at Dublin Comic-Con last year where my mom got to see me play, she was standing in the Deathmatch area... I love to play Doom and Quake still so the organisers usually have to stop these events before I leave,” he laughs, while at the same time sounding sincere.
As a pop cultural phenomenon, Doom was only matched by Pac-Man and Mario. The demonic imagery, the blistering speed and the synth metal soundtrack resonated with gamers of the era. Id Software had tasted success with Commander Keen, raised visual expectations with Wolfenstein 3-D. Then Doom happened.
Id would follow up with another visual boundary pusher, Quake (1996) before Romero moved on from the industry-shaking company he had co-founded. Twenty years later and I am speaking to him in GMIT. Romero himself is at Galway Games Gathering hosting a talk on his life in gaming and the family is showing off Romero Games’ latest creation.
Romero Games Ltd., Galway
In 2015, Brenda and John Romero announced they were setting up shop in Galway. An odd choice to those who weren’t aware of the West’s fertile gaming scene, welcoming attitude and the couple’s love for both.
“Because, why not?”, he says when asked why he and Brenda uprooted and moved a quarter way around the globe.
“Everywhere has broadband, all we need is the means to talk with people and things get taken care of. We wanted somewhere relaxed, somewhere beautiful and Galway was perfect. I also thought that it might be easier to walk around without being recognised but the very first day I walked outta my office, I ran into a Doom fan,” he says with a smile.
Romero would find Galway busier than he expected and found a tightly knit developer scene. “We meet every month or so in McSwiggan’s in the city to play some tabletop stuff, talk about our projects and the industry in Galway. It’s not something we ever did as developers back in the States and it’s another reason to love it here.”
Romero Games' latest project, Gunman Taco Truck was not just put together by the industry heavyweight couple but is instead a family affair. The game is based on an idea by their now-eleven-year-old son who also helped flesh out the concept. In Gunman Taco Truck, a pixel-art taco-maker is caught up in a radiation-related mutant apocalypse and is attempting to make it across the United States to safety over the border in Winnipeg.
To be in a with a chance to take on the Icon of Sin at PlayersXpo, simply have ticked for the 2pm-6pm session on Saturday OR Sunday and wait for an invite in your inbox. So if you have a ticket already, you'll get an invite too. Places are limited and available on a 'first come, first served' basis.
John Romero discusses his life and work as a panelist at PlayersXpo 2017 as well as showing his skills at Doom.
Doom’s place in gaming history is also being celebrated in PlayersXpo’s Retro Zone with playable machines.
PlayersXpo, Ireland’s ULTIMATE gaming event is taking over The Convention Centre, Dublin on the 28th & 29th of October! Get your tickets here.