Whilst I like technology books and books about start-ups, I have little interest in first-person shooter games and have not played the games described in this book more than a handful of times.
However, the book is so well written and the characters are described in such relatable terms, that I inhaled this audiobook in a couple of days.
I recommend it. Enjoy!
Shamelessly geeky; mathematically delicious.
With the break-neck pace that the gaming industry moves, it's amazing that anyone has had the clarity of vision to step back and document the history of this new form of entertainment. In Masters of Doom, Kushner does just that by detailing the careers of two of gaming's earliest superstars, John Carmack and John Romero. The fact that this book even exists is a testament to Kushner's foresight, and the quality of its presentation leaves nothing to be desired.
There's something fascinating about a creative duo, something magical about the dynamic it creates. Kushner positions the two John's, Romero and Carmack, as that sort of pairing, reminiscent of Jobs and Wozniak of Apple fame. But where Jobs and Woz were the design and engineering halves of the computer revolution, Romero and Carmack were those halves of the PC gaming revolution.
Kushner takes what could have been a rather boring history of id software and turns it into a real narrative. He shows Romero and Carmack as yin and yang, two parts of a whole. But he also shows them as headstrong individuals who just don't see enough of themselves in their partner. Ultimately, we see the two split ways and compete, seemingly never to achieve the greatness alone that they had together. Along the way there are many recurring themes and characters, all of which Kushner takes great care to point out to the reader.
It's worth noting how tight of a time frame this book exists in. Masters of Doom was published in 2003. Doom came out in 1993, and Daikatana (the development of which is a focus of the latter half of the book) was released in 2000. 3 years separation from the subject matter is nothing, but reading this book in 2013 still shows it to have significant historical perspective.
As for the narration, Wil Wheaton is, as always, a fantastic reader for anything and everything geek related. His delivery here is pitch perfect, and it really brings the story to life.
The only thing I might have wanted was a more recent afterword. I believe the one presented in the book is from the 2004 softcover reprinting. Considering the audiobook was recorded in 2012, and both Carmack and Romero have continued to work in the industry during that time, an extra chapter to bring the book back up to date would have been appreciated. That's a lot to ask from an audio release, however, and I can hardly fault the publishers for merely doing a "great" job with this book, rather than going way above and beyond.
If you care about gaming, and you enjoy a good biography, Masters of Doom is tough to beat.
I knew some parts of this story before starting this book, but it was fantastic listening to it all unfold. It's hard to believe this drama and adventure happened in my own back yard in Texas. Wil Wheaton is great at the narration, and gives character to the different people involved and reads with gusto the entire time.
I would recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of video games and how the industry grew to be what it is today.
Audio book lover with sci-fi leanings
This is a story of the two creators of Doom and their cohorts that begins in the early 80's and takes us all the way through the millennium. I found the story fascinating as the author sculpted a well written story that walks us through the creators early projects and draws draws the reader in as the leaps in graphics and programming are described that allow our main characters to create some of the most popular games developed in the 90's.
This was a hard one to put down and highly recommended!
The book is an easy read and well worth the experience. the audio book is by far the easiest way to consume this title when wrapped up in a busy life. it's not so distracting that it interferes with driving, and it makes for an interesting travel companion to keep awake when driving long distances.
Great biographic story. Unbiased raw story that lets one experience the atmosphere of the early gaming developement scene.