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.
Fantastic story that really brings to light the evolution of gaming culture. I really enjoyed listening to this book, and Will Wheaton made an excellent narrator (with a decent Jay Leno impression to boot). I highly recommend this to anyone interested in gaming or technology.
Masters of Doom took ma back all to my good old days playing Doom at work with my coworkers! It was so much fun and laughter. I enjoyed this game and Quake for a number of years. Book was very intriguing and very fascinating to hear the stories of two masterminds behind Doom. I recommend it to everybody!
Incredible book. Makes me wish I could go back in time and try to follow in the footsteps of these two John's.
As always, Wil Wheaton's narration far exceeds expectations. I've reached a point where I don't think I can listen to another book unless it's read by Wil!
excellent performance. interesting sliver of history that is only going to be more and more interesting as decades go by. very worthwhile read
It's a classic story of talented but wounded kids rising to fame, letting it get to their heads, and then blowing it. But the real hook is all the technical and cultural detail of the late 80's to mid 90's PC era. Wil Wheaton is a fantastic narrator as usual. My only complaint is that the author rushed through the later part of the story.