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.
My two favorite topics are Baseball and Military History. But my favorite books of all time are Starship Troopers and Ready Player One.
Listening to this title felt like I was back in the world of the Oasis and getting more background on James Halliday and Ogden Morrow - IRL John Carmack and John Romero. "The Two Johns" as the author describes them, become legends in pioneering PC game industry. Their inimitable talent to 'hack' computers, programs, (and eventually cars and rockets) help them leap ahead of everyone else in the industry; a lesson we should all take to look at things differently.
The author describes the ebb and flow of success in the market as well as the coming and going of people in the industry and specifically their company. The book could be a historical case study on Organizational Management as well as the Psychology of Personality Disorders in the early days of video game development; successes and failures can be attributed to the John's inability and/or non-desire to effectively communicate.
As far as narration, Wil Wheaton is my favorite narrator ever. Additionally he's found a niche genre that he embodies so well, the same that he played in Star Trek TNG. Wheaton brings character's personalities alive from the written word and each is distinct. My first audio book with him as narrator was the aforementioned, Ready Player One, so this book is perfect for him. I usually listen at 3x speed and had no problem with this audio book at that speed.
From the writing to the voice work to the research, this was a wonderful experience. Time to fire up some Doom. Suck it down!
I recommend this book to anyone that lives the FPS genre. I still remember my parents buying shareware doom for 9.99 @ Circuit City. I took the shareware home and installed it on my brand new AST Advantage. After the game installed I was blown away. I payed Doom every chance I could. Kushner brought back a lot of good memories and gave me a lot insight into the development of Doom. Will Weaton nails the narration! If you haven't picked up Ready Player One... Do it now... Will Weaton is just one hell of a narrator.
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!
Learn, understand, then decide whether you accept or reject.
This is the story of a gaming landmark from the golden age of video games up to the current day. It is fascinating to see what goes into game design, and the tensions and ups and downs of game development, including that of having a do-no-wrong image in the industry.