Masters of Doom is the amazing true story of the Lennon and McCartney of video games: John Carmack and John Romero. Together, they ruled big business. They transformed popular culture. And they provoked a national controversy. More than anything, they lived a unique and rollicking American Dream, escaping the broken homes of their youth to produce the most notoriously successful game franchises in history - Doom and Quake - until the games they made tore them apart. This is a story of friendship and betrayal, commerce and artistry - a powerful and compassionate account of what it's like to be young, driven, and wildly creative.
©2003 David Kushner (P)2012 Audiobooks.com
"Compelling . . . Masters of Doom succeeds on several levels. It's just great storytelling, with perfect pacing, drama and characterization. It's also an excellent business book, a cautionary tale with the kind of insider detail that other writers working in the genre should envy." (Houston Chronicle)
“Kushner’s mesmerizing tale of the Two Johns moves at a rapid clip . . . describing the twists and turns of fate that led them to team up in creating the most powerful video games of their generation. . . . An exciting combination of biography and technology.” (USA Today)
“Meticulously researched . . . as a ticktock of the creative process and as insight into a powerful medium too often dismissed as kids’ stuff, Masters of Doom blasts its way to a high score.” (Entertainment Weekly)
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'm not a gamer, but I found listening to the history of gaming fascinating and Will does an excellent job narrating. Simply a very, very good listen.
excellent story. as someone who devoured Doom, Quake, and all first person shooters since, it gives a fascinating insight into the birth of a genre. the audio book has excellent narration which is as important as the story. third time I've read it. recommended.
I say dead because it is no longer capable of existing in its natural environment. I am refering to of course the rise and insurgence 90s computer gaming. A time of unexplored possibility and near no holds or restrictions. of course this allowed a lot of really bad games to be published but it also allowed the innovative development of 3D space in games. And even the invension of seemless progression allowing games like mario or metroid to be invented. I use this word invented because in order for these things to be possible these programmers not only had to push the boundaries of game structure. they had to redesign the way games were played and absorbed... I will refrain from typing a full length review here and just tell you to read the book
Love of Games
The story is about the birth of something great from something small and the inevitable story of how things always change. All the participants are important and equally interesting.
Very much so. The Narration was spot on for me.
All good things come form those who have passion.
I cannot explain just how enjoyable this was. To listen to the history of ID software and it's founders was so very interesting.If you have read "Ready Player One", you will like this. Core elements of that book are clearly derived form this history.
Excellent documentary humanizing what is today a "big biz", and shedding some layman light on video game creation. Would recommend to a friend
I really enjoyed hearing about the crazy process and long nights that went into the games and the programing breakthroughs that had to be made for the games to possible.
I was always much more into strategy and role playing games than shooters as a kid, but the descriptions of the games still brought back some great thoughts and memories.
The Steve Jobs biography. They're both biographies of people who came up in the computer business world and discuss the relationships made and broken as well as the business mistakes made during the process. Both books also have characters that can be a bit icy.
Got really tired of the narrators "We're not worthy" voice.I wish there was a new afterword to this book that discusses where both John's are at now. I thought the ending was the weakest part to this book where it sort of just drifts off with a not so compelling rocket story.
"A must for PC children of 80's / 90's"
I thoroughly enjoyed this insightful book on the history of ID software and the people behind the PC games Doom and Quake
Both John's were very interesting characters well depicted
Really good performance adding an extra dimension to the book and bring it to life
The book is pretty long so not one for a single sitting. I listened to it over a few weeks during my commute to and from work
"A gripping and inspiring story."
A great story that covers a fascinating period in game history from the point of view of true pioneers.
The book is well written and covers both the humour and passion of the subject matter. It is also really well read.
The only comment I would make is there is a lot of swearing. It didn't bother me but worth mentioning.
Well worth it.
"Absolutely awesome! SUCK IT DOWN!"
I absolutely would. The story is so captivating, and Will Wheaton does an excellent job narrating.
There are so many, but I think it has to be John Romero. He is just larger than life and never stops dreaming.
His voice is well suited to audio books, and he does a good job of putting on voices too.
Definitely. I have tried my best too as well, alas life gets in the way!
"If you grew up with Doom you'll like this."
This is an interesting listen, if you grew up playing Wolfenstein and Doom covering everything from the first Commander Keen game to Quake. If you are not into computer games then this is probably not for you.
The narration is a little cutesy sometimes, and I didn't really like the impressions of the iD guys. However it was interesting enough to keep me listening.
"A Great Human and Technological Saga"
"Masters of Doom" is yet another tale of 2 buddies starting an IT company that shook the world (Bill Gates/Steve Allen, Steve Jobs/Steve Wozniak, Larry Page/Sergey Brin, ...).
Having read biographies of all the pairs mentioned above, why did I bother to read yet another biography ? Because, each of these is a different story, and when well written (and read) these are engrossing human sagas that also place our modern technological world in context.
"Masters of Doom" has it all.
The pair of characters that it follows are anything but boring, and the text does a great job of bringing their character and idisyncracies to life (and Wil Wheaton's reading is excellent). If you have any interest in technology (not necessarily computer games, which I do not play) then this is a sure winner.
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