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)
It was a grwat title to see how great minds developed, came together, and evolved. You also gain a strong sense of the evolution of the gaming market. Will read again.
I loved the Wil Wheaton telling this story of the legendary tech/game company. It captured the wild ride and what it means for a company to grow up wonderfully!
I particularly enjoyed the scenes related to their offices and how they struggled from house to house until they could get an office... and the relationships with their early shareware vendors. It brings back so many memories of different rumors you hear from back in the day and then gives them real light to observe them by.
Not necessarily - it was easy to put down because nobody was in danger of dying... you just get a nice story going through different segments of these people's lives as they build the best video games in the world.
The subject matter and the epilogue/addendum describing what they've been up too since the pair last made news. I had always found it strange that they did both Commander Keen and all their FPS stuff.
The details early on about the technical obstacles and the tricks used to get past them. How the sausage got made as it were. The organizational issues at the end were also interesting, where it came down to needing to force a game out of a bunch of mismatched pieces.
While I wasn't such a fan of the more personal or biographical aspects of the story, I think that some of the anecdotes were great, and the author clearly understood that some of them worked well with the larger story he was telling.
Unfortunately this is only my second non-fiction audiobook. The other being Unfamiliar Fishes by Sarah Vowell.
Issues that can't be blamed at least in part on the text would be that I got the impression that he was editorializing with his voices and the way he laid on extra emphasis on the word "doom". In the first case I understand that he was aiming at least in some cases for impressions for the discussions of video game violence, but I also think he aimed for hysteria when it came to unknown voices on the anti side and reasonable for the who cares side. In the second case, I understand that it is the title of the game that made Id a household name (depending on your household) and it is what the book's title is referring to, but it is just a word and at most should be emphasized once (and even then it'd be cheesy).
This was actually the first time that I considered that I might not like Wheaton's work. When listening to something written by Earnest Cline I had always blamed my problems on the bad writing, but it's still happening here. Some of it is still probably the author's fault though.
No, but I just don't have that kind of time in a day.
The book is a nice history, but it definitely feels like either an authorized biography or the author is trying to be nice to everyone involved. That said, it didn't go so easy on the two Johns that I didn't come away with the impression that these are terrible people that I'm happy not to know.
Frequently something is related as the best/most important/really awesome thing ever and I have to say it gets old. I don't know if this is how "gamers" write or if it is how Wil Wheaton reads, but this is getting old.
It was also written in 2004, a more naive time where people identifying themselves by their hobby wasn't some kind of danger signal. I didn't know this while listening to it, but it is pretty obvious in the end. Not knowing this, I'd get tense from time to time waiting for some nasty tribalist BS to appear. So video game fans should keep in mind that while this history foreshadows some of the problems that we see today, it was before those problems had become as realized as they are now.
This audio book is not only a trip down memory lane for me, mentioning games like Commander Keen, Wolfenstein, Doom and Quake. But it also opened up a world behind the games. And made me feel guilty for copying Doom back then. I always assumed some big corporations were behind these games, but instead they were a bunch of hardworking guys. The story is amazing, but in the end it turns out a bit sad.
If there's any negative about this audiobook, it's that it sounds a bit overly dramatic and Wil Weaton, who does a good job, emphasises that drama.
The material is good... like a modern parable about life... and the reading performance is awesome! Makes it all come to life.
I've read the print several times and Will's narration is pretty spot on for the audio version.
The early days, their drive and commitment.
John Romero and Tom were pretty great.
"Programmer, Gamer or Geek? you need this!"
I listened to this in the car everyday on the way to work and back and Wil Wheaton's energetic delivery of this book just made me think about it during the day which made me yearn for home time so I can continue it again. The book delivers the story from each of the different characters very well!
John Romero of course!
It was very edgy not knowing what was round the corner and what direction the it was going to take which no doubt made it exciting. I was Sad when the book ended thinking how I was going to find a similar audio book to compare with.
The start of the audio book is a little slow as it goes though the characters childhoods which is understandable. You need to push your self through the first 30 minutes to the point when the experience of Soft Disk employment starts and from that point you're reap the rewards!
"A fascinating insight into a very strange culture"
As somebody who was there at the start of personal computing, Doom itself and the games that led up to it are very much stuck in my memory and I was delighted to see this book. All in all I would recommend it to anyone who has an interest in the era because there is a fair bit of background information and it certainly brings back memories of good times when these games seemed the cutting edge of technology.
The book is well written although I would have liked a lot more technical detail, and it moves along quickly, with plenty happening and lots to keep you listening. However I found the people involved almost universally dislikeable, and while this is obviously just what they are like, it made it a difficult read at times.
The narrator surprised me a little. I know his voice from other things he has done and he read this in a rather stereotyped way which while suited to the story, did grate a bit. I got the impression he had decided to read the book with a very specific accent because of the subject matter and at times (especially when he said "we are not worthy" repeatedly) it was quite annoying. I would have preferred it if he had just read in his normal voice and let us imagine the way that the people of the time might have spoken.
However, despite this niggles I enjoyed the story and it gave me a lot of background to something that was a significant part of my youth - I would really like to read a more technical story covering the actual creation of the software.
"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
"Great story really well read"
As ever Will Wheaton delivers with a great telling of a fascinating story.
Anyone of an age to remember the early days of video games will really enjoy the roller coaster ride of ID.
"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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