Best Games - Doom
Doom is probably in the top ten on lists of the most popular video games of all time. You don’t have to check, I already did and it is. That means that if you are reading this you have almost certainly heard of Doom. There is a fair to good chance you have played Doom. Quite a few of you have played a lot of Doom and you might have played it on a lot of different hardware using a variety of input devices. You might have played a modded version of Doom with new graphics and sounds stolen directly from your favourite franchises. You may have played Doom clones that felt so similar but so very different.
What I’m getting at is, Doom needs no introduction. Also, Doom doesn’t need me to tell people how good it is. Doom is doing just fine.
None of this series has ever been about promoting games that people already like. It has always been about advocating for good things in general, and in the specific case of video games, exploring what it was that made them good in the first place.
Almost every review, promotion, and reverie about Doom will talk about its fast pace and enjoyable action. They will talk about the power fantasy and the cartoonishly horrific themes. The heavy metal album cover feel of the world. The satisfying impacts and throaty sound design. All of these are true, but none of them are why Doom is so fondly remembered.
Doom is a different place. There had been 3D games before Doom and games that were played from a first person perspective. Flight simulators were very popular at the time. Some of them were fun and a lot of them did right by the first person perspective. Doom was the first game that felt like it took place in a different world than our own. It’s the difference between watching a recording or representation of another place on a screen or looking at that other place through a window.
Starting with Doom, the illusion was complete. An entirely different world sat on the other side of that window. More importantly, you could position that window anywhere you wanted. You could move it through that world. You could recognize the places in that world, not as mazes to be solved but as real and solid and distinct. Places with specific architecture and residents. Places with secrets hidden just around the corner.
I will stop short of saying that you felt like you were there, in the hell world of doom, but you felt like you could be. It was real in a way that games had not been.
If you were able to connect to other people playing on other computers in this one shared world, Doom went from impressive to absolutely transportational magic.
The developers of Doom had created a world that fit onto a floppy disk. You could carry it in your pocket. Any computer could suddenly become a window into that world. Doom didn’t have to be an action game to be successful. In fact, it almost wasn’t. I doubt that would have mattered. What Doom promised and delivered was another place.
That is why Doom is one of the best games.