chapter  2
22 Pages

◾ John Romero, Architect of Doom

Interviewing John Romero is like asking forty questions of a hurricane. At forty-five, Romero still has the energy, enthusiasm, speed, and desire to blow things up as of a sixteen year old. Even at crowded Game Developer Conferences, he’s easy to spot, zooming from booth to booth and surrounded by a crush of adoring fans eager for autographs, insights, or perhaps a lock of his famous mane of hair. Anyone who doesn’t know his work can be brought around quickly enough: “What? You don’t know? That’s the guy who did Doom, Quake, and Wolfenstein 3D! Duh!” That’s right. John Romero is one of the core members of id Software, the tiny company that single-handedly introduced the world to the first-person shooter. But more than anything else, he’s the rock star of the gaming industry. Unlike the vast majority of developers-including his fellow id founder John Carmack, who seem to shun attention and personal publicity-Romero revels in the spotlight, thoroughly at home in a big crowd of fans. He stands out in this often quiet and reserved profession, always dressed in stylish clothes that probably cost more than my car-and a hairstyle that wouldn’t look out of place on a the cover of a romance novel (see Figure 2.1).