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Doom turns 30 today

Doom 1.9 original setup floppy disk (Source: Etsy UK)
Doom 1.9 original setup floppy disk (Source: Etsy UK)
Labeled by PC Gamer in 1998 as "probably the most imitated game of all time," id Software's Doom celebrates today its 30th anniversary. Released for MS-DOS, it has sold an estimated 3.5 million copies by 1999. This game marked the birth of a franchise consisting of multiple video games, two movies, tabletop games, novel series, and more.

On the 10th day of December 1993, id Software released Doom, a first-person shooter that was the third game of the company, after Commander Keen and Wolfenstein 3D. The latest desktop PC release in the franchise rooted in Doom is Doom Eternal, which was unleashed upon the world in 2020. However, a mobile game, Mighty Doom, arrived this March on Android and iOS.

In addition to the video games for PCs and their console ports and various mobile spinoffs, the Doom franchise also includes a set of four novels that were published in the mid-1990s, followed by two more, launched over a decade later. Marvel released a sixteen-page comic book in May 1996 in a limited edition that was given away at the Electronic Entertainment Expo convention. Doom: The Boardgame arrived in 2004. In late 2020, a fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons module entitled Doom Eternal: Assault on Amaros Station was published by Critical Role Productions.

In addition to all the above, two film adaptations made by Universal Pictures are also part of the Doom universe. The eponymous one, released in 2005, stars Karl Urban and Dwayne Johnson. Doom: Annihilation arrived as a direct-to-video film adaptation in 2019, but without any big Hollywood names involved.

The original game managed to sell 3.5 million physical copies, as well as 1.15 million shareware copies by 1999. From the initial MS-DOS release on 3.5-inch floppy disks, the game landed on virtually any imaginable hardware platform, including portable media players compatible with the Rockbox firmware, printers, old phones, digital cameras, and more.

Although it was not the first game in the genre, Doom was the first title to offer multiplayer support over LAN on IBM PCs. Alongside cooperative play, it offered a deathmatch mode. The game included tools allowing gamers to design new levels, graphics, textures, and monsters. The best part is that id Software had only one requirement for the resulting files, namely to be made available for free.

A lot can be said about this iconic title and the entire franchise, but Doom's story is far from over. According to recent leaks, a new game set before the events of the original might launch as Doom: Year Zero as soon as 2024. Until then, collectors can go ahead and spend some of their money on rare items such as the shareware IBM PC version, which is currently around $120 on eBay (plus shipping), with four days left until the end of the bidding war.

Buy Masters of Doom: How Two Guys Created an Empire and Transformed Pop Culture (by David Kushner) on Amazon

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Codrut Nistor, 2023-12-10 (Update: 2023-12-10)