I remember playing Wolfenstein 3D by ID Software way back – I was a young man then just setting out in a career in IT. We had a small team of young lads supporting the software used by a large merchant bank. During the quiet (and sometimes not so quiet times) we used to boot up and play Leisure Suite Larry and Wolfenstein 3D. The PCs we were using struggled, but I did remember Wolf being something new – a 3D game where you moved ‘into’ the screen and shot Germans – crikey, what was the world coming to?
A year or so passed – we were all a little older and technology had made yet again another generation leap. The new kid on the block was a game called Doom – it was the talk of the non-internet age, which meant everyone in the office, possibly in the company, was playing and raving about it. It was Wolfenstein on steroids where the somewhat ‘comfortable’ simplistic maze of bland rooms of Wolf was replaced with an imagining of hell, with all manner of demonic enemies to shoot, kill and destroy. An advanced 3D engine allowed the player to explore levels filled with interlocking rooms, hidden chambers and open areas – creatures and ‘turned’ marines littered the player’s route in their search of the ‘switch’ that unlocked the door out of hell (or that level at least). Imps, Demons, Cacodemons, Baron from Hell, zombie-fied marines and more hid in the shadows and lurked behind unopened doors.
With the lights turned off and the amplified SoundBlaster pumped up high – the grunting and snorting of the unknown was genuinely an uncomfortable, unnerving and frightening experience often resulting in a quick look over the shoulder to ensure you were still alone in the darkened bedroom.
Hooking up a few PCs via null-modem cables saw Doom taking the player to the next level – multiplayer gaming with friends or office mates in one on one battles and more. Gaming was coming of age, and Doom was leading the way.
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