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Masters of Doom: How Two Guys Created an Empire and Transformed Pop Culture Hardcover – 1 May 2003

4.8 out of 5 stars 58 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; First Edition edition (May 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375505245
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375505249
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 2.9 x 24.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 526,667 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Masters of Doom is an impressive and adroit social history. (New York Times Book Review)

Hot book! The Behind the Music - like story of video gaming's Nineties bad boys...a tale of guts, geeks and their 140mpd-clocking Ferraris - as well as the backlash against gaming after Columbine. (Rolling Stone) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

Masters of Doom' is the true inside story of John Carmack and John Romero, co-creators of the most innovative and notoriously successful video games in history - Doom and Quake. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
An excellent book about the people behind many killer games like Commander Keen, Castle of Wolfenstein and Doom. The book starts from the very beginning, from the time before the first shareware hit games. In addition to being excellent history book about id software, it also shows the potential problems and pitfals facing each game developer, especially the problem of too big egos and different visions among to developers.
And what's best.. It's the author's style. He certainly knows how to write a good book.
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Format: Paperback
I spent sooooo many hours, like soooo many other people, playing these games. The story of the Two Johns has been touched upon in the computer press but the story more than bears telling in a full length book. I picked it up just to read about what the background was to these incredible games that dominated weeks / months of my adult, slacker life, and sure enough the account given of how Wolfenstein and onwards were written was at turns exhilerating and bittersweet. I then started moving back through the book to the earliest days of the two johns and it held my attention throughout. Great story, great characters, and the author has a great eye for his subjects and the allure of the story of how geeks became rockstars. Gaming isnt going to disappear, and Carmack and Romero are like two Neil Armstrongs in terms of their acheivements. THis is a good history book in the making if nothing else, and it is surprising how much you end up feeling for both Carmack and Romero, two lost boys in a gold mine. Carmack in particular is an odd and mysterious character. My rating? Five stars. mmmm.
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Format: Hardcover
This book cleverly paints an attractive picture of the early days of id's development from pre-wolfenstein 3D titles up to the announcement of DOOM3.
It focuses largely on the Carmack/Romero relationshop but also touches on the impact that their games had on popular culture at the time. Including the headache that they gave the government due to the rising tension surrounding violence in games.
If you are in anyway interested in creating games but have been long put off by the stale state of the industry, then you'll find this a rewarding and exciting read in many respects.
Two guys that not only changed the world of gaming forever but stuck to their guns and fought tooth and nail throughout to remain independent.
I couldn't help but feel that Carmack emerged the victor in any battle that was staged, but Romero's child-like "rock stardom" is as endearing as Carmack's geekiness.
The only down side for me was the lack of detail on Doom's early development for which I know there is plenty to tell.
But that's game specific and this book concentrates on the personalities that contributed to their development.
A great read.
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Format: Paperback
If you are a developer, a programmer, someone who likes using his computer for creating games, or even 'casual' applications, you MUST read this book. It will make you want to code night and day. I have read it 4 times and still I get the same feeling when I go through it. John Carmack is a genius.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Wasn't sure what to expect from this as I don't read many books (digital generation) but the nerdy gamer in me ended up very satisfied and wanting more. The book is easy to read and gives lots of background information on the development and aftermath of some of the greatest games of all time. It explores the working relationships of the developers (who are now legend) and gives flashbacks to how weird/awesome the 90s were. I remember playing Final Doom on PS1 at about 8 year old, I had no idea Doom was this huge revolutionary game at the time. Reading this puts it all in perspective, it's bizarre! Amazing book, must read for any hardcore gamers.
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Format: Paperback
I'm a very sporadic reader but when a book grabs me I find myself staying up way past bed time (11 on a work day ;) ) to continue reading...this book is one of those. Anyone who has an interest in the games industry I'm sure will find this book thrilling, even those who were born in the 90s will find it an intriguing history lesson.

Just a side note, several times I stopped reading to go watch footage of the game they were talking about on youtube (I obviously know quake, doom and wolfenstein, but some of their earlier games I have never come across as I was a NES/SNES guy). I imagine this book would benefit massively from an interactive ebook with videos/demos of the games slipped in at appropriate points of the book. Only tablets are capable of that right now but it would be really cool to see books include links or content of extracurricular interest.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was delighted when someone pointed out the book Masters of Doom. It's not a new title, dating back to 2003, but it covers a period that anyone of a certain age with an interest in computer games will regard with interest.

Describing the rise and fall of the two creators of id software, John Carmack and John Romero, it is a classic silicon valley business/bio - with some particularly extreme characters. I knew nothing of these people at the time, but reading the book brought on waves of nostalgia as they were responsible for three of the key milestones in gaming history. I was still programming PCs when Wolfenstein 3D came out and I remember being amazed by the effects and responsiveness they coaxed out of the early PC's terrible graphics. By the time Doom and Quake came along, I was reviewing games for a living. Though my personal tastes ran more to the X-Wing series and Seventh Guest, I was stunned by the capabilities of the id games. They were the only first person shooters I ever found interesting - and each moved on the field immensely. All the first person shooters that are popular today from Call of Duty and Halo to Destiny owe them so much.

So from a techie viewpoint, this was fascinating, though the author does tend to rather brush over the technical side to keep the story flowing. And from the personal side, there were plenty of fireworks too. While the book slightly overplays the traditional US business biography style of presenting disasters and triumphs to regularly fit chapter boundaries, there is no doubt there was a real roller-coaster of an existence in a way that all those reality TV stars who overuse that term wouldn't possibly understand.
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