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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 21 April 2017
If you grew up with the likes of Doom, Quake etc, then you'll find this a really interesting read. It chronicles the rise of the gaming era, back from when computers first became something individuals could afford up until around the mid 2000s, focusing on the perspective from id Software and the two guys who started it all.
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on 30 August 2017
Excellent book that gives a good look into the people that made one of the most influential games ever made, while also providing context for what the world around it was like.
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on 11 June 2017
Amazing read for anyone interested in behind the scenes development, and id Software, arguably the most famous rockstar developer of the 90s.
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on 17 April 2017
Brilliant book. Amusing, detailed and revealing. If you love Doom and Quake, or simply want to read an inspiring entrepreneurial book, then this is a must buy
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on 2 August 2003
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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on 14 February 2005
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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on 15 June 2004
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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on 15 August 2017
If you have any interest in Doom or id Software then you should check this out. A surprising page turner and in equal parts a cautionary tale and an inspirational one.
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on 23 November 2003
I have searched online, through a vast pool of servers hosting
games such as Counter-Strike and Soldier Of Fortune 2, and not a
single person I've queried has told me who John Carmack and John
Romero are. It is about time a book gave the newer generation
a bit of history on how it all started.
As a hobby, I develop games myself and reading this book was
possibly the most exciting confidence building experience ever.
The book complements the two Johns extremely well, and while
it may be obvious that not everything would have been as
described, it certainly shows how they went from simple guys
who worshiped those big names in the game industry, guys
with a passion and a dream, to those who are idles for future
game designers. There are even times when you can relate to
them in one way or another, taking you deep within an imaginary
and vivid world.
The book is extremely well paced and the chapters are nice and
short making it an interesting read that will definitely give
you laughs and also raise your eye brows as you read the book.
There are games I have played as a child like Commander Keen,
Rescue Rover and Spear Of Destiny and it was an amazing shock
to realise those games that remained on my favorites list
were produced by the same guys (obviously working for different
All in all if you like games or are a games developer, this
book is the confidence boost you always wanted. Heading over
to the ID Software website shows some familiar names still
in the team!
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on 23 July 2011
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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