My Doom Awaits: A Reflection on the Impact of Nostalgia, Childhood and Demon-Slaying

Cover Art for 1993 (right) and 2016 (left) releases

“So you walk eternally through the shadow realm, standing against evil where others have falter. May your thirst for retribution never quench, may the blood on your sword never dry, and may we never need you again.”- Corrax Entry 7:17

I read aloud these words as they appeared on the screen while I sat in my chair, waiting for the campaign to load. The slow but dramatic music drummed out, enhancing the ambiance of the scene. After one year of obsessive waiting, I would finally get to play Doom (2016) for the first time. My aspirations for the game were high, however, they were also uncertain. The only knowledge of the gameplay I had came from its launch trailer back in June,2015, numerous watching and re-watching of commercials, and a beta release of the game that did poorly (take it was for the multiplayer aspect, which really has never been essential to Doom). Though my faith in the game was strong, I still had my doubts. The moment those words appeared on the screen, I felt all sensation of doubt flood out of my system. A simple phrase had captured all the feelings of intensity and badassery its predecessor brought from long ago. Right then I knew that the developers knew what they were doing.

A wicked grin of glee appeared on my face as I saw the loading bar reach 100% and the “Press A to Play” icon appear in the bottom right-hand corner. “Alright” I said to myself, finger hovering right above the A button, anxiously anticipating the adrenaline inducing carnage that would commence. “Time to Rip and Tear.”

Doom originally came out in the year 1993 and became one of the most influential FPSs (first person shooters) in the history of gaming. More importantly, it became my favorite video game of all time. Its premise was simple; you are lone space marine (the Doom Guy as he has been dubbed by the fans) on Mars, a portal to Hell has opened up, and demons have flooded out and you need to kill them. Though very little narrative, it gameplay was phenomenal and action-packed. The fast-paced, high intensity gameplay tapped into the player’s survival instincts (the “id” if you want to get Freudian) and pushed your back against the wall, forcing you to act with swiftness and ferocity if you wanted to live to see the next level. You felt like an unstoppable force of nature while you slew the ever-growing hordes of demons, creating a beautiful blend of anxiety and intensity for the player. Never has a game evoked such strong emotions in me. Whenever I picked up the controller and played,I felt powerful and unbeatable while at the same time overwhelmed by the shear force of enemies running at my face. To put it bluntly, Doom was pure, awesome, 90s fun.

However, despite my undying praise and reverence for this game, I could never have the opportunity to fully experience the greatness it has brought upon gaming world. I was born in 1999, six years after Id Software released Doom, so I was not around for when it first came out. Despite Doom being a timeless franchise for everyone to enjoy, nobody could appreciate it more than the generation who were around to first play it. They and they alone got to experience the game in all its entirety for the first time when its concept and gameplay was brand new. Sure, I still feel same rush of tearing my way through the armies of hell as my predecessors, but I could never even imagine the feelings they felt in 1993.

That all changed for me with an announcement in June, 2015 with an announcement at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). Bethesda Softworks, a renowned and successful gaming company, revealed that they would be working alongside Id Software to bring back in the franchise with the creation of a new Doom game the next year. They promised to reintroduce Doom into the modern era with new graphics and gameplay, but still stay true to the original title. Once I heard the news, I became overwhelmingly ecstatic. Never before had I ever been excited for the release of any video game, but this was an exception. Doom was the game of my childhood, and now I had the opportunity to be reintroduced to favorite video game of all time all over again. I would finally understand what it like to be like the generation before me to who experienced Doom for the first time.

When I finally obtained a copy of Doom (2016) (to avoid confusion I’ll refer to the new game as this), it truly lived up to my expectations. Doom (2016) brought forth new and modern graphics and gameplay, but ultimately stayed true to the original mechanics of Doom, creating a perfect blend between old and new. It was as if someone went back to 1993 and gave Id Software the technology to create the vision of Doom they always dreamed of. More importantly, it gave me the opportunity to have an experience much like those in 1993 when the game first came out. Just like them, I did not know what to expect from a game that seemed so new and revolutionary at the time (even though I had followed to development of the game for about a year). But my doubts were set aside and my devotions were rewarded with probably the greatest gaming experience of my life. Doom (2016) not only provided me with that same intense, adrenaline-pumping adventure from the original; it amplified it tenfold.

The Doom franchise will forever be close to my heart. To me, it is more than just a hardcore, action-packed,FPS, badass simulator. I had a stronger personal connection with the game, for I felt that it was the game was made just for me. The weaponry, the setting, the enemies, and the overall concept of the game like to believe that if John Carmack and John Romero did not create Doom, I would have been the one to create it (or at least push for the idea). Everyone has something, whether it be a video game, a book, a movie, a song, or a TV show, that in a sense speaks to them and their personality. We may enjoy many different things in life, but there is always that one that thing that connects with us so strongly that it almost seems like fate when we encounter it. To be able to experience that same affection all over again with Doom (2016) is something beyond nostalgic. It was like watching your favorite movie again for the first time. As I said before, nothing will ever come close to evoking such strong emotions as the Doom franchise has. Who knew that a simple video game with simple mechanics and a simple plot could have that kind of power?

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