I had low expectations for this book, boy was I wrong. This had been recommended to me so I picked it up. I didn’t think that the story about the guys behind id software would be so enthralling and interesting. Kushner writes in a very entertaining way and has researched his work very well. To the point of me wondering, if he was even present for the stuff that didn’t take place in front of him. He even mentions Carmack’s “Mmm” tic, which I found hilarious when I saw it in an interview, excellent attention to detail.
I can see why Kushner wrote this book. Id software was truly revolutionary in game design, making Mario clones for the PC, 3D persistent worlds, online/LAN games all the while raking in millions powered up by diet coke and pizzas. I liked how the guys from id were ordinary guys (with the exception of Carmack maybe!) and how they loved playing games. Id were doing so well, that Bill Gates considered buying the company.
This book has really made me want to play Doom to completion. I think of the early nineties with nostalgia, that I won’t be playing Doom against Romero over DWANGO. Tom Hall and Romero jumping around like idiots making alien noises, Adrian drawing something disgusting in the corner, Carmack hunched over his computer for the umpteenth hour – optimizing his engine, it feels magical. Kushner has done well to paint such memorable, vivid scenes. Romero appears to be the father of online game related flaming though, I’m not sure how I feel about that. In his defence, if he didn’t do it first someone else would have.
The book seems to fizzle out a little towards the end, reflecting the fate of id. Overall it doesn’t matter. I’ve been lucky to read 3 books in a row which I’ve rated 5/5. I hope it lasts.