Masters of Doom

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Hardcover, 1st edition.

Masters of Doom: How Two Guys Created an Empire and Transformed Pop Culture is a non-fiction biography written by David Kushner and published on 2003-05-06. It is about the lives of John Romero and John Carmack, two game developers who co-founded id Software, and created the video game Doom. The book describes their lives from childhood into adulthood as they expanded their video game hobby into a career, and into stardom.

I bought this book as part of a Humblie Indie Bundle for game-themed audio books.


I own the audio book read by Wil Wheaton and am currently listening to it.



  • The book goes into a lot of detail about the lives of John Romero and John Carmack, where they obtained their skills, the challenges they faced growing up, and their rise to stardom in the video game industry. It also includes general life stories of Tom Hall, Adrian Carmack, and various other people involved with their lives.
  • Kushner had direct interviews with both programmers, so a lot of the information is first-hand.
  • The book isn't just fan praise, it includes a lot of history which puts the id programmers in a negative light including how they abandoned companies they worked for, fired their friends, and even how John Carmack had his cat euthanized because she was interrupting his programming too much.


  • The author overly romanticizes earlier computer platforms and video games to the point of describing them in not-entirely-accurate ways. For example, he suggests that players tried to "shoot" at the Easter egg in Adventure, but the game doesn't even have a way to shoot. He has a couple other common mistakes, like thinking VGA stands for "Video Graphics Adapter," instead of the correct, "Video Graphics Array."
  • The game includes a lot of dialogue, but, since id didn't record their lives, and the book was written over a decade after a lot of the events transpired, it's unlikely much of the dialogue is accurate.
  • The fairly basic mistakes throughout the book make me question the accuracy of the rest of it.


  • Nothing.


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