Now, you’re probably thinking that the title of this article is a loaded question. Loaded question, in logic, is a question that actually presupposes that something exists or something is the case. In other words, when we ask the question, “Why is Doom so important?” we’re already assuming that it is of some sort of cultural or technical importance from the get-go.
Well, that is a safe assumption to make. The reason why this is the case is because when Doom came out, the PC gaming industry was in the midst of a tremendous sea change.
While there are consoles that do a good job rendering video games, a lot of them are too clunky and too limited. PCs were and still are the place to be when you are looking for the latest and greatest video game experience. A PC gaming rig just simply blows away the console competition.
Doom was important because it was one of the few games that actually did not just hitch a ride on changing video game graphic technology. That has always been the long standing strategy of other game titles.
But unfortunately, that strategy can only take you so far. There has to be some sort of innovation involved. There has to be some sort of future-proofing involved, and that’s exactly the kind of game design ethos and principles that Doom brought to the table.
It would not be an understatement nor would it be, in any way, shape or form, inaccurate to say that Doom’s design philosophy opened the way to modern game design philosophy. You no longer have to reinvent everything from scratch every time a new game platform appears. You no longer have to simply hitch a ride on the video graphics capabilities of video rendering technology to produce an amazing game experience. Doom made it a point to highlight the value and vibrancy and immediacy of the experience itself.
You’re not just simply enjoying the amazing results of very fast graphics processors running through a template millions of times per second. Instead, you benefit from the intense and creative intersection of technology and imagination in the form of game scripts, game possibilities and game logic.
These are just some of the reasons why Doom was not only important when it was first released, but continues to play such an important role in current game design philosophy and strategies.
If the above weren’t important enough, we have saved the very best for last. Why is Doom so important? Why is it so monumental? Well, it changed people’s attitudes towards games. Back in the day, you were called a geek or nerd if you played games all day every day. There was something wrong with you. Or so it was thought. Well, Doom changed all of that. Thanks to this FPS, the idea of a gaming lifestyle went from the bedrooms of game geeks all over the US to the mainstream consciousness and experience. And it remained there from that point on.
All the excitement and communities that built up around Halo, Half life and others can trace their evolution and arc from the early experiences and community patterns of Doom. This is its greatest legacy.