When DOOM first arrived in 1993, it was unlike anything gamers had played before – so much so that for a considerable period after its release, first-person shooters were simply known as “DOOM clones.”
Picking just five of its most significant contributions to gaming is tough, but we’re going to do our best.
Online multiplayer in first-person shooters is so common today that it’s rare to find an FPS these days doesn’t feature some sort of competitive deathmatch mode, but that was far from the case in 1993.
Of the first-person shooters that predated DOOM (1993), only a couple (depending on how you define them) featured any kind of multiplayer element, making FPS action a generally solo affair. Then DOOM came along.
Built into the game was a mode that allowed up to four players to compete against each other either on a local network or by dialing into one another’s computers over a phone line. This mode was christened “Deathmatch” – and yes, DOOM actually coined the term.
This was a revelation. At a time when most people hadn’t even heard of the internet, along comes a game that lets players slaughter each other remotely. DOOM’s deathmatch was fast, brutal, challenging and fiendishly addictive. The gaming industry was never the same after that.
Today, online multiplayer is everywhere: in shooters, in strategy games, even in role-playing games. Teams play competitive shooters on ESPN for million-dollar prizes. Grade-school kids mimic dances and trade tactics for their favorite games. Online competition, especially Deathmatch, is such a ubiquitous thing that we barely even think about the ground-breaking 1993 demon-masher it came from.
How’s that for innovation?