Numbers and data sound boring at first, but a franchise like DOOM has accrued some interesting stats over the years. In this series, we highlight DOOM’s cool numerical accomplishments and what they mean – this is DOOM by the Numbers!
One of the most revolutionary features of DOOM (1993) was that it was designed from the ground up to be easily modified by players. While the most fundamental gameplay remains the same, basically every other structural and cosmetic quality can be tweaked by anyone with just a little bit of know-how simply by editing a file called a WAD (for “Where’s All the Data?”) that the game references separately from the core engine.
Developing and tweaking WADs quickly became a favorite pastime of DOOM fans, with some going so far as to design their own software to make creating and editing WADs simple for even those with absolutely no programming knowledge whatsoever.
This, as you might imagine, led to an awful lot of WADs being released into the wild. There are tens of thousands of ‘em out there, and those are just the ones we know about.
Now, there’s simply no way to get an accurate tally of exactly how many WADs for DOOM have been created, or even how many were published onto the Internet. Remember, this kicked off in the Internet’s Wild West period and much of the content from the early days of DOOM is likely lost to time.
But since DOOM fans are awesome, several sites have spent years painstakingly collecting and cataloging their fellow fans’ work, giving us at least a rough idea of a lower limit of the number of WADs available on the internet.
Even an extremely conservative estimate shows us an impressive figure: As of this writing, WAD Archive alone catalogs 28,582 WADs across DOOM Classic and DOOM II. And the number’s only growing!