- Paperback: 368 pages
- Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks; Reprint edition (May 11 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0812972155
- ISBN-13: 978-0812972153
- Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.8 x 20.3 cm
- Shipping Weight: 272 g
- Average Customer Review: 62 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #46,568 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Masters of Doom: How Two Guys Created an Empire and Transformed Pop Culture Paperback – May 11 2004
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"To my taste, the greatest American myth of cosmogenesis features the maladjusted, antisocial, genius teenage boy who, in the insular laboratory of his own bedroom, invents the universe from scratch. Masters of Doom is a particularly inspired rendition. Dave Kushner chronicles the saga of video game virtuosi Carmack and Romero with terrific brio. This is a page-turning, mythopoeic cyber-soap opera about two glamorous geek geniuses - and it should be read while scarfing down pepperoni pizza and swilling Diet Coke, with Queens of the Stone Age cranked up all the way."
—Mark Leyner, author of I Smell Esther Williams
"Masters of Doom is an excellent archetypal tale of hard work and genius being corrupted by fame too young and fortune too fast. I rooted for these guys, was inspired by them, then was disturbed by them, and was fascinated from beginning to end."
—Po Bronson, author of The Nudist on the Late Shift
"Like Hackers, David Kushner's Masters of Doom paints a fascinating portrait of visionary coders transforming a previously marginal hobby into a kind of 21st-century art form -- and enraging an entire generation of parents along the way. Kushner tells the story with intelligence and a great sense of pacing. Masters of Doom is as riveting as the games themselves."
—Steven Johnson, author of Emergence
"Masters of Doom tells the compelling story of the decade-long showdown between gaming's own real-life dynamic duo, played high above the corridors of Doom in the meta-game of industry and innovation. With the narrative passion of a true aficionado, Kushner reminds us that the Internet was not created to manage stock portfolios but to serve as the ultimate networked entertainment platform. It's all just a game."
—Douglas Rushkoff, author of Coercion, Ecstasy Club, and Nothing Sacred
"Are you brainy? Gifted? Deeply alienated? Ever wanted to be a multimillionaire who transformed a major industry? Then Masters of Doom is the book for you!"
—Bruce Sterling, author of Tomorrow Now
“Kushner’s mesmerizing tale of the Two Johns moves at a rapid clip . . . describing the twists and turns of fate that led them to team up in creating the most powerful video games of their generation. . . . An exciting combination of biography and technology.”
“Meticulously researched . . . as a ticktock of the creative process and as insight into a powerful medium too often dismissed as kids’ stuff, Masters of Doom blasts its way to a high score.”
“[An] extraordinary journey . . . an exhilarating time capsule of a moment in time where anything could happen—and often did. Kushner’s take on this geek uprising is like a breakneck-paced comic book that you can’t put down.”
“Kushner’s portrait of Carmack is lustrous and gripping. . . . An impressive and adroit social history.”
—The New York Times Book Review
“Terrifically told . . . The storytelling is so fluid, so addictive, that your twitching thumbs keep working the pages.”
—The Washington Post Book World
From the Inside Flap
Masters of Doom is the amazing true story of the Lennon and McCartney of video games: John Carmack and John Romero. Together, they ruled big business. They transformed popular culture. And they provoked a national controversy. More than anything, they lived a unique and rollicking American Dream, escaping the broken homes of their youth to produce the most notoriously successful game franchises in historyDoom and Quake until the games they made tore them apart. This is a story of friendship and betrayal, commerce and artistrya powerful and compassionate account of what it's like to be young, driven, and wildly creative.See all Product description
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The book received a small revision around 2003 to give some additional clarity into what both Johns are doing, but obviously doesn't cover anything in the last 10 years, which surely would be an interesting story in itself.
The explanations of the trials faced by team at id is awesome and really makes me appreciate that we had such great games that inspired a lot of gameplay and a lot of graphics engines.
The only thing that sucks is the ending because it's a reflection of life; Romero fudged up the release of Daikatana and then moved onto mobile games and Carmack hid away from managing a business and ended up working for a piece of crap company that had no future or vision.
If you are a gamer, even a casual one, this book is a great read. The reader doesn't need to be scared that there will be a lot of tech talk - this is written so even a person not familiar with programming or even computer hardware can appreciate what was created by these talented, if dysfunctional, bunch of computer programmers.
One of the best parts of the book is how it describes all the different personalities that were involved. In this way it's more like a biography of a company and not geeky tech description of a video game. Also involved are all the business aspects involved and how the people involved dealt with taking their passion into something that turned into one of the most successful companies of it's time.
Overall this book takes many topics (gaming, programming, personal biographies, and business tactics) and makes it fun read. It was one of those books I couldn't put down!
I think the story is relatable even to those who didn't grow up on id games. The story flows well and relates well to anyone interested in startup companies and how to break the standard mold of any industry that is stuck in its ways. Highly recommended to anyone!
It's a page turner for sure and I highly recommend it.
Warning: The book was last revised in 2003, so some of the details about the "present time" are somewhat inaccurate, but this only represents a small portion of the book.
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