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Say the word "railgun" around a PC gamer and they'll instantly start telling you stories about the Quake series, and how it's such an awesome weapon in a make-believe future universe.



They're right on the former, but on the latter, not so much, because railguns are real, and the US Navy has one. Here it is undergoing testing.



The project, which is being overseen by the Office of Naval Research, has been running for a few years now (indeed, experimental railguns have existed as crude prototypes for decades), but this is the first time it's been filmed looking like an actual gun.



Railguns don't work like normal firearms or cannons; they use rails and electricity to propel projectiles at speeds vastly greater than those possible with conventional explosive technology (modern weapons still use the centuries-old principle of an explosion to propel rounds).



Which is why the Naval Officer in the video loads not a shell but just a simple piece of metal into the weapon.



It's amazing footage. Next stop, handheld versions.


Kotaku

Six Classic and Contemporary HTML 5 Games You Can Play Free Right Now A lot has changed since the days when web developers relied almost exclusively on Flash for media-rich interactive content. Although the technology is still very much alive and may not see a replacement anytime soon for certain uses, more and more websites are implementing HTML5 for streaming audio and video, and we are also starting to see some applications in the gaming space.





HTML is a markup language for structuring and presenting content on the web. Its latest and still-in-development incarnation adds a variety of elements and attributes that make it easier to include and handle multimedia and graphical content on the web without having to resort to proprietary plugins.



Three elements and related APIs for media introduced by HTML5 are the <audio> element, which allows developers to add in-browser audio to a document or application, the <video> element for in-browser video without the messy <embed> and <object> tags, and the <canvas> element and API that provides a 2D drawing surface which can be used for everything from a simple animation to a complicated game.



Although there's still going to take some time until the HTML5 specification is final, it is already relatively stable and there are implementations that are close to completion. Recent versions of all major browsers support HTML5 to a large degree, and close to 80% of all videos on the web are encoded in H.264 according to the data from MeFeedia, which means they can be delivered within HTML5's <video> tag — although for business reasons (read: ads and copy protection) they aren't always delivered through HTML5 just yet.



As far as gaming is concerned, there are some really impressive examples that could easily rival some of the stuff that has been done on Flash over the past decade. We've compiled a small selection of old classics and modern titles built with HTML5 and other open web standards that will give you a taste of things to come.



Old classics ported to HTML5


Six Classic and Contemporary HTML 5 Games You Can Play Free Right Now



Command & Conquer: Tiberian Dawn




The classic real time strategy game Command & Conquer was recreated entirely in HTML5, running on 69k of Javascript, by an enterprising developer named Aditya Ravi Shankar who wanted to improve his coding skills.



Shankar took three and a half weeks to put the first build together, combing through the original game's files in order to get the sprites, sounds and unit specs right. The project is far from complete and there is still some polishing up to do, but nonetheless it's a great example of HTML5's potential for games. The game works best in Chrome or Firefox and the source code is available on github.






Six Classic and Contemporary HTML 5 Games You Can Play Free Right Now



Wolfenstein 3D


This implementation of id Software's 1992 game, Wolfenstein 3D, was made using Javascript and the Canvas element. All of the first floor is mapped out, albeit with a few modifications, but it's more of a proof-of-concept than an actual playable game. There's no AI for the guards, for example, they just stand around and wait to be shot.



Other famous first-person shooters have also been ported to HTML, including Doom — which was taken down after a cease and desist notice from Id Software — and Quake II. The latter was actually ported by Google employees to show off what is possible with HTML5 in the browser. The game is playable with full HTML5 audio and WebGL rendering at up to 60 frames per second sans plug-ins. It's not hosted online, unfortunately, but installation instructions are available at its Google Code page. There's also a video of the game in action here.






Six Classic and Contemporary HTML 5 Games You Can Play Free Right Now



Google Pac-Man


Released as a homage on the 30th anniversary of the popular arcade game, Pac-Man, this was Google's first ever interactive, playable doodle and was so well received by users that the company decided to host it indefinitely instead of just for 48 hours as initially planned.



The game is based on HTML5 with a fall-back Flash option for browsers that don't support it yet. Much like the original Pac-Man, Google had programmed the game to glitch and end at the 256th screen, although it appears to have been cut down to a single level built around the Google logo. Still, a worthy example of HTML5 capabilities based on an icon of the 1980s popular culture.






Modern games built for HTML5



Six Classic and Contemporary HTML 5 Games You Can Play Free Right Now



Cut the Rope




Designed to help promote Internet Explorer 9 and the Beauty of the Web campaign, a desktop HTML5 version of the hugely popular Cut the Rope game was made available online for free out of a partnership between Microsoft and developer ZeptoLab. The game is playable on any compatible HTML 5 browser, not just IE.



For those unfamiliar, Cut the Rope features a green monster called Om Nom that you'll have to feed candy by cutting and manipulating ropes, airbags and bubbles.It's highly addictive and has been downloaded millions of times on mobile platforms. This port showcases HTML5 capabilities like canvas-rendered graphics, browser-based audio and video, CSS3 styling and WOFF fonts. Aspiring developers can check their Behind the Scenes page for inspiration.






Six Classic and Contemporary HTML 5 Games You Can Play Free Right Now



Pirates Love Daisies




Pirates Love Daisies is a tower defense game based off 'Plants vs Zombies' created by Grant Skinner's studio, which is better known for its work in Flash, and was funded by Microsoft also as part of their Beauty of the Web initiative.



This is one of the better accomplished HTML-CSS-and-JavaScript games to date, with a really polished interface, great sound effects, and a beautiful visual style. Basically, the game requires players to defend their daisies from different type of 'creeps' (octopus, crab, rat and seagull) using the most appropriate type of pirate, each of which has a different set of skills and weapons. As players accumulate gold from destroying their enemies, they can upgrade the pirates' skills or add more pirates. It's a very enjoyable game. Runs better on IE9.






Six Classic and Contemporary HTML 5 Games You Can Play Free Right Now



WordSquared




WordSquared is a massive multiplayer crossword game written in HTML5. It's essentially a clone of the famous puzzle game "Scrabble" on steroids, where you'll have to create as long a chain of words as possible, scoring lots of points in the process. Users simply use the mouse to drag and drop the letter tiles onto the board.



The original game was created in under 48 hours for the Node.js Knockout competition, which required contestants to create a game or application using HTML5 and the Open Web Platform in a very short period of time. It has since received several modifications, including the addition of achievements and in-game purchases. Dragging the map around you cannot help but be impressed by the size of the board and the word chains already completed.






This is just scratching the surface, there are tons of other great examples over at beautyoftheweb.com and the Chrome Web Store, including the insanely popular Angry Birds which we purposely skipped on this article because you've probably heard enough about the game already. While we won't argue that the browser is not the best platform for gaming, we're still impressed with the potential of HTML5, CSS and JavaScript as an alternative to Flash.



Have you discovered any awesome HTML5 games or apps? Any personal favorites? Share them with us in the comments.



Republished with permission from:









Jose Vilches is managing editor of TechSpot. TechSpot is a computer technology publication serving PC enthusiasts, gamers and IT pros since 1998.


Announcement - Valve
Today's Deal: Save 50% off RAGE!

Look for the deals each day on the front page of Steam. Or follow us on twitter or Facebook for instant notifications wherever you are!

Kotaku

Brian Hagan's Art From Star Wars, RAGE & MoreConcept artist Brian Hagan has worked for clients like MMO giant NCSoft, Microsoft, Lucasarts and id Software. Which means he's worked on properties like Star Wars and RAGE.



So let's take a look!



The Star Wars game is actually Star Wars Kinect, which looks stupid in motion, but in terms of art, Brian's done wonders with what little he had to work with. The RAGE stuff is pretty great too.



You can see more of his work at his personal site.



Fine Art is a celebration of the work of video game artists. If you're in the business and have some concept, environment or character art you'd like to share, drop us a line!

Brian Hagan's Art From Star Wars, RAGE & More

Brian Hagan's Art From Star Wars, RAGE & More

Brian Hagan's Art From Star Wars, RAGE & More

Brian Hagan's Art From Star Wars, RAGE & More

Brian Hagan's Art From Star Wars, RAGE & More

Brian Hagan's Art From Star Wars, RAGE & More

Brian Hagan's Art From Star Wars, RAGE & More

Brian Hagan's Art From Star Wars, RAGE & More

Brian Hagan's Art From Star Wars, RAGE & More

Brian Hagan's Art From Star Wars, RAGE & More

Brian Hagan's Art From Star Wars, RAGE & More

Brian Hagan's Art From Star Wars, RAGE & More

Brian Hagan's Art From Star Wars, RAGE & More


Feb 2, 2012
Product Update - Valve
RAGE 1.2 Patch Release Notes
--------------------------------------------------------------------
This RAGE patch adds some new features and addresses various compatibility and performance issues.

New Functionality
------------------------
Texture Detail: Enabling Texture Detail will improve up-close texture quality by performing upsampling with adaptive sharpening. This does not update or increase the resolution of the base textures included with the game but improves the perceived resolution and crispness of textures. This is an intensive operation and is only recommended if you have a quad-core CPU or higher. Please disable this feature if you encounter poor performance, stability issues or are given a notification that the game has run out of memory after loading a map. The Texture Detail option can be found in the Settings -> Video Menu.

Transcode Benchmark: A new benchmark has been added that determines how quickly texture data can be translated from the compressed format on your hard drive to a format that can be used by your video card. The higher your score, the faster your PC is able to make higher detail texture data available. This is not a traditional benchmark that runs through a scene of the game and returns a min/max/average framerate based on hardware and video settings. Other than the GPU Transcode option, the score will not be affected by changing any video settings. The Transcode Benchmark option can be found in the Settings -> Video Menu.

Error Messaging: If you attempt to apply video settings on a system that is not capable of handling them, an error may come up stating that your system ran out of memory. You will be allowed to continue, however, it is recommended that you either reduce your video settings until this message no longer occurs or you will be asked to restart the game with lower video settings. If you ignore this error and continue playing without altering your settings you will likely encounter texture corruption and/or system instability.

Automatic Video Settings Fallbacks: When an advanced video setting fails to apply, the setting may be set back to a safe default. Anti-aliasing will fall back to NONE if the allocation of a multi-sampled FBO fails. Texture Cache will fall back to SMALL when the allocation of a large texture cache fails. Texture Detail will fall back to OFF when large page table allocations fail. On failure, these settings will automatically fall back to safe values without the need for user input.

Patch Changes / Fixes
-----------------------------
- Fixed crash from potentially having stale transcode jobs in flight when switching between texture cache sizes.
- Fixed crash from using SIMD optimized memcpy with a PBO pointer that is not 16-byte aligned.
- Fixed GPU transcode option always turning off when restarting the game.
- Fixed progression in Dead City where player could not advance through sliding door en route to the defibrillator upgrade.
- Fixed CPU feature detection.
- Fixed issues with launching MP by using double quotes around path name.
- Fixed lack of texture detail on parts of the screen at high resolutions due to limited feedback analysis buffer.
- Fixed thread stack space usage and freed up 700 MB of virtual address space.
- Re-enabled UBOs.
- Adjustments to default VDM values for balance.
PC Gamer
rel="bookmark"
title="Permanent Link to QuakeCon 2012 dates and location announced">QuakeCon



Do you have a penchant for all things related to 1996 computer game Quake and its numerous sequels and spin-offs? Do you own a computer that’s reasonably portable, and have an interest in LAN gaming? Are you free on 2-5 August 2012? Do you live in or around Dallas, Texas, or have the ability to get there for said dates? Do you want to get exclusive news and hands-on experiences with upcoming games from the likes of Bethesda and id? Do you enjoy being brainwashed by corporate sponsorship from 22 different companies? Do you? DO YOU?



If so, there is absolutely no event suitable for you occurring in the next year. Apart, maybe, from , which is taking place at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas on 2-5 August 2012. It’s free and run by volunteers, and in 2010 it attracted some 8,500 people. You might even rub shoulders some of the incredibly famous and good-looking people from PC Gamer there.
Kotaku

Arrested Megaupload Boss Threw Gaming Temper Tantrums?Kim Dotcom, the imprisoned mastermind behind busted file-sharing site Megaupload and, bizarrely, also the top-scoring killer on Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, wasn't always a showboating millionaire. He also ran a competitive video game league in the late-90s. And was by all accounts a rather sore loser.



How sore? Like, banning from his league everyone who beat him at a game of first-person shooter Quake 2. That kind of sore loser.



After our original report on Dotcom went up over the weekend, we heard from old-time Quake 2 players who had encountered the billionaire when he was known online as "Kimble". Using that handle, Dotcom - formerly Kim Schmitz - had become a relatively well-known personality among online PC gamers at the time, in part because he ran a Quake league called Liga.net.



In September 1998, PlanetQuake reported that Kimble, after losing a game against Immortal (at the time one of the world's top players), became so upset he banned his opponent from the league, accusing him of using bots, a form of automated cheating. There are then reports from gamers complaining about Immortal's banning were kicked to the curb right alongside him.



Those booted from Dotcom's Liga.net of course claimed it was Kimble himself that had been cheating, because the other thing he was well-known for, regardless of whether it was true or not, was being a high-profile and notorious users of bots.



Going into more detail was this commenter in the original Modern Warfare 3 story from the weekend:




Back in the days of Quake 2 and the Barrysworld free server network, Dotcom used to troll the Rocket Arena 2 duel arenas as 'www.kimble.org' with an aimbot on his 6ms T1 line, raging people to the point that the entire server would clear, rather than put up with him. Then one day he was faced down and beaten by a girl-gamer on a shitty BT ISDN line - one on one, rail only. He raged so hard that he then dc'ed, looked up the player's name up on Quake.net irc and DDoSed the b0rk.co.uk irc bouncer that she used offline. Having realised he'd accomplished nothing, he then proceeded to DDoS the entire Barrysworld server array for a week, out of petty vengeance for being made to look like a twat. He was a cheating shit now, so I'd very surprised if that #1 position is legit now, either. Take a browse through the PlanetQuake archives if you wanna see the other shit he pulled, like banning the people that beat him in the leagues he admined for liga.net. 100% twat material.




Then there's this gem from a forum thread where a bunch of old Quake 2 players are reminiscing:




I remember him. I played him once on barrysworld (Yeh I'm that old :<). Just about the most blatant cheater you'd ever play. .



I got so pissed off at one point that I focused all my attention and managed to kill him once. Which felt pretty good.



His actual nick was www.kimble.org. Which was some sort of huge ego website of him traveling around the world in luxury cars/jets etc squandering money he scammed of some idiots during the dot.com boom.



Needless to say he was arrested for fraud some time later.



Anyway, the moral of the story is that the personality in game isn't all that different outside the game.




While that "huge ego website" is long gone, if you're curious, it featured pictures like this.







A final note: with this stuff taking place over a decade ago, and Dotcom currently cooling in a cell, we can't get his side of the story.


Kotaku

Arrested Megaupload Boss Cheated His Way To Video Game Glory, Opponents SayKim Dotcom, the imprisoned mastermind behind busted file-sharing site Megaupload and, bizarrely, also the top-scoring killer on Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, wasn't always a showboating millionaire. He also ran a competitive video game league in the late-90s. And was by all accounts a rather sore loser.



How sore? Like, banning from his league everyone who beat him at a game of first-person shooter Quake 2. That kind of sore loser.



After our original report on Dotcom went up over the weekend, we heard from old-time Quake 2 players who had encountered the billionaire when he was known online as "Kimble". Using that handle, Dotcom - formerly Kim Schmitz - had become a relatively well-known personality among online PC gamers at the time, in part because he ran a Quake league called Liga.net.



In September 1998, PlanetQuake reported that Kimble, after losing a game against Immortal (at the time one of the world's top players), became so upset he banned his opponent from the league, accusing him of using bots, a form of automated cheating. There are then reports from gamers complaining about Immortal's banning were kicked to the curb right alongside him.



Those booted from Dotcom's Liga.net of course claimed it was Kimble himself that had been cheating, because the other thing he was well-known for, regardless of whether it was true or not, was being a high-profile and notorious users of bots.



Going into more detail was this commenter in the original Modern Warfare 3 story from the weekend:




Back in the days of Quake 2 and the Barrysworld free server network, Dotcom used to troll the Rocket Arena 2 duel arenas as 'www.kimble.org' with an aimbot on his 6ms T1 line, raging people to the point that the entire server would clear, rather than put up with him. Then one day he was faced down and beaten by a girl-gamer on a shitty BT ISDN line - one on one, rail only. He raged so hard that he then dc'ed, looked up the player's name up on Quake.net irc and DDoSed the b0rk.co.uk irc bouncer that she used offline. Having realised he'd accomplished nothing, he then proceeded to DDoS the entire Barrysworld server array for a week, out of petty vengeance for being made to look like a twat. He was a cheating shit now, so I'd very surprised if that #1 position is legit now, either. Take a browse through the PlanetQuake archives if you wanna see the other shit he pulled, like banning the people that beat him in the leagues he admined for liga.net. 100% twat material.




Then there's this gem from a forum thread where a bunch of old Quake 2 players are reminiscing:




I remember him. I played him once on barrysworld (Yeh I'm that old :<). Just about the most blatant cheater you'd ever play. .



I got so pissed off at one point that I focused all my attention and managed to kill him once. Which felt pretty good.



His actual nick was www.kimble.org. Which was some sort of huge ego website of him traveling around the world in luxury cars/jets etc squandering money he scammed of some idiots during the dot.com boom.



Needless to say he was arrested for fraud some time later.



Anyway, the moral of the story is that the personality in game isn't all that different outside the game.




While that "huge ego website" is long gone, if you're curious, it featured pictures like this.







A final note: with this stuff taking place over a decade ago, and Dotcom currently cooling in a cell, we can't get his side of the story. And we haven't heard of him cheating to get his world's best Modern Warfare 3 ranking, so he must have some skills.


Eurogamer


id Software's seminal FPS Doom returns to Xbox Live Arcade today, publisher Bethesda has announced.


The 1993 classic will set you back a mere 400 Points.


The game was originally made available on Microsoft's download service way back in 2006 but was pulled in October 2009 due to Activision's original publishing rights expiring. Happily, it seems like that's all been sorted out with control reverting to id's owner Bethesda.


It's a rather timely re-release - the game was the subject of a Eurogamer retrospective last weekend.


"The fingerprints (or perhaps the clawmarks) that it left still remain, permanent impressions left in not only our own gaming memories but also across the collective unconscious of modern videogaming," wrote Paul Dean.

Jan 14, 2012
Eurogamer


Holy s***, there's a monster in the lift.


That's not supposed to happen. The lift is the end of the level. It's a safe zone, a chance for a breather before the game totals your score. For God's sake, it's a universally acknowledged cessation of hostilities. But this time, there's a monster in the lift and both my friend and I physically reel with shock, spasming backwards as the thing lurches towards us. Later, at school, we'll laugh with our classmates at all the stories of involuntary noises and slapstick jerking that this new game produces. Then we'll go home and make it happen again.


I suppose it means that we're suckers for punishment, but we're giving as good as we get and our screens are frequently full of pixelated gore, our ears ringing to the sound of screams and explosions. Yeah, that's just how our evenings go.


The two of us are 13 and we've both been playing video games in some form or another since we were toddlers. Doom is not only the best looking thing we've ever seen, but it's also the first game that's ever given us any sense of fear, that's ever reached right down to our brainstem and tugged hard.


The fingerprints (or perhaps the clawmarks) that it left still remain, permanent impressions left in not only our own gaming memories but also across the collective unconscious of modern videogaming. For two young teens in the early 90s, Doom is merely the next big thing in a rapidly-accelerating gaming industry that soon leaves it behind. We never really notice that it's Doom itself which had stamped its boot on that accelerator, but we'll have Doom to thank for so much that we'll come to take for granted, its influence scattered across modern video games like shotgun pellets.


Doom was released in December 1993, and on those long, dark winter evenings we both find moments where we absolutely, positively do not want to progress, where the game makes us so nervous that we refuse to participate. It's a strange experience, feeling nervous about playing a game you so enjoy, but it might be that, just as we're hitting puberty and getting to grips with our emotions, we find our video games are also coming of age. Doom only wants us to get in touch with our emotions too, it just turns out that the most basic of these happens to be fear.


It knows about darkness, it knows about environment, it knows about pacing and it knows about surprise. It likes to cut the lights, to groan from the shadows and, like some wicked labyrinth in a gothic fairytale, even its very structure can't be trusted. Floors fall away into pools of acid, walls suddenly disappear to reveal hordes of hungry hellspawn and, just when you need it, you tentatively reached for a new power-up or weapon only to find yourself enveloped in blackness, listening to the howling of approaching demons. Everything about this game is geared around giving a response to its players, to where two boys go and to what they do.


No game had ever been able to use technology to create such an emotional response before. id's previous shooter, Wolfenstein 3D, was a cartoon shooting gallery in comparison. Doom played with its world as much as it could, demanding that you never trust it, that you always second-guess it. While John Carmack, creator of Doom's game engine, might have pooh-poohed the idea of any sort of background or plot for the game, insisting that "Story in a game is like a story in a porn movie," he was nevertheless able to bury his players into an experience more tangible and visceral than anything they'd ever known.


But to an idealistic young boy like me, Doom was far more important for introducing two things to gaming that I'd long, long yearned for, two things that I'd secretly dreamt of but that I wasn't sure anyone would be able to realise. They were also two things that would have an enormous and lasting impact on all of gaming.


The first was frantic, extraordinary and unpredictable: it was other people. Not other people clustered around the same keyboard or taking turns in some tedious hotseat arrangement. It was other people on other PCs, even people in completely different towns or countries. Anyone who had an internet connection, access to networked PCs or enough money to buy a simple null modem cable could unlock a whole new gaming experience.


In my head I'd imagined how multiplayer Wolfenstein might work, what it would feel like to be part of a cadre of scarred veterans battling the odds and grasping at our gut wounds, but I'd never pictured this much energy, this much sheer adrenalin as you watched one friend's rocket turn a bad guy into pure goo, while another was torn apart beside you by the talons of a gurgling imp.


Nor had I imagined the alternative to this: deathmatch. We could turn the guns on one another, celebrate senseless murder and use every cruel trick of the environment to our advantage. Wickedness overtook us as we became the monsters lurking in the shadows, or the hand on the lever that dropped some unsuspecting soul down into a sea of radioactive waste. We were more devious and deadly than any of the game's monsters, turning its levels into slaughterhouses and abattoirs. We were bastards and we loved it.


Doom also introduced the concept of modification, encouraging its players to tweak and tinker with its media and its levels. Carmack deliberately programmed the game so that replacing sound and graphics would be both simple and reversible. He also made the code for the game's level editor available to the public.


While the move might have seemed like poor business sense, as if id was giving its secrets away for free, it only encouraged even more people to play and to talk about the game while, of course, fostering a whole generation of modders and level creators. I desperately wanted a Star Wars FPS and, a year before Dark Forces was released, I got it. The early internet was afire with discussion and development as both amateurs and professionals tried their hand at modding, inspired by Doom's own devious designer, John Romero.


And these names themselves - Romero, Carmack - became a currency among my friends, the first game developers that were household names to us. We finally saw game developers being treated like film directors and rock stars, being the heroes we'd always felt they were and even behaving like them. The long-haired, trash-talking Romero enjoyed meeting with his fans as much as they enjoyed meeting him, and when five students in Austin, Texas scraped together to buy a space above a café where people could pay to play multiplayer Doom, he turned up to give them his blessing. A dedicated social space, purely for the playing of computer games? I was jealous that we didn't have one.


Developers like Peter Molyneux and Will Wright would become just as fascinating and famous, but it was Doom's designers who were the first to stand out, the first names to become as important as their games. As I turned the pages of the technology and games magazines I collected, I would read of their latest public appearances or, as the years rolled on, their growing estrangement: id software hired and fired more and more staff; the development of their mysterious follow-up, Quake, stalled; Romero eventually left to form Ion Storm.


Among teenage gamers like us, such news spoke of great potential and of great drama. We wanted to know more about the people behind our games, more about who made them and how, and the spats and the self-destruction, the fallouts and the firings gave us all the soap operas and drama that we ever needed, at least as worthy of a dramatisation as Facebook's story was. (And after Carmack and Romero split, neither would develop anything as truly groundbreaking again.)


Doom was also the first time that I ever saw my hobby validated by the wider world. It grew large enough and reached far enough that both the media and the general public began to understand that, young or old, people play games. Doom II was featured in ER. Queen guitarist (and amateur programmer) Brian May expressed his astonishment at the game's technical achievement.


Fantasy maestro Terry Pratchett decided to applaud the game's approach to the problem of evil: "Over the centuries, mankind has tried many ways of combating the forces of evil," he said, "Prayer, fasting, good works and so on. Up until Doom, no one seemed to have thought about the double-barrel shotgun." It even earned a passing reference in Friends (characteristically unfunny, of course).


And then I witnessed controversy unprecedented in both its scope and its ignorance. Even before Doom's release, it was already marked as a game that corrupted young and, despite its popularity waning, it was blamed for inspiring the Columbine Shooting in 1999. After Doom, video games would increasingly find themselves the scapegoats for all social ills, frequently being misrepresented and misreported. Doom II would be the first game that the Entertainment Software Rating Board would classify as "M" for Mature, an implicit acceptance that video games were not just for children, particularly when they involved thrusting a chainsaw into somebody's mouth.


Doom would echo down the years and I saw it reflected again and again in my favourite games, whether I was watching enemies fight one another in Halo; seeing the walls fall away in System Shock; aiming for parts of the environment that would explode in Crusader: No Remorse; watching the shadows in Thief; reloading my shotgun in Counter-Strike. It was the first game I played in a window and the title Bill Gates used to (personally) promote Windows 95's gaming potential.


Both its engine and its ideas had an incalculable influence and more than a few were ahead of their time. It's not always acknowledged that, a decade before Steam existed, Doom's initial distribution happened online.


David Datta, a sympathetic computer administrator at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, allowed id to upload the shareware version of Doom, its first third, to the university's network. From here, other gamers would be able to log in, download it and further host and distribute it online and offline.


id was not interested in a traditional publishing deal, but instead in word of mouth, hoping gamers would pass on shareware copies any way the could, only paying to order the full version. While online distribution may have seemed like a good place to start, id set the trend of developers drastically underestimating their capacity to cope with demand. The University of Wisconsin-Parkside's network collapsed like a house of cards.


When I told my girlfriend that I'd be writing a retrospective on Doom, she asked me if it was scary. I was a little dumbfounded, but she'd been too busy playing on her SNES back then. I tried to explain that Doom was the scary game, but that it wasn't just about fear. Doom pushed gaming in a dozen different directions at once, some of which mattered to me then, some of which I only appreciate now.


There's an old philosophy adage that all western thought is really "a series of footnotes to Plato," so influential was the ancient Greek. When I look back, two decades later, I realise that if my own love of gaming isn't a series of footnotes to Doom, it's at least as peppered by id's shooter as if it had been blasted by a shotgun.


It's no wonder that, 19 years later, it's still being played and talked about in all kinds of places.

...

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