Doom is 20 years old today. 20 years ago, I was a fresh grad returning home from a journey that had taken me to the other side of the planet.
One last souvenir to bring back with me was a precious 5-and-a-half inch floppy disk with the freeware version of Doom on it. Technically, the program was free. But id Software's servers had crashed, not being able to cope under the overwhelming demand on release day. My flight was scheduled that very night, so my absolute last commute to downtown TO was to hit a computer store that charged me a princely $5 for a free game.
I'd seen the demo in a shop window and was blown away. Wolfenstein 3D was already something to obsess over, blocky and pixellated as it was. Doom smoothed out a lot of the blockiness, making the monsters look so much more realistic, lighting effects made the environment more atmospheric, working stairs and elevators gave the illusion that there was an 'up' and 'down' adding two more degrees of movement to the usual four (forwards, backwards, left, right). I wasn't dreaming of coming home for Christmas; I was dreaming of battling demon-aliens on Phobos.
Needless to say, the more you want something now, the longer you have to wait for it. When I finally arrived home, the ants in my pants had already grown to colossal size -- but my suitcase simply would not open. The locks held under different permutations of 3-digit combinations. I realized that this. was. not. my. suitcase. In catching my connecting flight in SFO, I must have grabbed the wrong one off the carousel. Hey, it was 0200 in the morning.
The next day, I brought the not-my-suitcase back to the airport and reported my own as missing. The response was immediate. Somehow, my suitcase had followed me back and was waiting to be collected in the unclaimed baggage department. BTW, my suitcase looked nothing like the suitcase I swiped from SFO. Mr Blur strikes again.
Finally. Finally! After about 48 hours unnecessary delay, gaming Valhalla opened its gates to me. The rest is history. My name is Xmac and I am a gamerholic.