BahdKo's description of: Romero

July, 2001 picture at the CPL Doom2 Tournament


John Romero ... where do I start? I got to meet (and play) him at the 2001 CPL Doom2 tournament. He's one of the original ID software team that created Doom and Doom2. He was the wad author for most of Doom1's episode 1, and some maps throughout Doom2. A bitmap of his head on a stake is what you see, should you use noclipping mode to go into the head of the final boss of Doom2 to search for it's  "brain". He told me that he was the creator of the term "Deathmatch" (its first occurrence, to my knowledge, was the appearance in Doom). His background with game programming and Doom is too enormous for me to try to write about and be anywhere close to complete - - you can read about that if you want at his website, . I should also mention that, to my knowledge, he's the only one of the original Doom creators who shows up in a Doom2 deathmatch supporting capacity, anywhere. He played in Doom2 tournaments both at Fragfest 2000 and the CPL Anniversary event in 2001. If the other ID people like Doom2 deathmatch, they have been liking it in a closet. 

Stylistic information:

Romero says that he loves deathmatch on Doom2 Map11. Seeing as he has the unique distinction of having *created* Map11, I can only imagine that he has an interesting game there. The next time I am at a Doom event with him, I'll have to play him there (he will no doubt destroy me, though).

Polish set up Romero and I in a tournament match at the 2001 CPL tournament. We played our match on Doom2 Map1. Romero seemed to have no experience at modern Map1 gameplay, and admittedly prefers (and probably would be good at) hunter-stalker type maps such as Doom2 maps 13, 16, 18, 27, in addition to Map11. Although, I do believe that if he had time to really study and learn good movement and modern Map1 strategy, he would develop a passable Map1 game. Players who respond to every frag with passion, the way that I saw him do, sometimes get very good, I know several players that way who did.

Other details:

First, two neat stories to recount.

(1) The CPL tournament was held in a large, open room, with the tournament machines segregated off behind a rectangular wall of tables. While the Doom2 tournament was going on, other players could be heard from all over the large room, engaging in different games, and the sounds would occasionally include shouting. So, when I went into my tournament game with John Romero, there was the general sound of gameplay, and an occasional shout, which I easily tuned out.

As the match progressed, I could hear some shouting going on, somewhere. Naturally, I was not paying attention to it, until after one frag where I stepped around the chaingun corner (facing the BFG room) and got a SSG shot in from about 1.5 tiles away, then quickly straferan back, away from the intersection (he had been playing with the rocket launcher). Immediately after the frag, I heard the shouting guy yell "Bullshit!!!". After that, I started paying attention, and I came to realize that the guy who was shouting his head off in-game was Romero. After almost every time he died, he would yell something; pretty loud, too.

Romero later stated in email that yelling a lot in deathmatch is normal for him, and it does not mean that he is not enjoying his game. After the game, he had a great, positive attitude, which seems to support that. When I remember how it went, all the shouting is kind of funny.

(2) John Romero told a fascinating story about how the Turbo function came to exist in Doom2. It went like this:

The guys at ID had been deathmatching a lot, and Romero had become one of the higher skilled players among the group. The P-60 became available for the first time during this period, and Romero got one right away and began using it in games. This caused him to beat them worse than he had been in the past, as they were all still using their 486's.

Shawn Green went to John Carmack's office and told him what was happening, and asked if there was anything he could do to help. Carmack thought about it for a moment and then said "yes" ...

This is when John Carmack wrote the Turbo function into the game, and in this first implementation, there were no "Player is Turbo" messages to warn the other player. The speed of the turbo was set up so that the player with turbo would move at a speed of a run while only walking, and then to run at an extra high speed, he would activate the speed key.

The entire office at ID was told about the addition, except for Romero. A deathmatch game was arraigned between Shawn Green and Romero on Map13, and before the game, Shawn Green talked some smack to Romero, saying how he was going to win this game. Before their game, Robert Prince secretly set up his audio DAT recorder  near Romero. Then, the game started.

Shawn Green, naturally, overwhelmed Romero this way, and would simply race up, catch, and kill Romero. It was not immediately obvious in-game, however, that Shawn was getting these frags due to the speed boost. Shawn was concealing the turbo use through judicious application of the turbo toggle and the invisibilities on the map.

As the game progressed, Romero knocked his Dr. Pepper over without realizing it, and it got into his mouse. He tried to play like that for a while, but the mouse gummed up. This further aggravated his already unbelievable deathmatch struggle, until he realized why the mouse was not responding correctly.

All of these events - - the gummed up mouse, the unstoppable frags - - resulted in a cacophony of shouting and cursing, which was gleefully recorded by the DAT recorder.

Then, finally, the last straw came. Romero was running toward the berserk on the ground, the one that sits next to the staircase. Shawn Green, who had formerly been behind Romero, turboed right past him, streaked up the stairs, dropped down onto the berserk from above, and splatted Romero with a berserk fist just as he made it to the corner. The impact and obvious speed boost of that frag got a particularly strong reaction.

Romero has exerpts from this DAT recording saved on his hard drive, and says he might release them in the future (heh!).

John Romero was fun to hang out with at CPL. He was an animated guy with a lot of fun things to talk about. I hope that the doom players of the world, especially those who would say ignorant things about him for various reasons, keep in mind that out of all the ID guys, he seems to be the one that is "closest" to us, as far as public appearances would indicate. I've never even heard of any other ID guys showing up for Doom2 deathmatch action in the past 5 years, and here is Romero as a registered participant in the tournament in 2001.

I have a signed mousepad from John Romero!!!! Mine, all mine!!

Lastly, he recently wrote this to me in email:

I have been an avid deathmatcher ever since the invention of
deathmatch (in fact, I created the word "deathmatch" too) and I
will *always* support DOOM deathmatch in any way I can. It is
quite simply my favorite game to deathmatch in because of the
awesome movement speed and weapon balancing

Is that cool, or what?