Masters of Doom

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Masters of Doom

Masters of Doom - Hardcover - USA.jpg

Hardcover - USA - 1st edition.

Author David Kushner
Published 2003-05-06
Type Non-fiction
Genre Educational, Memoir
Themes Video Games
Age Group Adult

Masters of Doom: How Two Guys Created an Empire and Transformed Pop Culture is a collection of memoirs written by David Kushner and published on 2003-05-06. It is about the lives of the game developers who co-founded id Software and created the video game Doom, focusing mostly on John Romero and John Carmack. The book describes their lives from childhood into adulthood as they expanded their video game hobby into a career, and into stardom.


Own?Audiobook read by Wil Wheaton.
Read?Audiobook read by Wil Wheaton.

I bought this book in audio book format as part of a Humblie Indie Bundle for game-themed audio books. Being a big fan of the games of id Software, especially Doom, I listened to it.





  • The book goes into a lot of detail about the lives of John Romero and John Carmack, where they obtained their game-making skills, the challenges they faced growing up, and their rise to stardom in the video game industry. It also includes general life stories of Tom Hall, Adrian Carmack, and various other people involved with their lives.
  • Kushner had direct interviews with some of the people in the book, so a lot of the information is first-hand, albeit dated.
  • The book isn't just fan praise, it includes a lot of history which puts the id developers in a negative light including how they abandoned the previous companies they worked for, leaving the owners in a mess, how they fired their own friends, how their awful management styles made their work environments toxic for everyone else, and even how John Carmack had his cat euthanized because she was interrupting his programming too much.


  • Throughout the book, the author gets basic game information wrong. For example, he suggests players tried to "shoot" the Easter egg in Adventure, but the game doesn't even have a way to shoot, he also states VGA stands for "Video Graphics Adapter," instead of the correct, "Video Graphics Array." I noticed about one error like this per chapter, and it makes me question the accuracy of everything else.
  • The book includes a lot of dialogue, but, since the people in the book didn't record their conversations, and the book wasn't written until several years after any of the events transpired, the vast majority of the dialogue can't possibly be accurate. Kushner either recorded the memories of his interview subjects from their interviews, or, more likely, wrote dialogue based on how he thought these people spoke based on his interviews with them. In either case, he never explains his process in the book.


  • Nothing.




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