John Romero on playing Doom with his kids, and his favorite modern version

You don't often get the chance to test your skills against one of the most influential game designers in the world.

Doom co-creator John Romero is taking on attendees at GDC 2014, with select players given the chance to test their skills directly against the developer.

I asked what you could tell about someone by how they played Doom. “Well if you’re good at aiming, right? That’s one thing, but not the speed and movement," Romero said. "Doom’s speed and movement is super-fast. It only slowed down over the years in other games, even Quake is slower than Doom. Each Quake has gotten progressively slower, and a lot of games just copy how fast people really walk and run."

“When they play Doom, they’ll see how crazy fast it is. If you don’t know the levels, and you haven’t played a really high-speed death match? Well… you’ll learn.”

Romero doesn't normally play against a variety of players and developers in this environment, although he often travels to tournaments to see how well his skills hold up. He claimed he's still able to hold his own.

“I’m not the best, I’m not like… Thresh (Dennis Fong, a competitive Doom player who rose to fame in the 90s) was incredible. Real pro players are at another level, I’ve never dedicated eight hours of practice a day to play Doom," he explained. "The people who do that are insane, they’re awesome players. I don’t play at that level, but I play at a pretty good level for not spending my life practicing.”

While he doesn't practice in a rigorous way for competitive play, the game is still enjoyed in his home. “My kids and I play all the time. We played at the Doom 20th anniversary. My kids come over and they play Doom and Quake, and deathmatch that. Ghost Recon, just different games. We still play retro games.”

There is a wide variety of ways to play the classic first-person shooter, so which version does Romero play when he wants to enjoy the game today?

"We play Doomsday. It’s on Windows and Mac, it’s got a really nice server set up, and it’s really graphical, it’s easy to get into, you don’t need to edit a config or any of that stuff," he explained. "It’s really recent, they keep it up to date, and that’s what I use."

More from Polygon

The horror of Five Nights at Freddy's

  • Dark Souls 2: Crown of the Old Iron King Overview

  • Spacecom: a fast 4X built for multiplayer

  • Pillars of Eternity builds on role-playing classics

  • Tour the 1 KB hard drive built inside Minecraft

Latest Discussions

Log In Sign Up

Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new Polygon username and password

As part of the new Polygon launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to Polygon going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new Polygon username and password

As part of the new Polygon launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to Polygon going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.



Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.