Playing Romero’s New Game

Okay sorry, you’ve been click baited a little. I haven’t played John Romero’s new shooter – of course I haven’t! The ‘game’ I refer to is following the stealth marketing campaign that surrounds the new shooter, and uncovering its mysteries.

Once a month I take time out of developing my Asteroids-like game, Sons of Sol: Crow’s Nest to blog on gaming news. I’ve been following this story with great curiosity recently.

Last weekend I did a hefty amount of research into Hoxar, the mysterious (and fictional) augmented reality company that lies at the heart of this mystery. During this past week a lot has been hinted and teased, including the fact that “On April 25th at 11 am EDT, the full details of Night Work’s upcoming game will be revealed”.

What I’m writing down today is a summary of what’s happened, what’s known, and (a little bit) what I think the new Romero shooter is going to be. While I may be proven wrong in just two days, this is something of a snapshot in time for posterity’s sake. Plus if I’m right, I’ll seem like an awesome games journalist and PC Gamer should probably think about giving me a job (if they’re reading.. hint hint).

The one thing I’ll give you for free before we kick off is that the new game is NOT called ‘Hoxar’. A reliable source high up in the studio confirmed that to me.

The Return

On April 20th, John Romero’s YouTube Channel released the video above and the gaming press have picked it up. It’s the most visible element in the campaign leading to the announcement of the new shooter.

If you’re reading this blog, chances are you’ve already seen it and know its significance, but hopefully I’ll tell you some things you don’t know.

Adrian Carmack opens the video, playing a role analogous to Rey from Star Wars Episode 7. Adrian (artist) was the co-founder of id Software with John Romero, Tom Hall and John Carmack (no relation) where they pioneered the shooter genre with games like Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, and Quake. He’s also credited with coining the term “gibs” – short for “giblets”. 

None of the original four co-founders work at id any more and to the best of my knowledge, Romero and Adrian haven’t done a game together since Quake in 1996.
The same source that I mentioned before has confirmed that Adrian is involved in the production of the new shooter – not just this teaser.

In the video, Adrian’s ‘Rey’ character approaches Romero’s ‘Luke Skywalker’ and proffers him a keyboard and mouse (lightsaber), initiating Romero’s “Return”. John Romero hasn’t stopped working in games, so the presumption is that, instead of a return to game development, it’s a return specifically to the genre that they pioneered together – First Person Shooters.

As proof, The Return points towards the new Night Work Games Ltd whose currently sparse website does prominently display the text “A NEW FIRST-PERSON SHOOTER IS BEING BUILT AT NIGHT WORK GAMES LTD. IN GALWAY, IRELAND”.

According to the same site “Night Work Games Ltd. is the dark and violent subsidiary of Romero Games Ltd”, which is also now based in Galway.

As trivia; the video was created by 2 Player Productions, the same team that did the Double Fine Documentary and Minecraft: The Story of Mojang. Apparently, hearing that Romero was now based in Ireland, they decided to mimic the famous scene from the end of The Force Awakens. The final scene from Episode 7 was filmed on Sceilig Mhicíl (Skellig Michael) in County Kerry off the West coast of Ireland. This video was filmed in Connemara, about 200km North of the Skelligs, and on the mainland.

Adrian Carmack has also had an Irish base of operations for a little while, having bought a 5-star hotel in County Laois in 2014.


Anyone who signed up to the Night Work Games newsletter or who’s been following John or Brenda Romero’s Twitter feeds will have caught wind of something called ‘Hoxar’. It’s been floating around for a few weeks before we knew anything about Night Work Games or The Return.

Shack News seem to have scooped the Hoxar story on April 15th, with Romero confirming (in a way) the validity via Twitter.

Hoxar’s website (registered in February this year), at a casual glance, appears to be just some technology company interested in revolutionary VR. But if you read a little into it, you realise that they’re calling VR (which is only just getting started) “a thing of the past”.

The biggest clue that they’re not real is probably that their technology has “sight, sound, smell, and touch components”.. nobody in their right minds is working on smellovision. That train has sailed. (although – that’s what they said about VR..)

If you Google Image search any of the photos on the site you can see that they come from stock photo websites or similar, and you won’t find any of the supposed employees on LinkedIn or anywhere else.

A lot of detail has gone into the site, and there’s even job openings. Apparently, a PR company is helping with this game, so presumably this whole Hoxar thing is part of their brief while Night Work Games makes the actual game.

What the company supposedly do is develop “BLACKROOM”, an extremely (impossibly) advanced virtual reality experience that doesn’t require any headsets. It includes advanced AI and uses hoxels (holographic pixels). It has entertainment, therapeutic, and military applications. The kicker though is their PMT (Predictive Memory Technology). Read the site’s info itself if you want, but essentially, in the fiction, it reads people’s memories and extrapolates more realistic experiences based on what the user would expect to happen.

The Social Media Fiction

Again, you can track it all down in detail yourself but in short; Through the Hoxar Facebook and Twitter pages, as well as their various newsletters, they’ve told us of how their tests with the technology are proceeding. A woman got to reunite with her dead mother and find closure – great!

There was also a military test that went wrong and is basically being examined – not so great! But this is why you test! Nothing to worry a bout..

This smacks of the kind of thing you hear on the TV or radio at the start of a horror movie before the hero turns it off, thinking nothing of it, only to have it start chewing on his or her leg thirty minutes later.

Hoxar certainly seems to be this game’s equivalent of Doom‘s UAC (Union Aerospace Corporation). When will the scientists learn?!

The other thing to note is that the dates mentioned in all posts are in April 2036. Presumably, many people have glanced right past the dates, not noticing that there’s one digit out of place. So while we’re getting ‘live’ updates every other day, the fiction presumes that we’re in 2036.

The Invitation

In the Hoxar newsletter of April 24th, they have a post about Curse of the Ebon Raven, an “entertainment HoloSim” horror game so intense that nobody has yet made it through.

The end of the announcement said “To arrange an engagement, contact please contact Thexder Roy at”.

I find this curious because it’s the only mention of this so far, and the game is about to be announced in two days. I’m not sure where they can go with this one (unless the hauntings turn out to be real! – ooooohhh). Nevertheless, I bit, and answered the email. To my surprise, I got a response. See below.

This email was sent out 1 minute after yesterday’s newsletter from Night Work Games. A minute is 60 seconds. 6 times 10. Ignore 10. 6. The first, second, and third numbers in ‘666’, the number of the beast! Coincidence? Wake up people!!

Okay so I’m not sure what to make of that one, but I know I’m not flying to Scottsdale to drive up 3 miles of road to an empty construction site. I put this down to just an extra level of detail to the crafting of the game’s mystique, and I have to say that I’m impressed. The reason I say that is actually my next point.

The Address

One of the most curious things that I found (and I haven’t seen any other media mention it so far) is the company address. Other media have rightly claimed that the company is registered in Scottsdale, Arizona (note that the company name isn’t trademarked with the USPTO, which would have been done for a real company of this size), but they haven’t examined the address.

11666 East Del Cielo Drive. The 666 seems like an obvious hint towards devilish themes (‘del cielo’ means ‘from the sky’), but it goes deeper than that. This is remote. 5 miles outside of Scottsdale, and 3 miles from the nearest road that the Google Street View car has visited. 

Because I couldn’t get a look through Street View, I used the satellite photos (I feel like such a spy! I love living in the future!). See the photos below.

There’s nothing there! How curious. There is a reasonably sizeable structure built into the side of the hill a little bit down the road. If I was feeling particularly conspiratorial, I’d accuse it of being a bunker built into the hillside. This is a real satellite photo, remember. You can go to Google Maps and find this yourself.

Companies can put their addresses into Google Maps, so I think it’s probable that 11666 was deliberately placed there by the game’s marketers, and not that the address was pre-existing. But, that said, you can also find results for 11665, 11664, etc. If you explore the satellite views on the way up this road, there are a few (very large, very nice) homes built nearby.

I do think there’s something to this, but I couldn’t say what, exactly. Why didn’t Romero and co just completely make up an address? It didn’t have to be searchable on Google Maps. It wouldn’t be the first conspiracy theory to come out of the deserts of the Western United States though. Most likely it’s all just part of the theme building and the fact that it’s searchable is just another layer of game-detail for the curious gamer to appreciate. It’s good design to reward Explorer-type players, because they spread stories about their findings (like I am now) and hype the game for just a small amount of content creation.

The Timing

How ready could this game be? Is it just starting out or has it been happening for years under our noses? In 2012, John Romero told Eurogamer “Yes, I’m definitely going to be making another shooter and it will be on PC first,” he explained. Read the article here. If the game he mentioned in that article is the one he’s about to announce, it could almost be done.
It would also mean that it was developed in the US, since that’s where the Romeros were based until moving to Ireland in 2015, a decision they apparently only made after visiting Ireland in 2014. Night Work Games is based in Ireland, as I’ve mentioned.

Could it be a coincidence that this new game will be announced to the world less than 3 weeks before the new Doom game releases on May 13th? 

May will also see the release of shooters Homefront: The Revolution (single & multi player open world game), Overwatch and Battleborn (both largely multiplayer ‘cutesy’ shooters). This year will also give us Cliff Bleszinski’s Lawbreakers as well as possibly the new Unreal Tournament, the original of which Bleszinski also created.

I find the timing curious. It’s doubtful that those big titles were looking over their shoulder for what Romero could be doing, since he’s been involved more in mobile and social games for years. Gearbox were more concerned with what Blizzard were doing, and vice versa. Then rises a phoenix from the ashes. A small new company (like id was) set to blow the comfortable competition out of the water.. maybe..

I speculate, but regardless of whether the timing was deliberate or not, the new Doom and the new Romero shooter will definitely be compared. If Romero’s shooter is actually close to releasing, the two games will be locking horns in a comic-book style grudge match for the ages. This could be a real life Batman vs Superman for games (though hopefully good).

What type of shooter could it be?


Well this is all speculation now, but the Hoxar stuff certainly hints at experimental technology gone wrong and has military and horror overtones. Doom and Quake certainly match those descriptions. Add to that the fact that Adrian Carmack is involved and I’d certainly say that we’re looking at some sort of demonic, mutant, or alien sci-fi horror shooter.

Indeed, Night Work Games’ website background is the surface of the moon, and the ‘o’ in ‘Work’ is a picture of the moon. Of course this could just be in reference to “Night”, but it’s quite possible that it’s a double entendre, since this studio has only recently been founded in order to put out this one specific game.

Single or Multi Player?

There’s no way in Hell that John Romero is teasing a “Return” to the first person shooter if it doesn’t at least include multiplayer Deathmatch. Call that confirmed right now!
The aforementioned Eurogamer article from 2012 did say “Romero also hinted at a “MMO-ish” style of play, with a persistent world and data” so if that’s anything to go by we can expect some PvP action, but hopefully also the option for some solo quests.

Tech Level?

Wolfenstein, Doom, and Quake were all famous for pushing technical boundaries, and while Hoxar hints at high-tech augmented reality, I think the obvious fallacy of that site doesn’t point us reliably at a cutting-edge technology or a VR based game. It still could be, but I don’t think anything hints at it.

The original id games were all driven by John Carmack’s ground-breaking tech, but he’s currently working with Oculus and has been for years. It seems very unlikely that he’s involved or that this will be a VR shooter.

On the other hand, it’s stated that this is a PC FPS, with no mention of consoles. Could this be because it’ll require a high-end PC to run? It does seem possible.


Romero has said over the past few years that he craves the speed and skill of the old shooters, and that modern cover shooters don’t satisfy him, so we can certainly expect this game to be fast and have heavy retro influences. I wish it would be sprite-based, like Doom, but Romero said in the Eurogamer article that it won’t be.

I’m sure of one thing, though: Knowing John Romero’s renowned penchant for spectacle and his love of first person shooters, we can expect this to be something special!

In Conclusion

Stealth marketing campaigns are fun (if you care about the content). In effect, they’re the meta-game already begun.

For anyone who’s been participating, they’re basically playing the prologue of the game. Sure, it happens to be a detective game and not a shooter, but the slow building of anticipation, and the excitement when you read into a new clue and imagine the implications – that’s marketing gamified! Romero has always been an exceptional game designer, able to empathise with the player’s experience. 

The Hoxar campaign is, to me, early evidence of a legendary game designer back in the saddle, and I’m excited to see what news comes on Monday, April 25th 2016, at 8am Pacific Time, 11am Eastern, or 4pm Irish.

Until next time..


Never Played DOOM Multiplayer against John Romero!

 The enticing event poster
The enticing event poster

So an event matching the characteristics (exactly) described in the above poster occurred in Galway. I was at it. It was very entertaining so let’s talk about that.

Three weeks ago I’d never played the game Doom, and two weeks ago I wrote this blog post on the topic. It was after that that this charity deathmatch was announced in Galway, so it’s entirely a coincidence that I have a very suitable follow up to that blog so soon, but it’s a happy coincidence.

I live in Co.Wicklow, just south of Dublin on Ireland’s East Coat. Galway is Ireland’s cultural Mecca and is to be found on the West coast so going to the event would mean driving clear across the country. In Ireland that amounts to roughly a two hour drive, though. When I learned that I would be able to show my game Sons of Sol in the indie demo room next door to the tournament, I was sold. Dan (from the team making Onikira, who lives close to me) and I packed up the car and drove over on Saturday morning to Pulse College in Galway, who were kindly hosting the event and providing equipment. On the way we discussed how boned we were, in my case because I’d never played multiplayer in Doom, and in Dan’s because he hadn’t played in years. 

 Indie gamers show their wares, with Onikira on the big screen, and Goblin's Grotto, Darkside Detective and Trench visible in the background.
Indie gamers show their wares, with Onikira on the big screen, and Goblin’s Grotto, Darkside Detective and Trench visible in the background.

We arrived to Pulse early to set up our own games and spent the hours before the tournament playing the games from the other developers, as organised by the Galway Game Dev group. There were also Street Fighter and Hearthstone tournaments on, as organised by Galway Gaming Tribes, but the big draw was definitely the Doom tournament, which offered a chance to take on John “The Surgeon” Romero, the game’s creator, whose deathmatch skills are legendary.

John and Brenda Romero arrived to the college in the early afternoon and while the machines were being set up, had an interview with Hit Start Now. At time of writing the interview isn’t up yet, but it will be available at that link. They also have one with the Romeros from 2014 while you’re waiting.

The excitement really started to rise as the seeds were drawn up for the tournament. It would be a 1 vs 1 deathmatch, first to 20 kills, played on Doom 2 maps, with the games running through Zandornum. To my horror, this happened..

 First game of the tournament: me vs John Romero. I tweeted this photo with the caption
First game of the tournament: me vs John Romero. I tweeted this photo with the caption “I’m DOOMed”. 😛

So I’d be knocked out in the first game. Ah well. At least I’d get to play vs John. I realised I was quite lucky, really, since in a knock out tournament, not everybody would. I’d also be playing him in his first game of the day, so maybe I’d even get a couple of kills while he warmed up, I thought. That said, this game would also be the first time I had ever (EVER) played a multiplayer Doom game, and I don’t know where the secrets and weapons are on any levels, so I didn’t have much chance even of that. I haven’t even played an arena-style shooter since Unreal Tournament 1 as far as I can remember. Not even so much as Call of Duty’s multiplayer. Battlefield or Planetside 2 were more my thing for multiplayer, and if you’re a shooter fan, you’ll know that’s of no help. The only thing I had going for me was that I had at least played Doom 1 and 2 to completion in the two weeks prior, and so had a slight idea of the level layouts, even if I couldn’t find the weapons I wanted on them.

I thought some intimidation might boost my chances. Some smack talk, and false-confidence. I tweeted this after the picture of those seeds (not believing my own caption for a second).

“He looks nervous” 😛
 The first map,
The first map, “Entryway” is very small, flat, easy to learn quickly, and with very few secrets or ambush points. This was to my advantage.. a bit.

We sat at our computers, John’s one hooked up to a projector so that the gathered spectators could watch the pro in action. The servers were set up, loading the first level of Doom 2, “Entryway”. While observing the setup, John made a comment “Oh, no monsters”. Seeing an opportunity to intimidate my opponent I said “Just wait John. One’s coming”. Ask me if it worked… It didn’t. But it got a couple of laughs.

We both spawned into the level and just ran around to make sure all the settings were working and that we were comfortable with how our controls were set up. The first time I ever saw John Romero in-game, so, we simply ran past each other in the corridor, almost waving genially. While he was just testing, I was frantically searching every corner, trying to mentally mark out where I’d find the best weapons and armour. In such a small level, I actually learned this fairly quickly and so wouldn’t be at as big a disadvantage when we would start the map proper. John fired the first shot in the practice run, and so I fired back. The crowd gathered, most of them unable to see my screen but watching the action through John’s eyes on the projector screen. We traded a bit of damage, and even a kill or two, before all was ready to go and it was announced that the tournament would start when we reset the level. 

The whistle was blown (edit: there was no whistle) and we both spawned into the level. I spawned right next to the BFG 9000, the best gun in the game, and smiled. Leaving the first room and heading down the corridor towards the armour I spotted John heading into the armour room too and opened fire. I believe I missed. I won’t exaggerate and pretend to remember every detail of the match, but I believe that in this first encounter, John ran and allowed me to waste my shots, then returned with a rocket launcher. We were stuck in the tight corridors where any fired rocket would, if it didn’t hit you directly, be sure to hit a wall and deal you a heavy amount of damage regardless. My tactic was, if I only had the pistol, I’d run, and if I’d anything better I’d move in close so John would risk hurting himself if he fired the rocket at me, while I chipped away with his health with a pulse rifle or shotgun.

“Romero wins”. We got used to seeing that.

I believe John got the first kill, but to my great surprise, I managed to claw back a kill or two for every few he’d get on me and the crowd would cheer (in my head they would anyway). This semblance of parity was largely thanks to the level, I think. In a corridor there’s nowhere to run from a pulse rifle, rocket, or BFG, which all deal the heaviest damage but are difficult to use well at range or in the open. This basically meant that I could deal as much damage as John could, and do it as accurately. Both of us knew where each weapon was, and if you see the other player on this map, you know he can’t get behind you as it’s so linear. I was unlucky a few times as I would die and spawn back in the very same room with only my pistol and John’s pulse rifle for company. I believe I got a bit predictable as well as I went for the pulse rifle a lot, and John’s skill allowed him to shoot a rocket into my path to deflect my jump and so I’d miss the rifle and land with an inferior weapon again. The real difference was in experience, though. Many times I’d chase John around a corner just to run into a perfectly timed rocket coming back at me. These cunning traps and near-omniscient predictions are what separate champions from the lay men. I endeavoured to be less predictable. To let him escape when he ran, or to just close the distance and keep firing when he might have expected me to run. It wasn’t enough, but I was more than happy with my performance. Final score on my first even multiplayer game of Doom: John Romero 20 – 8 Kevin. Maybe my intimidation tactics actually had an effect.

I now believed myself to have been knocked out, but we were actually playing Double Elimination Tournament as it turned out. This meant that I went into a loser’s group and would still get to play until I lost again. In the mean time, others paired off and played their first rounds. Dan (who I came with, remember?) won his first and continued in the winner’s group. This meant we wouldn’t play each other. After the first round, some people had disappeared, including my opponent for round 2. Losing their first match I think they’d thought (like me) that they were out and went home. In fairness to the organisers, they did explain the rules clearly at the start, I just didn’t quite follow because I’m a big thicko, apparently. I advanced by default. Dan won his 2nd and 3rd matches fair and square, on the other hand.

The time between my first match and my second (in the third round) was actually about three hours. I spent a lot of this time watching the projector and seeing how John played. No matter how complex for labyrinthine the level (each round had a different level) John knew exactly where to go to find the super-armour, health packs, BFG or night vision goggles. I watched. I memorised the locations as best I could. After all, I’d be playing on one of these maps next, with no idea whether my opponent would be a first timer, or a hardcore Doom guy.

 The tournament proceeded
The tournament proceeded

When setting up for my second match, neither I nor my opponent could get our sound working, so we agreed to just fight deaf, in a very dark and confusing level. This game lasted a long long time since we couldn’t follow the sounds of opening and closing doors that hint at your enemy’s position. This level (the Waste Tunnels) featured a pitch-black sewer area where the rocket launcher could be found. I had memorised the route John Romero took to find the IR goggles to see in the dark, and so every time I engaged my opponent in the unlit parts of the map, I had a real advantage. Even elsewhere, I still usually had a rocket launcher and he didn’t. I didn’t know that he didn’t have the IR goggles until after the match. Because we played for so long, I also got used to where to go to find the BFG and its replacement ammo; before my opponent did it, seemed. These two things gave me the clear advantage and I won the match by a wide margin. It was hilarious though when we’d engage in long gun duels in total silence. It reminded me of interpretive dance.

If I have this right, Dan then won his 4th round and advanced to the semi-final. John Romero was, of course, winning every match, though a few guys clearly knew the maps very well and fared a lot better against him than I would have. My fourth round opponent had also left early it seemed, and so I advanced by default to the semi-final with only one actual win under my belt.

John and Dan then met in the semi-final. No offence at all to Dan, but it was a slaughter. 20-0. The map was a nightmare. “‘O’ of Destruction”. It featured a huge acid pit in the middle, and many many side rooms, dark sections, hidden areas, a lot of teleporters, a lot of long sight lines, and a LOT of verticality. This means your opponent can be above or below you, but Doom is odd in that everything is technically on the same level as far as the engine is concerned. If you shoot in front of you and your target is in front of you (no matter how high or low they are) you’ll hit them if there’s no wall in the way. Add to this the fact that the BFG can damage you through walls. Add to this the fact that John Romero knows where the BFG is and Dan didn’t (I think, anyway). Dan got a hold of the pulse rifle quite often, but its shots move slowly and in the open, John had plenty of room to run away, teleport around to flank Dan, then shoot a BFG shot at the most unlikely-looking of targets, then hit Dan twenty metres above and behind a wall. That’s hard to watch. That’s knowing a game inside out. That’s pro level gaming. This kind of level shows that you can’t play Doom like a modern shooter and expect to beat a pro, or even stand a chance. You have to know all the tricks. I was lucky in that the first level I played John in didn’t really have any of those tricks. “O’ of Destruction” has them all.

At around the same time, my semi-final was played against another guy on that same map. Having watched people play earlier, I knew where to find the BFG and pulse rifle, and while I played I also learned where to find the normal and super-heavy armours. Again, I was lucky in that my opponent didn’t. He knew where to find the pulse rifle and kept going there. This allowed me to ambush him here many times. If he’d hurt me, I knew where to find the nearby armour and he didn’t. If there’s one secret to success at Doom, it’s knowing the levels. I’ve always been competitive, and as I started the day at, in my estimation, a knowledge disadvantage, I was sure to watch the games on the projector as much as possible and study up. This paid off! Stay in school, kids! Each of us actually made the mistake of pressing the ‘use’ key on the big skull in the level. In single player this advances you to the next level. In multiplayer it kills you and gives you -1 point. This match ended 20 to -1. I actually did feel bad as without the other guy knowing what I then knew about the level, I felt unsportsmanlike, but the whole room was waiting for the match to finish to see who’d play in the final. The match lasted probably twenty five minutes and that’s with me trying my hardest so I powered through mercilessly, though still bantering and trying to explain where the BFG could be found.

 Romero's screen broadcasting for all to see. This photo might have been him killing me, actually.
Romero’s screen broadcasting for all to see. This photo might have been him killing me, actually.

So, I was through to the final. It had been a long day. I’d only played three matches but I’d been standing for hours and was wrecked. John had played all his games plus a number of friendlies. I joked that maybe he was tired and that I had a chance. Since he’d already beaten me on the easiest level, and just beaten Dan 20-0 (Dan had been killing it against normal folk, by the way) everyone knew I didn’t. I decided I’d be happy with a few kills though.

I’ve explained how having a flat level with nowhere to hide levels the playing field and gives the newcomer a better chance against the pro who knows every map. John had selected “Dead Simple” for the final level, which is, once again, a flat and simple level. The choice was possibly because it was getting late and nobody wanted to watch another 30 minute game of hide and seek. Everyone had gathered to watch some fast action in the final. It’s also just a very fair and symmetrical map, though, and so this also makes it a good choice for a final match.

We shook hands, we took our seats, and the game began.

 The map for the final.
The map for the final. “Dead Simple”

About three seconds in, I caught a BFG to the face and died. I then respawned next to the BFG and attempted to return the favour. John declined my generosity however but offered in return a barrage of rockets. The score quickly climbed against me. The map features a central courtyard and an outer wall section. If you’re in the back corner of the map (like where the BFG is, at the top left corner) you can see your opponent coming from a distance. This makes the pulse rifle, rockets, or BFG easier to avoid here, and favours your use of bullet weapons like the shotgun or minigun. I shied away from the central area both because you’re easier to spot, and because I knew that it wasn’t where to find the BFG. I never did find armour on the map though, and so in every engagement I dropped quickly.

When it came to banter, we were both on top form, though. I remember John said “bye bye” and fired a hail of rockets. I dodged them and closed in with a shotgun saying “don’t say goodbye if you don’t mean it”. I was going to lose, but I was going to give the best fight I could first, smack talk and all. I said that if I could get enough sick burns I might claim the moral victory. I didn’t dare cast my eyes up to the projector that the crowd were watching but several times I heard the crowd yelling for me to “chase him down”, and realised that I’d almost killed John but he was running for more health and/or armour. I’d follow but he’d have disappeared. Fearing an ambush I’d retreat back the way I came. If John fired a BFG I’d run out around the walls. He’d fire ahead of me, hoping to damage me through the wall, but unseen I’d have doubled back and fired a shotgun blast at him. So went the match, but John was on top form, and I was out of my depth. I was immensely satisfied with a final score of 20 to 2. I got him with the super shotgun and a BFG I believe, and the crowd did cheer to see Romero die, but in each case I was quickly hunted down and repaid with interest.

After a hearty handshake and a couple of photos (below) I was given some prizes. This was unexpected as I had lost, but apparently second place was considered the “non-John-Romero winner”. I’d like to thank Sub-City Comics and Logitech  very much for the prizes, in this case.

All proceeds from the event went to Cancer Care West. As I’ve been writing I was checking facts with (and getting some photos from) Paul Conway of Doomcube, who along with Chris Colston organised the event. Joe Neary from Galway Gaming Tribes was also instrumental along with volunteers Mike Gilmartin, Shane Marks, Niall O’Reilly and Eoin Butler Thornton. Many thanks to all of them for putting on a great event, and for allowing myself and other indie developers to show our own games off.

Lastly, many thanks to John Romero for his time at the event and for an education in what real Deathmatch is, was, and should always continue to be. Having now seen both the single and multiplayer sides of Doom, I can see why it became the instant phenomenon that it did back in 1993 and why that popularity has persisted to this day with a myriad pale imitations of Doom, the original and best!

 Good sport was had, though this picture sums up the nature of it.
Good sport was had, though this picture sums up the nature of it.