Why’d I Listen To This Book:
First off, Wil Wheaton, one of the nerd gods narrates Masters Of Doom by David Kushner, so I just had to have it and listen to it. I also figured that Masters Of Doom would be a welcome change of pace – as it’s non-fiction about video gaming. I went in hoping for something a bit similar in tone and geekery as Ready Player One, which actually was kind of a false expectation, yet in all honesty that is exactly why I put this audiobook on my Audible app. Also, I totally used to have Doom but was awful at it, so I like reading books about people who excel in gaming.
What’s It All About:
Basically Masters Of Doom by David Kushner is about how the super popular game Doom came to be. It talks about the two Johns who created the game – John Romero and John Carmack – and their childhoods. The book goes into depth about their personal lives during the creation of various games and new companies. It provides some juicy gossip and drama about the eventual rift that would ensue between the two Johns. OH OH and it also talks about Quake as well, which is another game. There’s plenty of information about how Doom revolutionized the gaming industry as well. I thought the parts about how much coding and work and time and creativity go into making a game were utterly fascinating. As a total info-dork, I love learning about those sort of things.
So, How’d You Feel About The Main Dudes:
Honestly I found the two Johns to be kind of unlikeable. But that may have been because of their portrayal. They are probably perfectly lovely in real life. In Masters Of Doom, one of the Johns is portrayed as egomaniacal and selfish and kind of gross to be honest. The other one is portrayed as cold and fairly unfeeling. At one point, he gets rid of a cat because I guess it did something to annoy him. He also repeats that behavior with members of his company. I was not entirely a fan of that. Granted, I liked both dudes in the beginning when they were working for ‘pizza money.’ I just, eh, I don’t entirely know how fair the brush that this book paints them with is. So, there is that.
But Wait, Didn’t You Have An Issue With This:
I did not like how there were barely any females involved, but am not shocked. The one female who gets some chapter time starts out as a gamer, then works for the company, but then she like loses all this weight, gets a boob job and models for Playboy — so I sort of read that as hmmm, maybe there’s female objectification in the industry, because it felt like she went from human to sex object, ya know? That said, maybe I am reading way too much into that. On the other hand, Masters Of Doom is non-fiction, so it’s not like history can be changed to be more female friendly, and it’s not like they can go back in time and hire more females at their company for the sake of this book. Therefore, I am torn in my feelings about this — I guess I just saw what I felt was misogyny and didn’t really care for it. Take that as you will.
How’s The Narration:
Probably the saving grace of Masters Of Doom by David Kushner is the narration of Wil Wheaton. He is seriously the PERFECT person to narrate the audiobook. He does different voices for each of the characters. His voice sounds like that of gamers I know, so pretty familiar. I cannot imagine someone else narrating this book, to be honest. He also definitely made the 12 hours and 43 minutes of the audiobook go by pretty darn fast. ALSO, I thought the audiobook was well produced, no long awkward pauses or noises. The company who produced it, audiobooks.com, is one that I am not at all familiar with, but they certainly did a stellar job.
Sum It Up With A GIF:
I wanted to love Masters Of Doom and revel in how cool gaming is, but I just could not get over how the industry seems to treat females. I am not sure if that’s an issue with me or the industry. Alas.
Disclosure: Purchased Copy
Other reviews of Masters Of Doom by David Kushner:
Teach Game Design – “certainly gives youngsters a story to wish for and heroes to emulate”