Book Review: Doom Guy: Life in First Person by John Romero

by Julia DeKorte | 31 Aug 2023

Book Reviews

Doom Guy: Life in First Person, a memoir by John Romero, was published last month – and it is not a book you want to miss. John Romero is most famous for his contributions to the creation of Doom, a 1993 first-person shooter video game that helped define and shape gaming and internet culture for years to come. Romero’s memoir is excellently told, due in part to his hyperthymesia, a rare condition that gives him a near-perfect memory of his entire life. He discusses his troubled childhood during which he experienced physical and emotional abuse, his upbringing as a Mexican American and member of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe, a troubled marriage, and his career in programming.


Romero also addresses the dialogue around his partnership with John Carmack, with whom he created Doom with. Though their historic split spurred many myths of bitterness, Romero dispels the rumors in a chapter of his memoir. The two collaborated on Id Software, where Carmack built the tools Romero used to design games. Together, they created opportunities for future designers, programmers, and creators in the gaming industry.


Romero’s memoir is full of his gracious and generous personality, speaking on his great accomplishments with humility. His storytelling is captivating, walking readers through the different eras of his life in great detail and with beautiful prose. He is honest in his recollections, professional in talking about past colleagues, and makes it easy for anyone to read about his life; you don’t have to be well-versed in computer jargon to understand what went into the programming and creation of his famous video game.


John Romero’s accomplishments paved the way for many of the games we know, love, and grew up playing. Read his memoir, Doom Guy: Life in First Person, to learn all about the man who created Doom, where on the page he becomes so much more.


Adapted from The Washington Post: Legendary game designer John Romero’s memoir is a generous feat


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