John Romero

Alfonso John Romero is a well-known game designer, programmer, and developer in the video game industry. He is best known as a co-founder of id Software and lead designer of their groundbreaking personal computer games (all subsequently ported to consoles) Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, and Quake. His unique game designs and development tools, along with the revolutionary programming techniques created and implemented by id Software’s lead programmer John Carmack, led to a mass-popularization of the first person shooter, or FPS, in the 1990s. He is also credited with coining the multiplayer term “deathmatch.”

John Romero’s first game, Scout Search, was published in 1984 by inCider magazine, a popular Apple II magazine during the 1980s. Romero’s first company, Capitol Ideas Software, was listed as the developer for at least 12 of his earliest published games. Romero captured the December cover of the Apple II magazine Nibble for three years in a row starting in 1987. He also won a programming contest in A+ magazine during its first year of publishing with his game Cavern Crusader.

Romero’s first industry job was at Origin Systems in 1987 after programming games for 8 years. He worked on the Apple II to Commodore 64 port of 2400 A.D., which was eventually scrapped due to slow sales of the Apple II version. John then moved onto Space Rogue, a game by Paul Neurath. During this time, Romero was asked if he would be interested in joining Paul’s soon-to-start company Blue Sky Productions, eventually renamed Looking Glass Technologies. Instead, Romero left Origin Systems to co-found a game company named Inside Out Software, where he ported Might & Magic II from the Apple II to the Commodore 64. He had almost finished the Commodore 64 to Apple II port of Tower Toppler, but Epyx unexpectedly cancelled all its ports industrywide due to their tremendous investment in the first round of games for the upcoming Atari Lynx.

During this short time, Romero did the artwork for the Apple IIGS version of Dark Castle, a port from the Macintosh. Also during this time, John and his friend Lane Roathe co-founded a company named Ideas From The Deep and wrote versions of a game named Zappa Roids for the Apple II, PC and Apple IIGS. Their last collaboration together was an Apple II disk operating system for Infocom’s games Zork Zero, Arthur, Shogun and Journey. Ideas From The Deep still exists to this day at IFD.

Romero moved to Shreveport, Louisiana in March 1989 and joined Softdisk as a programmer in its Special Projects division. After several months of helping the PC monthly disk magazine Big Blue Disk, he officially moved into the department until he started a PC gaming division in July 1990 named Gamer’s Edge (originally titled PCRcade). Romero hired John Carmack into the department from his freelancing in Kansas City, moved Adrian Carmack into the division from Softdisk’s art department, and convinced Tom Hall to come in at night and help with game design. Romero and the others then left Softdisk to form id Software.[2]

Romero worked at id Software from its incorporation in 1991 until 1996. He was involved in the creation of several milestone games, including Commander Keen, Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, Doom II and Quake. He also served as Executive Producer (and Game Designer) on Heretic and HeXen.

Romero later co-founded Ion Storm Inc. in Dallas, Texas with id co-worker Tom Hall, where he designed and produced Daikatana. This ambitious shooter was announced in 1997 with a release date for the Christmas shopping season of that year. However, this release date slipped repeatedly in the coming months, and the game began to accrue negative press.

In particular, a 1997 advertisement boasted, “John Romero’s About To Make You His Bitch….Suck it down” alienating many gamers. The massive pre-hype for the game and the subsequent delays (it was not released until April 2000) led reviewers to lash out at the game much harder than had it been released on time. Upon release, Daikatana was critically panned and appeared on numerous “top 10 worst games” listings. However, it sold over 200,000 copies worldwide in its first year of sales. Romero has since claimed that the game generated enough sales to recoup its extensive production costs.

During this time, Romero was also rumored to have been killed (aptly enough, with a headshot) and a photograph of his corpse with a bullet wound was also spread through the Internet – Romero himself later stated that the picture was taken for Texas Monthly, and that “maybe he shouldn’t have taken it”.

Romero departed with Tom Hall immediately after the release of Hall’s Anachronox game and the subsequent closing of the Dallas Ion office.


1 Response to “John Romero”

  1. 1 S
    March 21, 2010 at 6:16 pm

    —Hi Johan , you are Nice game maker—
    —about SOnic —
    —In Capcom I Wish to dising Megamansonic—
    —MegamanSnic is Game —
    —can you be my frind–
    –will find Jognozo in Capcom–
    —Hey Johan If you viste our website please send me message–

    http://www.capcom-unity.com/_S_ For my website
    http://www.com-unity.com/all to see my gooups and desings
    ————————-Thank you —————

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