Part 2: The Community and the PWADs
It may come as a shock to all of you when I say this: Doom still has a relatively thriving community. Especially when you consider that the game was released in 1993 (17th birthday coming soon!). I don't know the number of people still making projects for Doom, nor can I say the number of people who are downloading and playing these projects. I do know my latest edition of UR was downloaded 46 times, so I'll use that as a starter. Also, here are the statistics for projects uploaded to the /idgames archive in the past decade years:
2000 = 308
2001 = 288
2002 = 241
2003 = 427
2004 = 514
2005 = 821
2006 = 478
2007 = 349
2008 = 276
2009 = 308
Not bad, eh? Now, think about that: that's literally thousands of different mods of Doom, all released and free to download. That means I can have infinite replayability without playing a single cent. How can you not find something like that remarkable? This essentially means that I could play Doom 100 times over without ever playing the same thing twice... It kind of blew my mind when i realized that. I mean, I knew Final Doom had 2 WADs from community memebers in Plutonia and TNT, but those cost money, so that was a totally diffent barrel of monkeys. Knowing I could download these other ones, though.... So, I followed suit. I downloaded my first WAD. Odds are, if you've head of any PWAD, it'll be a megawad. Probably Requiem or Hell Revealed. This was true for myself, but I didn't want to just jump into what were the most well-known, and turned to a different one: Memento Mori.
So, I download this wad known as Memento Mori... a drag 'n drop later, I'm looking at this.
It totally blew my mind. This wasn't Entryway from Doom 2. This was an entirely different level. This some was something different, something undeniably fresh and new to me. It really challenged my idea of what a game was, and what a game should do for a person. Should it provide a good time, perhaps with a side of thoughtlessness? Absolutely (sorry Colin... I know you like your thoughtful games, too). On the other hand, I was prevented with a scenario of Doom I never face before. And it happened again... and again... and again and again and again. I'd never get bored with this game from that point forward.
Memento Mori, Requiem, Hell Revealed, UAC Ultra, Speed of Doom, Alien Vendetta... so many WADs out there that are not at all like the other. Sure, there are some similarities, but each has something unique going for it. You can do so many different things with one little game, it's quite remarkable.
Mind you, these are just replacements made by the communities. Full replacements. I've neglected to include single maps and ZDoom wads so far... Not because I don't like them... Heavens know. Vrack2b and Decade both rule. And that's what makes Doom great: it can be short, long, hard, easy... it can be a set in Hell, on a spacestation, in abandoned tunnels, sewers, or in a fucking city in the sky. It works. Abstract, concrete, survival or slaughter-oriented... So many options. The community has really come together to make sure Doom would survive well beyond it's humble roots.
What's more, the community is still very open-armed to new members (provided said new member isn't a complete tool/moron). There are still a few active forums dedicated to Doom (ZDoom, Skulltag, and the site I frequent, Doomworld). I can tell you from experience, while many of the members are a bit... um, eccentric, for the most part, it's a community of level-headed individuals. Most importantly, they all seems to have lives beyond the game. It's so important to have a thriving community to keep something alive. Would I still be making maps if guys like Mechadon, Jon Vail, and Joshy weren't? Hard to say... probably not, though. It's a hobby... it's something for enthusiasts. Being one of them, I absolutely enjoy the communication and fun that it brings along with it. Sure, every once in a while, shit will be flung over something pointless (ATI graphic cards... don't ask), but in the end, it's all dedicated to one thing:
The continuing saga of Doom.
And that's why I can still justify playing the game. It has never actually ended. From what I can surmise, it won't die any time soon. I know I'll be locked in for a few more years. The only thing I have to say is: why haven't I really done anything as far as the game goes?
Well, I have. And I'll explain that shindig on the next entry: Part 3, The utilities and ports.