John Romero

John Romero

Infobox Person
name = John Romero

image_size = 200px
birth_date = Birth date and age|1967|10|28
birth_place = Colorado Springs, Colorado
death_date =
death_place =
occupation = Video game designer
spouse = Raluca Alexandra Pleşca

Alfonso John Romero (born October 28 1967 [imdb name|id=0739450] in Colorado Springs, Colorado) is a game designer, programmer, and developer in the video game industry. He is best known as a co-founder of id Software and was the lead designer for many of their personal computer games (all subsequently ported to consoles) including "Wolfenstein 3D", "Doom", and "Quake". His game designs and development tools, along with new 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 FPS multiplayer term "deathmatch."


Apple II

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 "" 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", "", "Shogun" and "Journey". Ideas From The Deep still exists to this day at [ IFD] .

id Software

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 persuaded Tom Hall to come in at night and help with game design. Romero and the others then left Softdisk to form id Software. [ The Escapist - John Romero: The Escapist Interview] . The Escapist.]

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".

Ion Storm

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 boasting "John Romero's About To Make You His Bitch....Suck it down" alienated many gamers. [ [ "The Top 7... PR Disasters"] Game Radar] 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. [ "Romero Threatens to Make You His Bitch"] . Top 25 Dumbest Moments in Gaming History. June 2003. GameSpy.] 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". [Dunkin, Alan. [ "Romero Speaks... From the Grave?"] GameSpot. August 28, 1998.]

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

Monkeystone Games

In July 2001, Romero and Hall founded Monkeystone Games in order to develop and publish games for mobile devices, and Monkeystone released 15 games (approximately) during its short lifespan of three and a half years. Some highlights of their developments included "Hyperspace Delivery Boy" (Pocket PC, PC, Mac, Linux, GBA), "Congo Cube" (Pocket PC, PC, BREW, J2ME), and "Red Faction" for the Nokia N-Gage.

Midway Games

In mid-October 2003, Romero joined Midway Games as Project Lead on "". While he continued to maintain his working relationship with Monkeystone, Lucas Davis took over running the office. The Monkeystone team moved to Austin, Texas to work on Midway's "Area 51" title until its release. Monkeystone Games closed down in January 2005. John moved from Project Lead to Creative Director of Internal Studio during this time.

At the end of June 2005, Romero left Midway Games mere months before the completion of "Gauntlet: Seven Sorrows".

Slipgate Ironworks

On August 31, 2005, Romero confirmed [ [ News - John Romero's new studio] . September 21, 2005. Eurogamer.] that he has been working on a yet-to-be-announced MMOG at his newly opened development studio, Slipgate Ironworks. [] It has been reported that the name is temporary. "For the record," Romero wrote, "I'm co-founder of a new game company in the Bay Area and am much better off in many ways than I was at Midway." He also said that he would not reveal anything about the company or the game until 2007.

On July 22, 2006, John Romero and former co-worker Tom Hall guest hosted episode 53 of the podcast "The Widget". [ [ The Widget - Games, Tech, Whatever >> Ep. 53 - Just Hanging Out] ]

Cyberathlete Professional League

On December 20, 2006, John Romero announced a new FPS project for the Cyberathlete Professional League titled "Severity" for both consoles and PC. [ [ Romero Announces New CPL Specific FPS] ] Tom Mustaine (ex-Studio Director at Ritual Entertainment) will act as Director of Game Development at CPL's new studio.

It is stated that "Severity" will be a multiplayer first person shooter. The game will be built on technology licensed from id Software.

Personal life

Between 1999 and 2003, [ "Interview with the Goddess: Stevie Case and John Romero] . March 2002. GameWEEK.] Romero was involved with Stevie Case, a prominent female gaming industry figure who achieved early notoriety for beating him in a "Quake" deathmatch. Until their breakup in early 2003, Case was the COO of Monkeystone Games. In January 2004, Romero married Raluca Alexandra Pleşca, originally from Bucharest, Romania. He has two children with his ex-wife, Kelly - Michael and Steven Patrick Romero - and one daughter with his ex-wife, Elizabeth - Lillia Antoinette.


* In 2002, Romero put his heavily modified Ferrari up for auction on eBay. [ [ Brutal Luxury] . Retrieved August 14 2006.] Some of the modifications included a parallel port from the engine compartment into the cockpit next to the passenger's seat which one could plug a laptop into, and tune the engine while the car was running.

* Romero's favorite game of all time is "Chrono Trigger". [ [ Verbosity -- John Romero interview] .]

* He enjoys listening to Heavy Metal music. Romero is the one who supplied Bobby Prince several Heavy Metal records as source of inspiration for the "Doom" music.Fact|date=August 2007

* Wrote a comic book in high school with "10 Different Ways to Torture Someone"; featured entries such as "Poke a needle all over the victim's body and in a few days . . . watch him turn into a giant scab" and "burn the victim's feet while victim is strapped in a chair." ["Masters of Doom" by David Kushner. Quoted in The Weekly Standard, Vol. 012, Issue 23. [] ]

* The webcomic Penny Arcade has a running joke in which the cast mistake John Romero for a woman, often commenting on how hot 'she' is. [ [ Penny Arcade! - H-O-T Spells Hot! ] ]

* The webcomic MegaTokyo made several jokes about John Romero and regarding Ion Storms high turnover rate. [ [ MegaTokyo - [6] E3 Ionstorm Exit] ]

* He makes a guest appearance on an episode of "Code Monkeys". In the episode, he is a young employee of Gameavision, pitching his idea for "Doom" to a thoroughly unimpressed Mr. Larrity, who contradicts each one of the game's most noteworthy features. As they talk, they walk the halls of Gameavision headquarters, which are designed to look like a level taken from the game.

"Doom II" and "Final Doom"

In the "Doom II" final level "Icon of Sin", the boss is a giant goat's skull with a fragment missing from its forehead. It says, "To win the game, you must kill me, John Romero!", distorted and in reverse to sound like a demonic chant. One can use the "idclip" cheat to enter the boss and see Romero's severed head which is skewered to a post. The player defeats the boss (without the idclip cheat) by shooting rockets into its exposed brain after activating a lift and riding it; Romero's head functions as its hit detection point; when he "dies", the boss is killed and the game is finished.

The name "Romero" is also written in blood on one of the walls in level 19 "Shipping/Respawning" in "Final Doom".


* Kushner, David (2003). "", Random House. ISBN 0-375-50524-5.

External links

* [ planet]

Articles on the rise and fall of "Daikatana"

* [ "Stormy Weather" article] at the Dallas Observer
* [ "From 'Doom' to Gloom: The Story of a Video Game Flop"] , NPR Morning Edition story on Romero, part of a series of other famous debacles
* [ Knee Deep in a Dream: The Story of Daikatana] , a GameSpot series of behind-the-scenes articles on Romero and his work on Daikatana

NAME=Romero, Alfonso John
SHORT DESCRIPTION=famous computer game designer
DATE OF BIRTH=October 28, 1967

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