John Romero and Stevie "Killcreek" Case
"Oremor nhoj, em llik tsum uoy emag eht niw ot."
— a reversed message in Doom II
Alfonso John Romero (born October 28, 1967, in Colorado Springs, Colorado) wanted, and failed to make you his bitch
After programming and designing video games for over eight years (and writing 21 year old Jordan Mechner a fan letter
), John Romero left Softdisk after two years to form id Software
in 1991. At id, Romero was involved in the production of Commander Keen
, Wolfenstein 3D
, the first two Doom
games, and Quake
. (The hot Gamer Chick
Stevie "killcreek" Case defeated him at Quake and became his girlfriend
In 1996, after some long-running disputes with the other members of id Software
, he and co-worker Tom Hall formed Ion Storm. Ion Storm's flagship title would have been Daikatana
, an ambitious first-person shooter set for the holiday season of 1997, a seven-month development period
that his former partners at id saw as patently ludicrous. *
When he decided to switch to the Quake II
engine in the middle of development for its advanced graphical effects, he did not make anybody his bitch that year
. He didn't make anybody his bitch in 1998, either
: company morale had eroded and most of the team had quit. John set another deadline, February 15, 1999, but nobody was his bitch that year
. It wasn't until April 21, 2000 that Daikatana
was finally released and he had his bitch-making opportunity
, for lack of a better word, sucked
. On July 17, 2001, Ion Storm's parent company Eidos Interactive closed its Dallas office. Four years later, Eidos closed the Austin branch. To be fair, many reviews said that Daikatana would have been a good game, just not a great
game, and definitely not a bitch-making game, if
it had come out when it was originally supposed to. Three years late, it's just sad.
John, apparently still intent on making somebody his bitch
, founded Monkeystone Games with Tom Hall. They developed and published about fifteen games for mobile phones. John joined Midway Games as project lead for Gauntlet: Seven Sorrows
, and the Monkeystone team moved to Austin, Texas to work on Midway's Area 51
. This game, while being pretty bitchin,' still failed to make anyone his bitch.
He's not all bad: he's said his favourite video game is Chrono Trigger
and likes heavy metal music.
By now, the only one he did make his bitch - albeit unintentionally
- was Looking Glass
, a gaming studio responsible for games such as the very highly-regarded System Shock
, which allegedly died because Eidos supported it too little in favour of Daikatana
, which, as already mentioned, turned out to be a dud.Penny Arcade
have poked fun at him. In the former case, they use him in a Running Gag
where other characters think he's a woman
For more information about Romero's attempted bitch-makings, read the whole story in David Kushner's Masters Of Doom
He has since apologized
for trying to make players his bitch
and is resigned to Daikatana
's status as the punchline of video game jokes.
He and his wife, Brenda, are currently making the next generation of game designers their bitches
at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Tropes that John Romero has made his bitch (or have made him their bitch) include:
- Catch Phrase: While perhaps best known for "Suck it down", "Design is Law" was the founding philosophy of Ion Storm in a nutshell.
- Creator Cameo: The final level of Doom II required players to fire rockets into a secret room and hit John Romero's disembodied head with splash damage.
- It was originally intended as an Easter Egg Take That at Romero from his co-workers, but when he found it, he became enamored of it and recorded the backwards message (quoted at the top of the page) that plays just before it starts tossing out monsters.
- Disappeared Dad: Romero's biological father, Alfonso, abandoned the family for two years. Romero would later reluctantly become an absent father to his own children when the demands of his job took up all of his time.
- Genre Shift: He gave up on FPS games after Daikatana, with the exceptions of Red Faction and Area51.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Despite the ego, he's a devoted family man and with a healthy sense of humour about his achievements and failures.
- Lighter and Softer: Cartoon Network Block Party and Ravenwood Fair.
- My Greatest Failure: He views Daikatana as this, which contrasts with his goal of making it his Magnum Opus.
- One of Us: The primary reason why he remains one of the most beloved characters in the gaming community, since, simply put, he rose to fame as a video game nerd with a keen eye for design, sufficient technical skills and a love for heavy metal and fast cars.
- Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: The infamous advertisement for Daikatana was "John Romero's About to Make You His Bitch".
- The Precious, Precious Car: Like his collaborator John Carmack, Romero spent the fortune he made at id Software on exotic sports cars, particularly Ferraris.
- Prima Donna Director: A longtime tenet of Romero's design philosophy. It's not a coincidence that the credo for his company, Ion Storm, was "Design is Law."
- Red Baron: Romero was nicknamed "The Surgeon" for his proficiency in FPS deathmatch.
- Small Name, Big Ego: While Romero legitimately earned his reputation as a talented programmer and gamer initially, he fell under this trope once his fame snowballed out of control.
- Trash Talk: Romero all but invented FPS trash-talking, as friends and colleagues will testify. He then took that invention and used it in the Daikatana ad campaign.
- The Peter Principle: Romero's admittedly high skill as a programmer and designer did not translate to any skill whatsoever as a project leader, manager or administrator. Painfully evident throughout the Daikatana debacle.