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John Romero, the Man Behind the Hype 183

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the life-in-the-spotlight dept.
rockstarenvy writes "In a recent interview with the Escapist, Russ Pitts reveals a lot about who John Romero really is. As Romero puts it: 'After 10-plus years of reading about yourself, all the good and bad, it all just becomes irrelevant after awhile. I know what I'm capable of doing and the people I work with are united in our mission, and they treat me just like they treat each other. The whole fame thing doesn't come into play when we're in development, because we're all a team. I know some of my guys read a lot of forums and sometimes they'll see some remark that someone clueless made and show it to me, chuckling because they know the truth of who I am and how I work. The media personification of John Romero is not who John Romero is.'"
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John Romero, the Man Behind the Hype

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  • by Twillerror (536681) on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @05:03PM (#15779305) Homepage Journal
    is John Romero. Was he in that movie with that other guy?
    • The only thing I remember about the name is that he wrote my all-time favorite Apple II game, Subnodule. Whatever he did after that is meaningless compared to Subnodule.
    • I think he's one of the ones who coded the original DOOM
    • Re:Who the hell.... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Sv-Manowar (772313) on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @05:07PM (#15779352) Homepage Journal
      Co-Founder of id Software and lead designer on Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, and Quake. He left and then made Daikatana and didn't do that much until he joined Midway in 2003, left again in 2005 and is currently making his own MMOG. He's pretty legendary for having the domain name rome.ro along with having a Ferrari that you could tune via USB while driving.
      • Re:Who the hell.... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by GeorgeFitch3 (988277) on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @05:16PM (#15779436)
        On the last level of Doom II, John Romero says (backwards to sound demon-like) "To win the game, you must kill me, John Romero". If you use the noclipping cheat, you can pass through the demon face wall that spits out soul cubes and see John's severed head on a spike. To win the game, you actually have to kill him by shooting through a small opening in the wall with well-timed rocket attacks. Groovy!
        • by Anonymous Coward
          John Romero, the Man Behind the Hype

          nah... that should read

          John Romero, the Man Behind the Demon Face Wall That Spits Out Soul Cubes
      • left again in 2005 and is currently making his own MMOG

        Tell me, Mr. Romero, how much do clothes cost in the Matrix?

      • Re:Who the hell.... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Fei_Id (937827)
        You mean he got FIRED and went to make Daikatana. From what I've heard, read, and been told (by people in the business) that early on (mainly Quake days) that he goofed off and played games all the time and didn't really want to work. I've seen numerous groups of game programmers that state how they don't like working with him Who cares about his tuning via USB while driving, I never knew of him to be famous for something like that... it was just a Motec ECU setup (John Carmack had one too on his 900hp F
    • Re:Who the hell.... (Score:3, Informative)

      by basscomm (122302)
      No, that wasn't him. You're thinking about Caesar Romero [imdb.com].

      John Romero [wikipedia.org] is a video game designer/producer/programmer who gained a degree of infamy [penny-arcade.com] by designing and producing Daikatana [wikipedia.org].
    • by geekoid (135745)
      Chief John Carmack coat tail rider.
    • is John Romero. Was he in that movie with that other guy?

      No, you got it all wrong. He's the guy in the garden, lurking in the the bushes, right? This chick, Julie sommat, she's on this balcony, y'see, and she goes "Romero, Romero, where fart thou Romero?", (cause he's been eating beans and she can smell him) and he says something at her like "What, like, in that there window speaks, oh damn, where's Julie at? I want to take her for a drive on the Montegue Expressway, if you dig my meaning." And a lo

    • Who the hell...

      How the hell did that question get modded insightful? Even if you don't know, it's easy enough to read the article.
    • Was he in that movie with that other guy?


      I think he directed Dawn of the Dead
    • He has that TV show, I think...

      Everyone Loves Romero!
    • Do you mean Navy Seals?
  • by just_another_sean (919159) on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @05:05PM (#15779324) Homepage Journal
    I made him my bitch back in '97!
  • Bob Dole (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dancingmad (128588) on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @05:07PM (#15779347)
    The media personification of John Romero is not who John Romero is.

    John Romero, like many washed-up has beens, likes to refer to John Romero in the third person.

    Seriously, for a guy that's a laughingstock in the video game industry, he sure does still have an ego. Come on man, when are you making me your bitch? :P
    • John Romero make you John Romero's bitch once John Romero gets out of John Romero's house. But John Romero can't do that without John Romero's friend Superfly, and he's (Superfly, not John Romero) stuck running against a wall :(
    • Re:Bob Dole (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jeff DeMaagd (2015)
      This is the same guy that claimed that the only reason that Daikatana wasn't selling well was because of file sharing? Of course that takes ego or bias.
      • Well, he's probably right. File sharing allowed people to actually play the game before they bought it, and once they realized how shitty it was and told their friends nobody bought it.

        Damned file shares!

        And game reviewers!

        And their own free demo!
    • John Romero, like many washed-up has beens, likes to refer to John Romero in the third person.

      Oh, please. In context:

      TE: How much of what is written about "John Romero" ...

      JR: [an entire paragraph of text] The media personification of John Romero is not who John Romero is.

      The interviewer introduced that idiom and Romero responded in kind. Bob Dole used third person in his campaign ads. (And while it happened soon after, he wasn't really washed up until he lost his presidential bid.)
    • Re:Bob Dole (Score:5, Insightful)

      by rtrifts (61627) on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @11:50PM (#15781552) Homepage
      John Romero, once upon a time, had a lot to be jealous about. He was the cool guy, the one with the ferrari, the tats, the boss with the rocsktar long hair - and he was rich and successful. His GF, Stevie Case, was not only a gamer - she was a definite *babe* and - not coincidentally - JR helped create Doom, the game which remains the #1 computer game of all time. Romero, the quintessential developer-as-rockstar, inspired the jealousy which is a part of the fabric of every one of us.

      When you are a guy who is prone to excess - and someone who had previously been prone to success - people enjoy watching your fall. Sad, but true; we are a petty lot.

      For all that, while people may have laughed at Romero from time to time - John Romero was never a "laughing stock". That wouldn't be accurate at all.

      In any event - it is wiser to keep your words soft and sweet, in case you are forced to eat them.

    • John Romero, like many washed-up has beens, likes to refer to John Romero in the third person.

      Serutan has two gripes with this comment:

      1) It's inaccurate. Bob Dole, the prototype third-person self-referencer, talked like that throughout his career, and was best known for it when he was at the height of his power.
      2) Serutan dislikes when people who have done noteworthy things, but just not lately, are called failures by people who never have and never will.
  • by SendBot (29932) on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @05:07PM (#15779356) Homepage Journal
    "I know some of my guys read a lot of forums and sometimes they'll see some remark that someone clueless made and show it to me"

    I wonder if he made those guys his bitches.
  • From the... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @05:08PM (#15779363)
    From the who-really-gives-a-crap? department.
    • Here, for those of you who didn't read it, I'll summarize the interview:

      John Romero: I'm very talented. My genius is misunderstood and under-appreciated. Every mistake I made in the past was somebody else's fault. Expect many more great things from me in the future.

      -Eric

  • As Romero puts it: 'After 10-plus years of reading about yourself, all the good and bad, it all just becomes irrelevant after awhile. I know what I'm capable of doing and the people I work with are united in our mission, and they treat me just like they treat each other. The whole fame thing doesn't come into play when we're in development, because EVERYONE is my BITCH!

    Some things never change.
    • He got a bad rap. He did a lot to hurt himself. He's a joke and a genius. He's a lot like David Lee Roth -- hellofa front man, tops in his day, now rather pathetic as many are apt to do. Elvis did it and, recently, Royce Gracie did it going up against a young and vibrat Matt Hughes. These guys were trend-setters, legend makers, the first of a kind who stuck around and allowed their creativity to languid and be replaced with ego. Stallman is another example.

      Kudos to all, but still, stfu already. If it
      • FPSes, after he left Id, and after Daikasucka, became slow, patience, boring-as-shit events by comparison. Sure, Counter-strike is/was awesome, but the blood-pumping feel of original FPSes, under Romero's Id, were an ancient, pure-breed of PC gaming long since dead and gone IMO.

        Try the Serious Sam games if that sort of hectic playstyle is your thing in FPS games. I think they very much capture that feel.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    It's hard to forgive someone after they post an ad declaring he "will make you his bitch" and then proceeding to turn out an overhyped, piece-o-crap game.

    Thank god I didn't fall for it. However, I feel genuinely sorry for those that did.
    • Yeah, he acts like the "media personification of John Romero" is anything but his own creation.
    • In the book "Masters of Doom" [amazon.com], it was said that Romero really did not want to do the ad. Mike Wilson created the ad told him it would go over well, but Romero was uneasy about printing it.

      From the book (page 239)

      Earlier in the year, on the suggestion of Mike Wilson, Romero had agreed to an ad that would emulate the cheeky bravado of deathmatch smack-talk -- the very language Romero had helped define. But when he saw the words in print, he felt a tinge of hesitation. "Are you sure about this?" he ask

  • by RealErmine (621439) <commerce@NOSpaM.wordhole.net> on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @05:09PM (#15779377)
    "The media personification of John Romero is not who John Romero is."

    John Romero is a guy who refers to John Romero in the third person.

  • "I am the meek and humble non-wizard!"

    "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain."

    "You!"

    "Oh bugger. You've found out I really and no ordinay mortal, but a great and powerful wizard."

  • ...that you think John Romero isn't that much of a big deal, you'll still come here and post voluminous tomes about how worthless he is. I guess he really DID make you all his "bitches". Gimme some o that Killcreek lovin'... ;P
    • You know, before John handsomely paid to have Killcreek's boobs pumped up 3 sizes with disgusting silicone, she wasn't all that hot...
      As long as she keeps her boobs covered with something, they look ok.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    of dealing with the fame that comes with a smash hit like Daikatana. He must need a taser gun to keep off the groupies....
  • Ok I imagined some John Romero bashing, it's pretty much standard to bash John Romero when something remotely related to him or his creations in mentioned on /. But this is just insane, so far all posts bash John. Sure Daikatana took 3 years to develop, but the John Romero bashes haven't developed an inch in the last 6 years.
    I wonder if John's MMOG is the "Bizarro World" he describes:

    It would probably have been a world where people all love to baby-sit their sidekicks and watch them die while doors close on

    • Not only did Daikatana take 3 years to develop, you can't leave this area without your buddy, Superfly Johnson.
    • by azav (469988)
      How about this then. While working o Diakatana, his art department was making 32 MB textures and they wondered why the game was having performance problems.

      The team was not supervised or given direction as to "this is what you need to do to make it work." Too much ego, not enough action.
      • Romero and American McGee driving around Dallas in Romero's yellow turbocharged ferrari testarossa.

        At a stop light, Romero (long hair and all) turns to American and states, "not enough people are looking at us". Still looking, with the car at a full stop, JR revs the 600+ horsepower testarossa to redline.

        Several times.

        John looks around, looks back at American and states, "there, that's better."

      • Re:A lot of bashing (Score:3, Informative)

        by Jett (135113)
        If that is true it didn't happen until later. When I visited Ion Storm Romero introduced me to every single person who worked there, he knew each of them by name and knew exactly what they were working on. This was before the big remodel was done so they were still on the temp floor, perhaps things changed when they moved. I spent severl hours there hanging out with Romero and he seemed like a genuinely nice guy, not at all like the egomaniac he is portrayed as. What I saw of Daikatana looked badass, but r
    • > but the John Romero bashes haven't developed an inch in the last 6 years.

      That's more than he's developed.

      Really, no-one's that interested in stuff some has-been developer has done. You're as good as your last game, not your last game but 4 or whatever. When was the last time any of his code ran on your PC?
    • John, if you spent half as much time working on your games as you do posting on /., we wouldn't be laughing at you right now. ;)
  • by 88NoSoup4U88 (721233) on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @05:20PM (#15779481) Homepage
    So John Romero wants to make you his friend now?
  • HERE. [coolinc.info] Hmm, I wonder if someone will get the joke...
  • John Romero Presents: John Romero's John Romero (A John Romero Production)
  • by dafragsta (577711) on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @05:28PM (#15779568)
    That's all that really needs to be said. For further reference, look up the amount of talking, egotism, and otherwise useless rhetoric he's shat out over the past 10 years. All that plus one crappy game and the demise of an otherwise good gaming studio that resulted in the Romero fallout. I would say that Romero was all sizzle and no steak, but that implied that there was worthwhile sizzle to begin with. It's all pretty much flatuence at this point. Stop wasting people's time John. Get a real day job. You rode your useless reputation to the ground and that's where all us day working schmoes exist. We don't have a rediculously inflated reputation to ride from publisher to publisher asking for insane advances for absolutely no substance to speak of.
  • When I think of John Romero I think of the search for the Daikatana [shugashack.com]. Eventually we found the Daikatana [wikipedia.org] but then we realized that we did not really want it in the first place [wikipedia.org].
    • I think I'll download Daikatana one of these days. The more I read about it, the more I want to see it myself. I guess I'm one of those people who stand around watching after some building catches fire or something.
  • 90% of the comments are from geeks he's pissed off. That's talent. :D

  • OfficeSecrets (Score:5, Interesting)

    by eebra82 (907996) on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @05:37PM (#15779643) Homepage
    " I know what I'm capable of doing and the people I work with are united in our mission, and they treat me just like they treat each other. The whole fame thing doesn't come into play when we're in development, because we're all a team."

    I was thinking the exact same thing before I quit my old job. You know, a lot of people do tell lies and if often turns out that powerful people are getting bullshitted all the time. I thought my staff enjoyed what I was doing and I kept hearing good things about my efforts until it was settled at a party and a few people got too drunk.

    I'm not saying your team is doing this on you, John. Maybe you're really a great guy. Truth is, I don't know you and I actually even enjoyed Daikatana more than most other people did. It's just that I don't buy it, because you can't trust anyone until you know what he's thinking - which you probably never will.
  • Fame? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by glwtta (532858) on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @05:39PM (#15779654) Homepage
    Ok, the guy is more or less well known, for something he did 13 years ago, but does that really qualify as "fame"? All this talk about how his "fame" doesn't go to his head has a distinct "protesting too much" feel to it.

    The media personification of John Romero is not who John Romero is.

    Don't tell me, John Romero is a series of... of nevermind.
    • No, what he did 13 years ago was his breakthrough. What he has done ever since has also stepped up his fame status. You know, even Da Vinci has fame despite doing something hundreds of years ago. Unfortunately, even morons can walk into the spotlight (not saying he is one, though).
    • Ok, the guy is more or less well known, for something he did 13 years ago, but does that really qualify as "fame"? All this talk about how his "fame" doesn't go to his head has a distinct "protesting too much" feel to it.


      Alright.
      Too much nonsense about John Romero.
      The guy was a part of a revolution in computer gaming. Doom is the most influential game in the last 15 years, at least.
      There has been no new breakthroughs since.
      It's ok he never did anything after that, for for that matter, no one managed to pull
      • All true. I am in no way putting him down for what he has, or has not, done since.

        Just saying that even if he was part of the single most important breakthrough in computer gaming (which, a case can be made for), still doesn't mean that most people's hearts start racing when they see him on the street (well, maybe on account of the hair).

        There has been no new breakthroughs since.

        That's a bit pessimistic. They were the first to network a couple of computers and have little guys run around in a 3D sp
  • by Anonymous Coward
    for a factual interview it seems strange to leave out the fact that he has an "Add more frogs!" button on his desk.

    Not just any frogs mind you, but happy, dapper and unique frogs! Fantabulous dancing frogs!

    What can I say about John Romaro? He likes frogs. That's a good legacy to leave on this earth.
  • Wolfenwhat?
  • In a recent interview with the Escapist, Russ Pitts reveals a lot about who John Romero really is.

    For a person like myself who knows neither whom John Romero is nor whom Russ Pitts is, I suppose the slashdot editor and article submitter just assume that I'll feel compelled to read the article to figure it all out. I call poor editing; a good article summary should allow me to make an informed decision about whether to delve further, just from reading the article. Putting a blurb about who Romero is wo

    • Not know who John Romero is and on /.?

      Tell me when Duke Nukem Forever comes out, maybe that would bitchslave everyone.

    • I agree, the words "game developer" should have appeared before his name, at minimum. Even I know that, and I'm a horrible media writer. On the other hand, why waste time complaining about this particular failure of Internet journalism? Journalism is poor across the board these days, online and offline. At least it links directly to an article intended to answer that question.
  • from the picture, it looks like John Romero is trying to be a bit like Derek Zoolander.
  • This update to the Daikatana story 5 years later has some interesting facts. I didn't know the game let Ion storm break even on it - who bought 200,000 copies of the darn thing? Were the console ports of this game playable? But an MMOG...no. Mr. Romero needs to learn from his past mistakes, and realize that while he might have talent, he's never successfully led a project that big. He might have the ego for it...but an MMOG is the most technically difficult type of game there is.

    Taking risks is part of
  • I found the article very interesting. I didn't really read much of the lead-in to the story, but I read the actual interview. It was very interesting. Romero finally matured! Very cool. I would never count John Romero out. I think his major problem, is that he is an artist, not a business man. Politics and business concerns are not an artists natural habitat. I honesty believe, that if he works on games, and just works on games, while other people watch the books, and deal with politics, he could pro
  • He was tapping Stevie Case.
  • Come on people... Even if he has acted like an ass sometimes, this is still the guy who helped bring us great and unique games... He deserves a lot of credit for that!
  • by Jack Action (761544) on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @08:12PM (#15780724)

    Read this book: Masters of Doom [wikipedia.org].

    One of the best tech industry books ever written (and if you've read some of the bad prose written on tech history out there, you know what I'm talking about).

    I got it from the library, and read it in one weekend -- couldn't put it down.

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