#681: Doom Legend John Romero — The Path to Prolific Innovation and Making 130+ Games, How to Find the Soul of the Work, Audacious Ambition, and Building in Monk Mode
Computer and video game legend John Romero (@romero) has designed and published more than 130 games since his first sale at the age of 16. A teenage programming prodigy, his major achievements include co-inventing a series of revolutionary computer games—DOOM, Quake, Wolfenstein 3-D, and Commander Keen—that launched the industry’s most popular genre, the first-person shooter.
The memoir DOOM GUY: Life in First Person is his first book.
This episode is brought to you by LinkedIn Jobs. Whether you are looking to hire now for a critical role or thinking about needs that you may have in the future, LinkedIn Jobs can help. LinkedIn screens candidates for the hard and soft skills you’re looking for and puts your job in front of candidates looking for job opportunities that match what you have to offer.
Using LinkedIn’s active community of more than 900 million professionals worldwide, LinkedIn Jobs can help you find and hire the right person faster. When your business is ready to make that next hire, find the right person with LinkedIn Jobs. And now, you can post a job for free. Just visit LinkedIn.com/Tim.
This episode is also brought to you by AG1! I get asked all the time, “If you could use only one supplement, what would it be?” My answer is usually AG1, my all-in-one nutritional insurance. I recommended it in The 4-Hour Body in 2010 and did not get paid to do so. I do my best with nutrient-dense meals, of course, but AG1 further covers my bases with vitamins, minerals, and whole-food-sourced micronutrients that support gut health and the immune system.
Right now, you’ll get their Vitamin D Liquid Formula free with your first subscription purchase—a vital nutrient for a strong immune system and strong bones. Visit DrinkAG1.com/Tim to claim this special offer today and receive the free Vitamin D Liquid Formula (and 5 free AG1 travel packs) with your first subscription purchase! That’s up to a one-year supply of Vitamin D as added value when you try their delicious and comprehensive all-in-one daily greens product.
This episode is also brought to you by Helix Sleep! Helix was selected as the best overall mattress of 2022 by GQ magazine, Wired, and Apartment Therapy. With Helix, there’s a specific mattress to meet each and every body’s unique comfort needs. Just take their quiz—only two minutes to complete—that matches your body type and sleep preferences to the perfect mattress for you. They have a 10-year warranty, and you get to try it out for a hundred nights, risk-free. They’ll even pick it up from you if you don’t love it. And now, Helix is offering 20% off all mattress orders plus two free pillows at HelixSleep.com/Tim.
[07:39 ] Childhood.
[11:30 ] Aggressor Squadron.
[14:55 ] John’s first exposure to computers and coding.
[21:34 ] Early innovations in 3D gaming.
[26:01 ] The id Software team.
[28:00 ] Side-scrolling games.
[30:41 ] Developing 13 games in one year. How?
[37:28 ] Designing with movable and removable parts in mind.
[42:45 ] Warning the world of its inevitable DOOM.
[53:04 ] Hyperthymesia.
[59:49 ] Working on two games at once.
[1:02:34 ] When John realized DOOM would be a hit.
[1:10:25 ] Why John moved on from id Software.
[1:14:25 ] What is a game engine?
[1:20:05 ] Starting a new company.
[1:21:25 ] What prompted John to write DOOM Guy: Life in First Person?
[1:23:42 ] The origin of DOOM‘s name.
[1:24:27 ] Parting thoughts.
Sign up for Tim’s email newsletter (5-Bullet Friday) at tim.blog/friday.
For transcripts of episodes, go to tim.blog/transcripts.
Discover Tim’s books: tim.blog/books.
Past guests on The Tim Ferriss Show include Jerry Seinfeld, Hugh Jackman, Dr. Jane Goodall, LeBron James, Kevin Hart, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Jamie Foxx, Matthew McConaughey, Esther Perel, Elizabeth Gilbert, Terry Crews, Sia, <a href="https://tim.blog/202