In spite of his lack of dialogue, Doomguy from the original Doom has certainly gone down as one of the most important lead characters in video game history. After all, the title itself is one of the greatest games of all time, and has been playable on everything up to and including using a Porsche 911 as a controller. In spite of this, very little is known about the creation of the character himself, but thankfully designer John Romero is at hand to talk more about Doomguy, even revealing the character’s identity.
Romero took to his own website to talk about this new Doom news, and as it turns out Doomguy is actually none other than the designer himself. According to Romero, he is the one who made the now iconic pose of Doomguy for the cover of the original Doom, after the model brought in for the shoot was unable to strike a pose that truly matched the feel of the game.
“Don Punchatz, the illustrator who created the Doom logo and the famous front box cover art came over to id in mid-1993 with a male body model,” explained Romero. “The body model took his shirt off and started posing with our plasma gun toy,” but according to Romero “he did this for about 10 minutes and we just didn’t see anything that we thought would look cool on the cover.”
That’s when Romero decided to take matters into his own hands. “Frustrated, I threw my shirt off and told him to give me the gun and get on the floor – grab my arm as one of the demons!” Apparently, this then immediately looked the part. “Don took several pictures. I moved the gun some, the demon grabbed my leg, other arm, etc. At the end of it we all decided the arm-grabbing pose was going to be the best.” As it turns out, Romero is indeed Doomguy – at least on the cover of Doom itself.
This certainly creates a paradox of sorts, however, as John Romero has already appeared in the Doom series in another role. In Doom 2, John Romero is a clever Easter egg, appearing as a severed head within the Icon of Sin. With that in mind, the end of Doom 2 actually consists of John Romero destroying John Romero, which brings up plenty of philosophical questions for a title primarily about killing demons in as violent a manner as possible.
Although it may not have been the most conventional way to create a game cover, it’s hard to argue with the end result. In the end, the success of the original Doom went on to change the face of gaming forever, so much so that the series is still seeing new releases such as Doom VFR. All in all, it’s funny to think about how John Romero’s impromptu shirtless photoshoot has become such an important image in video games.
Source: John Romero