My Shop (work in progress!)

Friday, 10 June 2011

Philip Larkin was right. Sort of.

One of Larkin's most famous lines of poetry is "They fuck you up, your mum and dad." This is a blog about some of my childhood, particularly the influence of Doom, and how it could've gone horribly wrong.

The computer game Doom came out in 1993. I was 10 years old. I think we got a demo of it free with my dad's computer magazine, and then my parents bought it. I was allowed to play it even though it's rated for players aged 16+. However, when I played it I was usually under my mum's supervision. Either she was playing it and I would watch, or I would play it but she had to sit next to me. This was not her doing, it was mine. I was too scared to play it on my own because of what monster might be around the next corner! That was until I discovered the cheat for 'God mode' which makes you invincible.

Now, you could say that my parents are terrible for letting me play such a violent game at such a young age. The graphics may look terrible now, but in 1993 they were amazing. Doom wasn’t the first violent computer game I’d played. Before Doom, there was Catacomb Abyss 3-D. The sound for this used the internal PC speaker so all you got was a series of weird beeps. It also featured text information, such as “damaging blows!” when you were being attacked by zombies.

I don’t remember there being as much concern about children playing violent games back then. Maybe there wasn’t as much, or it could be that I was less media aware because I was a child. Violent video games get the blame for people (usually teenagers) behaving violently. They probably have a bit to do with me being weird, but I’m not (especially) violent.

For example, in Doom, when you kill things with a rocket launcher (as shown above) or blow up a barrel the monsters explode and make a squishy noise. I love that noise. Also in a follow-up game to Wolfenstein, Return to Castle Wolfenstein, you can shoot people in a much more accurate manner i.e. in specific body parts. My favourite noise was associated with shooting someone in the throat.

So yes, that is a bit sick and wrong but I don’t go out and try and recreate those noises in real life. Shooting up freakish monsters and Nazis doesn’t make me want to shoot actual people. If I am feeling angry, pissed off and like I might lash out at people I don’t do a Dexter, I go and play a computer game. I could imagine there being more violence related to Pong, a very early computer game.

How can a table tennis game be violent? I might be able to hear you ask. Well imagine you have the score of 0 and the person you’re playing has the score of 9. They beat you every time you play. That would be frustrating and would make me want to lash out more than if I’d been playing at shooting things.

However, the most influential thing about Doom for me was the music. I have downloaded the MIDI files so I can listen to the music without having to play the game. It’s an influence that has made me a lover of metal. That and dad’s 70s vinyl collection. Plus it has to be the greatest influence on me liking Rammstein.

Doom didn’t just influence my tastes in music. Back in 1993, some of the members of Rammsteinvideo. You get to hear the exploding squishy noise about 2min 15s in. were also playing it. In fact their drummer is nicknamed Cristoph “Doom” Schneider for copyright reasons. If you’ve never heard the Doom music, then watch this On Rammstein’s first album, Herzeleid, the opening track ‘Wollt Ihr Das Bett In Flammen Sehen?’ features some of the sound effects from Doom – the sound of the shotgun cocking (which you can hear at around 2min on the above video) and also the death scream of your character. Also note that the repetitive guitar riffs are reminiscent of Doom’s music. A lot of Herzeleid sounds like Doom music, in particular ‘Der Meister’ and ‘Asche Zu Asche’.

So I’m a sicko who likes gruesome death noises and I love killing things. But only in computer games. Oh and I like Rammstein. It could’ve been a lot worse. I could be a mass murdering weirdo that likes Rammstein.

No comments: