Sunday, December 28, 2008

Masters of Doom or Essentials of Nursing Informatics

Masters of Doom: How Two Guys Created an Empire and Transformed Pop Culture

Author: David Kushner

Masters of Doom is the amazing true story of the Lennon and McCartney of video games: John Carmack and John Romero. Together, they ruled big business. They transformed popular culture. And they provoked a national controversy. More than anything, they lived a unique and rollicking American Dream, escaping the broken homes of their youth to produce the most notoriously successful game franchises in history—Doom and Quake— until the games they made tore them apart. This is a story of friendship and betrayal, commerce and artistry—a powerful and compassionate account of what it's like to be young, driven, and wildly creative.

Entertainment Weekly

David Kushner's meticulously researched new book explains how these dark, damaged geeks became a potent and provocative cultural force in the 1990s.

[T]he truth is that any rabid fans of Doom and Quake -- and those intrigued by the astonishing influence those games had on popular culture -- are likely to devour this book in one sitting. Although no profound lessons are to be learned from Masters of Doom, it does tell a fascinating story. — Carmela Ciuraru

USA Today

Kushner draws on many sources, including interviews with the two principals and dozens of other supporting characters, in addition to hundreds of printed sources, all of which are exhaustively catalogued in the appendix. Kushner's mesmerizing tale of the Two Johns moves at a rapid clip, tracing the pair from their suburban childhoods to their auspicious meeting in Shreveport, La., in 1990, and describing the twists and turns of fate that led them to team up in creating the most powerful video games of their generation. — Steve Power

The New York Times

The book's most interesting passages deal with Carmack, a Spock-like character who ends sentences by saying ''mmm'' and seems to view emotions as a strange and foolish waste of time. In the computer world, Carmack is viewed as a deity, a programmer who so impressed Bill Gates that Gates used Doom to show off Windows 95's skill as a gaming platform; he dressed up as one of the game's characters for a promotional video and ran around in a trench coat, shotgun by his side. Even if you can't tell parallax scrolling from texture mapping and are unclear what, exactly, is so impressive about Binary Space Partitioning, Kushner's portrait of Carmack is lustrous and gripping.— Seth Mnookin

The Los Angeles Times

[T]he truth is that any rabid fans of Doom and Quake -- and those intrigued by the astonishing influence those games had on popular culture -- are likely to devour this book in one sitting. Although no profound lessons are to be learned from Masters of Doom, it does tell a fascinating story. — Carmela Ciuraru

The New Yorker

The rise of the information age looked like a revolution partly because it created an élite from the previously unheralded ranks of programmers and gamers. Shawn Fanning, who spent part of his childhood in the welfare system and part in a foster home before inventing the file-sharing software Napster as a Northeastern University undergraduate, is the unlikely hero of Joseph Menn's All The Rave: The Rise and Fall of Shawn Fanning's Napster. Menn's Fanning, bright and soft-spoken, displays admirable loyalty to those who supported him early on, and sometimes too much loyalty -- his uncle John, a surrogate father who gave him his first computer, managed to grab a seventy-per-cent stake in the company and foiled any possible settlement with the record industry.

John Romero, one of the minds behind the popular combat video games Doom and Quake, was also shaped by an early experience with a father figure: when he was eleven, his stepfather discovered him at a pizza parlor playing video games and smashed his face into the machine. According to David Kushner's Masters of Doom: How Two Guys Created an Empire and Transformed Pop Culture, Romero first exorcised his demons in comic books that featured a boy being punished in gruesome ways by his father, then put the same themes to use in the games he created with his partner, John Carmack. After Doom's success, Romero and Carmack's relationship degenerated into a vicious feud -- or, in gamer terms, a "deathmatch." Romero lost but walked away with a tidy fortune and found love with a Playboy model-cum-gamer who used her salary from Romero's new company to get breast implants. (Kate Taylor)

Publishers Weekly

Long before Grand Theft Auto swept the video gaming world, whiz kids John Romero and John Carmack were shaking things up with their influential-and sometimes controversial-video game creations. The two post-adolescents meet at a small Louisiana tech company in the mid-1980s and begin honing their gaming skills. Carmack is the obsessive and antisocial genius with the programming chops; Romero the goofy and idea-inspired gamer. They and their company, id, innovate both technologically and financially, finding ways to give a PC game "side-scrolling," which allows players to feel like action is happening beyond the screen, and deciding to release games as shareware, giving some levels away gratis and enticing gamers to pay for the rest. All-nighters filled with pizza, slavish work and scatological humor eventually add up to a cultural sea change, where the games obsess the players almost as much as they obsess their creators. Fortunately, journalist Kushner glosses over Carmack and Romero's fame, preferring to describe the particulars of video game creation. There are the high-tech improvements-e.g., "diminished lighting" and "texture-mapping"-and pop cultural challenges, as when the two create an update of the Nazi-themed shooter Castle Wolfenstein. The author gives his subjects much leeway on the violence question, and his thoroughness results in some superfluous details. But if the narration is sometimes dry, the story rarely is; readers can almost feel Carmack and Romero's thrill as they create, particularly when they're working on their magnum opus, Doom. After finishing the book, readers may come away feeling like they've just played a round of Doom themselves, as, squinting and light-headed, they attempt to re-enter the world. (May 13) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Library Journal

Mentioned only briefly in Van Burnham's Supercade: A Visual History of the Video Game Age, 1971-1984 and Steven Kent's The Ultimate History of Video Games, John Carmack and John Romero, originators of the world-famous video games Doom and Quake, garner an entire work here. Freelance journalist Kushner tells the story of two creative geniuses whose meteoric rise to fame and fortune in the 1990s resulted in enormous personal tensions that eventually drove them apart. In the wake of their success and subsequent corruption, they left a blueprint for the video games of today whose violence at once seduces and enrages us. Carmack and Romero introduced into video games the concept of "first-person shooters," which, years later, prompted a number of multimillion-dollar lawsuits over the influence that games like Doom had on the teenage gunslingers in the Columbine and Paducah tragedies; those suits were eventually thrown out. This is an especially fascinating read for longtime gamers who grew up in the 1980s initially enraptured by Asteroids and continued as devout players during the incredible evolution of realism in action-based video games. It will also intrigue followers of popular culture in general. Highly recommended for both public and academic libraries.-Joe J. Accardi, Harper Coll. Lib., Palatine, IL Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

School Library Journal

Adult/High School-John Romero and John Carmack started programming games as teens. After they met, they became the first to make a video game on the PC that scrolled smoothly. In their 20s, they went on to create the hugely popular and controversial video games Doom, Wolfenstein 3-D, and Quake. But the passions that drove them to stay up late night after night, living on pizza and Cokes, drove them apart, causing Romero to leave to form his own company. The book traces their successes and failures, giving some insight into what it means to be a video-game designer, and is liberally sprinkled with humor, much of it from the twisted minds of the programmer/gamers themselves. Readers may not find the individuals likable, but they will be fascinated by watching what happens to them. While much of the story takes place in the '90s, the book continues on into the 21st century, where Carmack's Quake 3 is still heavily played and Romero's Daikatana has become one of the most hyped failures in video-game history. The company the young men founded, id Software, continues to be a force in gaming. Both video-game players and budding venture capitalists will find something entertaining and educational here.-Paul Brink, Fairfax County Public Library, VA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews

Were John Carmack and John Romero the Lennon and McCartney of PC gaming? Spin magazine contributing editor Kushner answers yes in his detailed re-creation of the genre's transition from basement to big time. Creators of the notorious games Doom and Quake, "the Two Johns" achieved fortune by transforming a previously marginalized subculture. During their archetypically 1980s dysfunctional adolescence, computer games were considered a fad for seedy arcades, yet the duo simultaneously discovered a hacker underground exploding in fanzines and university labs. When volatile game addict Romero met coolly monastic programmer Carmack at a low-end Louisiana software startup, he saw the potential in his new friend's ideas, specifically when Carmack divined how to duplicate Nintendo's "scroll" on then-limited PCs. As in any scruffy underdog tale, readers will initially root for the Two Johns, although their tendency to betray backers and associates is an unsettling portent. By 1992, their team of unorthodox programmers had settled in Texas, and their company, id Software, rapidly established itself with violent "first-person shooters" like Wolfenstein 3-D. Then Doom became a full-fledged phenomenon, creating a blustering "deathmatch" culture. Predictably, id's outsized success fractured the company into two entities, as Romero focused on pure design and a rock-star lifestyle while Carmack assigned importance to innovative programming. Kushner bolsters this narrative with a resume of rapid technological transformations over the past ten years, explaining why "porting" the games for different hardware became increasingly lucrative as shareware-style distribution became less so. He writes perceptivelyabout these twists of commerce and technology, yet the book becomes rather repetitive in its portraits of all-night hacks, deathmatch sessions, frenzied game releases, and programmers' increasingly petty conflicts. (Perhaps inadvertently, the author suggests a pathetic insularity as characteristic of many in the gaming world, who seemingly forsake community involvement and political awareness for their beloved PCs.) Many may well skim the final third in pursuit of the dirt on the Two Johns' eventual falling-out. Laudable coverage of an undeniably important, unsettling cultural transition.

What People Are Saying

Douglas Rushkoff
Masters of Doom tells the compelling story of the decade-long showdown between gaming's own real-life dynamic duo, played high above the corridors of Doom in the meta-game of industry and innovation. With the narrative passion of a true aficionado, Kushner reminds us that the Internet was not created to manage stock portfolios but to serve as the ultimate networked entertainment platform. It's all just a game.

Mark Leyner
To my taste, the greatest American myth of cosmogenesis features the maladjusted, antisocial, genius teenage boy who, in the insular laboratory of his own bedroom, invents the universe from scratch. Masters of Doom is a particularly inspired rendition. Dave Kushner chronicles the saga of video game virtuosi Carmack and Romero with terrific brio. This is a page-turning, mythopoeic cyber-soap opera about two glamorous geek geniuses - and it should be read while scarfing down pepperoni pizza and swilling Diet Coke, with Queens of the Stone Age cranked up all the way.

Po Bronson
Masters of Doom is an excellent archetypal tale of hard work and genius being corrupted by fame too young and fortune too fast. I rooted for these guys, was inspired by them, then was disturbed by them, and was fascinated from beginning to end.

Bruce Sterling
Are you brainy? Gifted? Deeply alienated? Ever wanted to be a multimillionaire who transformed a major industry? Then Masters of Doom is the book for you!

Steven Johnson
Like Hackers, David Kushner's Masters of Doom paints a fascinating portrait of visionary coders transforming a previously marginal hobby into a kind of 21st-century art form -- and enraging an entire generation of parents along the way. Kushner tells the story with intelligence and a great sense of pacing. Masters of Doom is as riveting as the games themselves.

New interesting book: Self Healing with Guided Imagery or Questions Answers on Death and Dying

Essentials of Nursing Informatics

Author: Virginia K Saba

Learn how computers and technology affect the nurse’s role in caring for the patient. Now fully updated and enhanced, the fourth edition includes new coverage of PDAs, the impact of HIPAA guidelines, patient safety issues, privacy issues, optimal use of decision support tools, and much more

Virginia K Saba, EdD, RN, FAAN, FACMIDistinguished Scholar, Adjunct, Nursing Informatics CenterSchool of Nursing & Health StudiesGeorgetown UniversityWashington, DCProfessor [Adjunct] and Advisor, Educational Technologies and Distant LearningResearch Department, Graduate School of NursingUniformed Services University of the Health SciencesBethesda, MDInformatics,Educational Technologies, &  Home Health System Consultant

Kathleen A. McCormick PhD RN FAAN,FACMICorporate Vice President, Senior Scientist at SAIC, Falls Church, VA

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