Book Review: Stairway to Badass: The Making and Remaking of Doom

Review

Stairway to Badass: The Making and Remaking of Doom book cover

Title: Stairway to Badass: The Making and Remaking of Doom

Author(s): David L. Craddock

In theory, half of this book is about Doom, and half about Doom 2016. In reality, you first have to remove the trailing 20% that is just dull content to fill pages (a preview from Rocket jump Quake book and a "making of" of this book?!). Then, Doom 2016 gets around 1/3 of the pages, and half of those are "not bad but not incredibly interesting" interviews, including one with a speedrunner. What remains covers classic Doom, but so much of it relates to modding, map making and speedrunning, that if you really want to know anything relevant about how the game was built, you're better off with alternatives like Masters of Doom or the Black Book about Doom.

I have really enjoyed reading other books from this author, but this title feels mediocre. An interview or two with people creating content for the original game so many years later is interesting, but when it makes not only most of the content but most of the actual interesting or fresh content, there's something amiss. Another example is the heavy presence of John Romero's Sigil expansion for classic Doom: Sure it's cool (I played it and the maps are great and well done), but one chapter about explaining what it is, another in the form of an interview with Romero, another with the playtester, and another with the company building the physical version?

There's some tiny highlights here and there, but throwing a complex technical sentence in the middle of pages of undesired content doesn't makes a book deep or interesting, and overall it's simply not worth reading through. If this was a book about Doom's community and modding, it'd be fine, but the title is totally misleading.

I really didn't knew what to expect before starting reading this book, but disappointment wasn't in the list.

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