Doom and the Magic of "Live"

If I was ambitious enough to create a "medium-to-very geeky" category, I'd make one, but I'm not.  I just downloaded Doom on Xbox Live Arcade.  It's great--it's the Doom you knew and loved ten years ago, in its big screen glory--I can actually sit on my couch and play it on my big TV instead of in my basement on a 15" monitor with my wireless controller.  Absolutely awesome.


What was really incredible about it wasn't the ability of being able to play Doom on my console system (I mean, c'mon, I even had Doom for the N64.)  What was amazing was how *easy* it was to get Doom compared to the first time I played it.  It was 1995, I was running DOS and Windows 3.1, and my friend (Brock, you're getting your call-out on my blog) had the three 3 1/2" floppy disks for the shareware version of Doom.  We copied the disks (it *was* shareware), and I sat for 20 minutes switching disks in and out of my computer at home, installing the game, configuring my sound card, and finally, typing "doom" at the command prompt to play the game.  Wow.  Today, I was sitting on my couch, and I hit a couple buttons on my Xbox controller accepting the download from Xbox Live, and one minute later, I was shooting my first imp.  :)


That's the power of "Live".  There's nothing that really wasn't *possible* before--I could play Doom, or play games with other people online, or search for directions to the nearest pizza place, or blog, or gather my RSS feeds in an aggregator.  But when it just becomes that easy--when those cool things aren't just possible, but they are easy and integrated into what you are already used to (whether it's using a game console controller to download new games or a web browser to do things that you used to have to install as a desktop application) it becomes something powerful, and most importantly, something accessible outside of just us geeks.  Yes, you might have been deathmatching people ten years ago, but now my little brother can, who knows next to nothing about modems, sound cards, or shareware licensing.


Every once in a while, it's cool to look back and see how far things have come in the past decade.