In the end of 1994, I had this job working in Bath, Pennsylvania, and all the guys there used to play this game called Doom on their computers during lunch and breaks and I got addicted to it. These guys were all playing Wolfenstein 3D, before Doom came along in the end of 1993, so they all enjoyed shooting and killing things and the monsters in Doom came straight out of hell. I downloaded the free version, but I quickly upgraded to the full $40 version of Doom II: Hell on Earth and I began playing all the time. I think that there were 30 levels in that game and I played all the way through 3 times, before I finally quit. I had played Duke Nukem before, but this game was so much more realistic.
I was constantly playing this game, morning, noon and night and my wife would find me downstairs on the computer at 3 in the morning and she would tell me to stop playing, because I had to get up to go to work in a few hours and I would tell her, “Sure, as soon as I finish this level.” When I finally did get to sleep, I was haunted by demons in my sleep. I knew every inch of every level, where to go to increase my health and how to get more weapons and ammunition and which monsters were waiting behind every door. I played it over and over again, and I did not get bored because each time I found a way to improve. You would start off with a pistol, then you could get the chainsaw, a shotgun, a plasma rifle, and the BFG 9000 which would wipe out everything. The game had cheat codes which I tried not to use, because that took all the fun out of winning. The idea of the game was simple, kill everything you see!
Doom was a violent game, but it didn’t turn me into a serial killer. I found it relaxing to blow away monsters, but the game is filled with monsters and I couldn’t stop at killing just one or even a few. This game was running my life, it had become like a religion to me, till I went through all of the levels for the third time and then I quit cold turkey. I am glad that I stopped playing this game, as there has to be more to life than killing demons from hell. If I didn’t quit, I would have missed out on a lot of stuff. Some people attribute this statement to Mark Twain and others say it came from Ozzy Osborne, but whoever said “Out of all the things that I lost, I miss my mind the most”, knows what I am talking about.
Written for Fandango’s Provocative Question #85, which asks, “Have you ever had to make what turned out to be a life changing decision? If so, do you ever wish that you could go back in time and make a different decision? What decision was that and how do you think your life would have changed if you’d made a different one?”