"Oremor nhoj, em llik tsum uoy emag eht niw ot."
— a reversed message in Doom II
Alfonso John Romero (born October 28, 1967, in Colorado Springs, Colorado) wanted to make you his bitch.
After programming and designing video games for over eight years, John Romero left Softdisk after two years to form Id Software in 1991. At id, Romero was involved in the production of Commander Keen, Wolfenstein 3D, the first two Doom games, and Quake. (The hot Gamer Chick Stevie "killcreek" Case defeated him at Quake and became his girlfriend.)
In 1996, after some long-running disputes with the other members of Id Software, he and co-worker Tom Hall formed Ion Storm. Ion Storm's flagship title would have been Daikatana, an ambitious first-person shooter set for the holiday season of 1997, a seven-month development period that his former superiors at id saw as patently ludicrous. When he decided to switch to the Quake II engine in the middle of development for its advanced graphical effects, he did not make anybody his bitch that year. He didn't make anybody his bitch in 1998, either: company morale had eroded and most of the team had quit. John set another deadline, February 15, 1999, but nobody was his bitch that year. It wasn't until April 21, 2000 that Daikatana was finally released and he had his bitch-making opportunity.
Daikatana, for lack of a better word, sucked. On July 17, 2001, Ion Storm's parent company Eidos Interactive closed its Dallas office. Four years later, Eidos closed the Austin branch. (To be fair, many reviews said pretty much that Daikatana would have been a good game, but not a great game and definitely not a bitch-making game, if it had come out when it was originally supposed to. Three years later, it's just sad.)
John, apparently still intent on making somebody his bitch, founded Monkeystone Games with Tom Hall. They developed and published about fifteen games for mobile phones. John joined Midway Games as project lead for Gauntlet (1985 video game): Seven Sorrows, and the Monkeystone team moved to Austin, Texas to work on Midway's Area 51.
He's not all bad: he's said his favourite video game is Chrono Trigger and likes heavy metal music.
By now, the only one he did make his bitch - albeit unintentionally - was Looking Glass, a gaming studio responsible for games such as System Shock and Thief, which allegedly died because Eidos supported it too little in favour of Daikatana, which, as already mentioned, turned out to suck.
For more information about Romero's attempted bitch-makings, we suggest picking up David Kushner's Masters Of Doom.
He has since apologized for trying to make players his bitch and is resigned to Daikatana's status as the punchline of video games.
Tropes that John Romero has made his bitch (or have made him their bitch) include:
- Creator Cameo: The final level of Doom II required players to fire rockets into a secret room and hit John Romero's disembodied head with splash damage.
- Disappeared Dad: Romero's biological father, Alfonso, abandoned the family for two years. Romero would later reluctantly become an absent father to his own children when the demands of his job took up all of his time.
- Genre Shift: He pretty much gave up on FPS games after Daikatana, with the exceptions of Red Faction and Area51.
- Lighter and Softer: Cartoon Network Block Party and Ravenwood Fair.
- My Greatest Failure: Daikatana
- Pre-Ass-Kicking One-Liner: The infamous advertisement for Daikatana was "John Romero's About to Make You His Bitch".
- The Precious Precious Car: Like his collaborator John Carmack, Romero spent the fortune he made at Id Software on exotic sports cars, particularly Ferraris.
- Prima Donna Director: A longtime tenet of Romero's design philosophy. It's not a coincidence that the credo for his company, Ion Storm, was "Design is Law."
- Red Baron: Romero was nicknamed "The Surgeon" for his proficiency in FPS deathmatch.
- Small Name, Big Ego: While Romero legitimately earned his reputation as a talented programmer and gamer initially, he fell under this trope once his fame snowballed out of control.
- Trash Talk: Romero all but invented FPS trash-talking, as friends and colleagues will testify. He then took that invention and used it in the Daikatana ad campaign.
- Up to Eleven