Be Grand: The Leaving Cert Resit,

John Romero

August 04, 2020

We love and admire all of the wonderful guests who’ve visited the Be Grand principal’s office over the last couple of years, but for purely personal reasons this week’s guest occupies a very special place in Andy’s heart. A game-changer in both the figurative and literal senses, we are overjoyed to welcome the legendary John Romero.

As the creative visionary behind the classic titles Wolfenstein 3D, Quake and the immortal Doom series, John’s work had a transformative effect on the computer game industry, popularising the first-person shooter and bringing an ultra-violent, adrenaline-fuelled intensity to gaming that anyone who played the games at an impressionable age has never forgotten. These were games that you didn’t just play – you lived. John takes Andy back to where his story began, recounting how playing Pac Man in an arcade as a kid inculcated in him a lifelong love of the medium and drove him to delve into not just how games functioned but what they could be. He also discusses how it feels when you realise you’ve created something that has never been seen before, the pride he feels in his legacy and in the community that has evolved around his games, which has led to countless friendships and relationships that wouldn’t have existed otherwise.

Just in case you didn’t think he was cool to begin with, John also talks about going to school on an army base and what it was like to have a step-dad who may or may not have been a spy. There’s also discussion on John and Andy’s mutual love of horror cinema, seeing Star Wars for the first time, and what question he’d set should Doom ever make the Leaving Cert syllabus.

This episode is the story of a man whose work will live forever and what is possible with hard graft, talent and abundant love for the medium.

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