There are certain games which really make an impact on the world of entertainment. Tetris is one, and you could argue that, more recently, the mobile smash hit Candy Crush is another. These are games that transcend the boundaries of video gaming and become pop-culture touchstones; if a game is popular enough to get a casual mention in a popular TV show or movie, for example, then you can be pretty sure it has made it.
Doom is another title that falls into this esteemed category, and, for some people, the moment it really smashed through into the mainstream is when Chandler Bing mentions it in passing during an episode of the quintessential '90s sitcom Friends. For a whole generation of players, Doom was the only thing that mattered for a long, long time; it was a triple-threat release – combing blistering 3D visuals, intense first-person action and online multiplayer – which managed to usher in a whole new genre: The First-Person Shooter, or FPS, as it's more commonly referred to today.
I’m Too Young To Die: The Ultimate Guide to First-Person Shooters 1992–2002 is a lavish coffee-table book which aims to cover the steady rise of the FPS. Of course, there's a lot of focus on Doom (and the associated output of id Software), but over 180 titles are touched upon over the book's 424 pages. These include historically significant entries in the genre – Wolfenstein 3D, Ultima Underworld, Half-Life, Deus Ex, GoldenEye 007 and Halo, to name but a few – as well as lesser-known outings (anyone remember Ecks vs. Sever on the GBA, or its 2002 sequel?) to round things off.
As a means of covering the evolution of the FPS, I’m Too Young To Die is wonderful – but it's the input of the people who actually made these games that elevates it to the next level. Interviews with David Doak (GoldenEye 007, TimeSplitters), Randy Pitchford (Gearbox Software) and Scott Miller (Apogee, 3D Realms) give welcome insight into what it was like to be pushing the boundaries of a nascent genre all those years ago, while the legendary John Romero contributes the book's foreword.
As is so often the case with Bitmap Books projects, I’m Too Young To Die comes in a standard edition (£32.49) and a Collector's Edition, the latter of which is limited to 2,000 units. Video game artist Ian Pestridge contributes the amazing cover artwork.
Priced at £54.99, the Collector’s Edition comes in a massive box (with a shiny over) which houses the book as well as some other goodies – one of which is an original FPS-themed comic illustrated by Simon Hayes. You also get a bookmark, a set of art cards (based on Pestridge's gorgeous cover art) and a postcard. The book is identical, but if you're a sucker for bonus items and like keeping things in nice, shiny presentation boxes, then this super-exclusive edition might be worth the extra cash.
Given that the FPS continues to dominate the world of games thanks to modern titles like Call of Duty and Halo, there's never been a better time to brush up on the history and development of this most popular of genres – and I’m Too Young To Die is the perfect means of doing this.
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