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About 20 years ago, in 1992, Wolfenstein 3d came out (as you probably know). For whatever reason, although it was a really great game for it's time, a lot of people didn't really know about it.

Doom, on the other hand - pretty much everyone has heard of Doom. Why is this? They were both released by id software. I've played both, and they're both really fun. But how came Doom was many times more popular than Wolfenstein 3D?

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<citation needed>. Wolfenstein 3D is extremely well-known, and enjoys a prominent place in FPS history. –  user3389 Apr 8 '11 at 22:32
    
Yeah, I don't really think I'd consider Doom more popular...hell, Wolfenstein has had more recent entries! –  Shinrai Apr 8 '11 at 22:44
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When I was a kid, it was all about Wolfenstein. Great game. –  Matthew Read Apr 8 '11 at 23:10
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Not sure I agree with the premise of this question. I think they're both as popular as one another and most people that know of one know of the other. Also, not real sure this question can be answered objectively. –  Doozer Blake Apr 9 '11 at 14:21
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Come on, this isn't true. Wolfenstein is a huge franchise! It was a massive game! Just because it wasn't as massive as Doom to you doesn't make it true. –  Glen Wheeler Apr 10 '11 at 7:58
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4 Answers

Controversy. While there were some small media outcries with Wolfenstein 3D's release, but the big ones didn't come until 1993 and 1994 after Doom was released and the news media latched onto the controversy around it. Some of this may be related to the fact that when Wolfenstein 3D went on sale, the media's attention was pointed towards Mortal Kombat which came out at the same time. The Mortal Kombat controversy totally shadowed the release of several other games coming out around that time, including Wolf3D and the incredibly sinister (but great) Syndicate.

When the Doom controversy started, Wolfenstein 3D had a sudden burst of attention as the "game proving the developers were Nazis" and other crap like that.

Ironically, all this controversy however led to the FPS genre gaining in popularity, eventually becoming the behemoth it is today.

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[citation needed] –  user3389 Apr 9 '11 at 0:32
    
Just go read wikipedia. Seriously, I was alive when all this went on, Doom / MK are the reason there are ratings on video games now. –  Andy Jun 12 '11 at 18:14
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My guess:

1) Continuity - Doom 1, and Doom 2 came in a relatively short sequence, and were then followed by the Quake series (which was pretty much the same, let's admit it). Much easier to remember a series that affected a whole generation.

2) Doom (or at least Doom 2) had successful multiplayer. I spent most of my freshmen year in the old computer lab playing Doom 2 deathmatches against dorm-mates.

Wolf 3D was a fun game, but it wasn't really memorable as a franchise. The gameplay wasn't as good as some earlier in-the-nazi-castle 2D games, and the sequels were not particularly successful and came many years later. There were also a lot of copycats that were pretty much the same principle but different tiles.

I remember downloading the demo for doom and having my mind blown. Doom was the first major shooter to give a sense of verticality, even though if I'm not mistaken the map design really didn't let a player be at different heights at the same time.

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I don't agree. Do you have a source? –  Glen Wheeler Apr 10 '11 at 7:58
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There were stairs,and enemies could be on levels above you, but you couldn't look up/down. As long as you shot in their general direction, the engine would "move" your bullet up to hit them. –  Adeese Apr 10 '11 at 16:15
    
@Adeese is right, the map building for Doom was still 2D only. You could build a "sector" which was just an area that had a set floor and ceiling tiles and uniform height. Stairs were done by putting sectors of slightly higher height next to each other, but you couldn't do a spiral staircase, for example. It's really a 2.5D game. –  Andy Jun 12 '11 at 18:12
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Wolfenstein's engine only handles maps based on squares. Doom allowed rooms shaped as arbitrary polygons.

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Non-orthagonal rooms was one of the biggest features that DOOM had and Wolfenstein didn't, but I would say that the really eye-catching one was full texture-mapping. That was used to create much more realistic environments that could change from room to room –  Nate Koppenhaver Jun 16 '11 at 22:43
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I think the answer to this question lies in emotional response. Wolfenstein 3D was known to gamers at the time, but was essentially a logical progression from existing 3D maze games with less limitations on movement direction, or on earlier 3D wireframe games on other platforms. Doom, on the other hand, blew people's minds because until that point, no-one had created a realistic feeling 3D environment. It was one of PC games few true quantum leaps in visual quality (arguably only Half Life and possibly Bioshock have achieved this kind of "wow" factor since).

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