The New York Times recently wrote that The Web Means The End of Forgetting. I never kept a copy of my first public software project with me—yet because I put it on the internet, it eventually made its way into an FTP archive, many mirrors of which still host the files sixteen years later, when a casual conversation with a friend prompted me to search for them.
In 1994, I didn’t like Macintosh computers, so I decided to replace the explosive barrels in DOOM with them.
Following are the two frames used as the idle animation for the sprite:
When fired upon, a Mac-barrel slid backward a few inches and exploded using this three-frame animation:
An accompanying WAV file combined the Mac’s classic “boing” error sound with the traditional Doom explosion effect; scripted DOS batch files were used to install and uninstall the addon.
I also wrote documentation for the package, which included an introductory narrative about the role of the Macintosh in the post-apocalyptic setting of the video game:
DOOM Mac Barrels v1.0
The wound from that demon scrape is killing you!! You try
to look around at the scenery to divert your attention for
a bit. All around you is barren wasteland. There is some-
thing that catches your attention, however. To your right
is an old Macintosh Classic, the UAC's general-purpose
torture device which also, ironically, doubles as a poor
excuse for an abacus... er, computer. It was invented in
the late twentieth century, but the Apple corporation that
made it apparently couldn't stand up to the competition of
the other superpowerful PC companies, so their technology
never progressed. AAACH! Suddenly, an Imp comes out of the
shadows, roaring its Satanic battle-cry as it sees you.
Thinking quickly, you let out a blast from your shotgun,
but because of your terrible aim, the shell hits the old
Mac. The thing rattles, the screen cracks, and the damn
thing EXPLODES into a ball of red fire with a distant
system beep in the background, killing the Imp!! Holy
shit! Maybe these things CAN be useful...!
The original formatting is preserved. I didn’t know it was called justified text, but I knew what it was, and I knew that I wanted my README to be typographically elegant, insofar as 80-character wide DOS screens allowed them to be.
According to the rest of the documentation, I either had a ridiculous level of hatred towards Macs and their users, or I was secretly in love with them.
While the Web doesn’t forget things, I never told it much else in those days, so I can’t use it to inform me of other thoughts I had when I was younger. Despite the angst directed towards Macs in this project, I actually owned a Macintosh LC in the preceding years, and I still have very fond memories of creating things using HyperCard, investigating the composition of my favorite programs with ResEdit, and gleaning from the learnings preserved in Apple’s impeccably-crafted Inside Macintosh manuals.