By David Kushner
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He was brutally honest in his criticism of the current crop of games, including those being put out by Softdisk. Al showed Carmack to the other building, where Romero and Lane were eagerly waiting. On the way, Carmack was impressed to see a stack of Dr Dobb’s Journals, the magazine for hackers, which grew out of the Homebrew Computer Club. But the strongest impression came when he met Lane and Romero, a meeting that bordered on the kinetic. Within moments the three programmers were discussing the spectrum of game programming, from the challenges of double resolution 16-bit graphics for the Apple II to the nuances of 8086 assembly language.
Romero, the pack rat, had immediately taped the letter up on his wall and showed it off to Carmack, Tom, Lane, and Adrian. A couple weeks later, he got another fan letter, handwritten and a bit more urgent. “Dear John,” it read, “I loved your game (Pyramids of Egypt), it is better than another pyramid type game that was in Big Blue Disk a few issues ago. M. last night! Great fun! What’s your best score on the game? Is there a secret key that advances to the next level automatically? Do you know of any similar games?
By the time he contacted Romero, he had earned $ 150,000 by word of mouth alone. Business was so good, Scott explained, that he’d quit his day job to start his own shareware game publishing company, called Apogee. And he was looking tor other games to publish. Romero was making perfect shareware games and he didn’t even know it, Scott said. An ideal shareware game had to have a few ingredients: short action titles that were broken up in levels. Because the shareware games were being distributed over BBSs, they had to be 51 small enough for people to download them over modems.
masters_of_doom by David Kushner