In Doom, players assume the role of an unnamed space marine, who became popularly known as "Doomguy", fighting his way through hordes of invading demons from Hell. With one third of the game, nine levels, distributed as shareware, Doom was played by an estimated 10 million people within two years of its release, popularizing the mode of gameplay and spawning a gaming subculture. In addition to popularizing the FPS genre, it pioneered immersive 3D graphics, networked multiplayer gaming, and support for customized additions and modifications via packaged files in a data archive known as "WADs". As a sign of its effect on the industry, first-person shooter games from the genre's boom in the 1990s, helped in no small part by the game's release, became known simply as "Doom clones". Its graphic violence, as well as satanic imagery, made Doom the subject of controversy, notably for the Columbine High School Massacre.
Influence on Columbine High School massacre
Eric Harris, a student at Columbine High School, was an avid fan of Doom and always played the game at his house after school. It is unknown when he started playing in the first place. In 1996, Harris created a private AOL website on his computer where he hosted "DOOM II", before the actual sequel was released. On the site he would play for hours, according to friends and family, and he would often play with his friend "VodKa" (Dylan Klebold).
In addition to playing online, Harris also used the website to tell other users online about his hatred of people and later began to post plans of how to make pipe bombs and that he kept his ideas in his journal. Klebold also did the same, albeit different from Harris. The site attracted attention in late 1997 from the Brown family. Harris aggressive behaviours started to become known to them after he displayed a death threat that he wanted to kill Brooks Brown. The parents reported this to the Jefferson County Sheriff's office and Detective Michael Guerra was to have filed an affidavit requesting a search warrant of the Harris household; it never got filed.
On January 30, 1998, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were arrested for burglary and theft of stealing objects from a van. As a result, both teens were sentenced to community service from the juvenile diversion program, and Harris' internet prescence would not be seen for sometime. When he was released from the program a few weeks early in April, Harris resumed his internet duties and soon began to write his plans for an attack on his school immediately after.
Close to the end of 1998, Harris began to show pictures of the guns his friend Robyn Anderson purchased from a local K-Mart. And as the year turned, in 1999, Harris began to post online his plan for when he would begin to take out the school. Harris quoted in his journal how the planned massacre would be like "playing DOOM" and he would be killing people for his enjoyment. After Eric Harris' website became public following the Columbine High School Massacre, AOL deleted the website from its servers effective immediately.