30 Retro Game Ads in 30 Days: Daikatana
And so we've come to the close of yet another 30/30. Now, before you reach for the nearest box of Kleenex, let's end with the most famous -- or, more accurately, most infamous -- videogame ad of all time: John Romero's ill-advised bitch ad.
At the time, John Romero was still very famous. After he and John Carmack -- the two most visible founders of the four people who founded id Software; the McCartney and Lennon of the games industry -- parted ways, Romero went on to found Austin-based startup Ion Storm. (R.I.P., old girl.) There, inside the polished glass tower of the building, like a mad scientist gassed up on cases of Pepsi, Romero and his flowing locks of hair set out to create what would be the single greatest videogame of all time.
And we all waited patiently for this medium-changing, revolution-starting product. And we waited. And then we waited some more. And then the blood-red ad appeared in the major game magazines. With its crimson background and bold use of the word "bitch," the ad pissed us off to no end. Still, we had to give it to Romero; the man had serious balls. Give him that much. (No doubt Romero would have been a regular guest on our STFU list.)
Daikatana was slated to hit stores in time for the holidays in 1997. Three years, two game engines and hundreds of burned-out, resentful employees later, in 2000, Daikatana finally shipped.
It wasn't the worst game of all time. It wasn't! But gamers never could forgive, or forget, that boastful, prideful ad campaign. We had three long years to stew over it, for crying out loud. It's that ad, coupled with the ridiculous development delays, that resulted in a shoelaces-to-toupee uppercut for Romero, his career and Ion Storm itself. Romero has since become a pariah; the Pete Rose of our medium, if you will. But he's arguably the founder of smack-talk (note "Suck It Down" in a smaller font at the bottom of the page). So, to all of you Halo/Call of Duty multiplayer fans out there who are insulting each other at this very moment -- you have Romero to thank for your infantile, unfunny behavior. And when videogames do have a legit hall of fame, John Romero very much deserves a place inside those hallowed halls.