Doom is a 1993 first-person shooter (FPS) game developed by id Software for MS-DOS. Players assume the role of a space marine, popularly known as Doomguy, fighting his way through hordes of invading demons from Hell. Its graphic violence and hellish imagery made it one of the top video game controversies in history.
Doom was notorious for its high levels of graphic violence and satanic imagery, which generated controversy from a broad range of groups. Doom for the Genesis 32X was one of the first video games to be given an M for Mature rating from the Entertainment Software Rating Board due to its violent gore and nature. Yahoo! Games listed it as one of the top ten most controversial games of all time. It was criticized by religious organizations for its diabolic undertones and was dubbed a “mass murder simulator” by critic and Killology Research Group founder David Grossman. Doom prompted fears that the then-emerging virtual reality technology could be used to simulate extremely realistic killing.
The game again sparked controversy in the United States when it was found that Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, who committed the Columbine High School massacre on April 20, 1999, were avid players of the game. While planning for the massacre, Harris said in his journal that the killing would be “like playing Doom”, and “it’ll be like the LA riots, the Oklahoma bombing, World War II, Vietnam, Duke Nukem and Doom all mixed together”, and that his shotgun was “straight out of the game”. A rumor spread afterwards that Harris had designed a Doom level that looked like the high school, populated with representations of Harris’s classmates and teachers, and that he practiced for the shootings by playing the level repeatedly. Although Harris did design custom Doom levels (which later became known as the “Harris levels”), none have been found to be based on Columbine High School.