Great moments in PC gaming: Firing the BFG for the first time

Great moments in PC gaming are bite-sized celebrations of some of our favorite gaming memories.


Developer: id Software

You've probably heard of Doom, the first-person shooter that changed video games forever. The book about John Carmack and John Romero creating it, Masters of Doom, is a must-read.

Come back with us to a simpler time. 1993. Before YouTube. Before most of us had the internet, in fact. When Doom was debuting on magazine cover-disks and blowing everyone away with its realism and incredible originality. Yes, it was a long time ago. Ah, but look closer at the shareware edition.

You see it? It’s the weapons list at the bottom of the screen. Pistol. Shotgun. Chaingun. Rocket launcher. But what are those last two? Plasma gun and… BFG? What’s a BFG? A weapon so mighty, so powerful, so mysterious, not even the mighty IDKFA code could summon it.

This was an era before every little bit of a game was picked over. The only way to find out was to play the registered version, either by buying it, or sucking up to the kid at school with a copy. And the BFG was waiting.

Remember, this is the era where the FPS genre basically consisted of Wolfenstein 3D, where the best you could hope for was a gatling gun. That was nothing compared to the hulking lump of hardware that finally rose up once the BFG was acquired. The rumbling as it prepared to fire. The explosion of green energy that scythed through everything on screen. The sense of power unrestrained, especially when one-shotting the final boss in an otherwise very disappointing last battle. That noise. PSSSSCHOOOOW! Enough to make you tremble.

Games have had many great weapons, but few so mighty to justify the months, maybe even years of staring at the empty slot on the interface and wondering what that last weapon would be like.

The answer: Worth the wait. That’s all that matters.