You’ve Got The Chainsaw

I could write about Doom all day. And believe me I’ve tried.  And tried again.  For me it sits right next to Wipeout as one of the games that made me sit up and pay attention to games as more than just a thing that I did when the sun went down or the ball was hit over the neighbour’s fence.  It the sort of thing that set young tongues wagging at school, sharing our stories of ultra-violent debauchery, putting into carefully crafted prose our tales of triumph against the dreaded Cyberdemon and his Barons of Hell.  There are plenty of things that define one’s childhood, and for me, Doom absolutely sits right up there next to the rather more pedestrian fandom I held for the likes of Alan Border and Ayrton Senna.

And nothing has changed.  Doom is still great more than 20 years later simply because it had so many of those “AHAH!” moments that are hard to shake even though things have moved on.  It was nothing short of one of the most important games in my 30-odd years playing video games.  Because it seemed at every turn something was there that changed expectations about the medium.  And when there wasn’t a thing that made you go “mmmm”, the blood-soaked action was just so fast and frenzied that there was simply no time to notice.  Doom was a deserved cultural zeitgeist, and I feel ever so slightly for kids of today that don’t get the experience first hand the impact it had on the industry, and at a more personal level the sheer glee it brought to kids of my generation.

But I’m not sure there was any one single moment in the 90’s, apart from perhaps seeing Mortal Kombat arcade machine in the flesh for the first time, that brought such unadulterated joy to scores of mollycoddled kids than hefting up the heaviest of heavy chainsaws and revving it up for the first time.  Never before, and only a handful of times since, has obtaining a melee weapon in a first person shooter been so defining.  But it was the face of the aptly named “Doom Guy” – who may or may not be named Flynn Taggart if you consider the Doom novels canon – that gave it such gravitas. His sinister but determined grin was that of a man whose odds of survival had not only been shortened, but a man who would take some semblance of glee from the chopping and maiming that was to come, who was up for the challenge.  It was Doom’s equivalent of laughing in the face of death, and as a player on the other side of the screen, it was almost like a shot of adrenaline right into the heart.

The first thing I ever heard about Doom was that there was a chainsaw in it, that you could pick it up, and that you could use it as a weapon.  I have vivid memories of my much older brother and uncles describing in gory detail the act of cutting up an imp with the chainsaw, all the while almost taking great delight in the fact that I wasn’t allowed to play it.  “You should see the blood!” they’d say before mocking me with “but you’re not allowed to”.  And I wasn’t.  So for what seemed like a millennia I fantasised about that moment, the moment I would finally get to see the fabled chainsaw in action, the moment I’d finally play the game that all the grown-ups at family gatherings were cunningly hiding from the kids’ table.  But rest assured, when I finally did get my hands on that Chainsaw, my grin wasn’t too far off of what I was seeing on screen.  It’s a shame the wind didn’t change and preserve that moment in time.

DOOM Chainsaw


Do you remember smiling gleefully as the words YOU’VE GOT THE CHAINSAW NOW FIND SOME MEAT appeared on screen?  Or do you have another favourite video game moment? 


  1. I have a love for Doom that borders on obsession! What a great game. I still vividly remember the first time I ever played it, and the subsequent hours I spent sat in front of that Pentium 386 searching every nook and cranny of the huge, open levels looking for every secret. I wasn’t happy finishing any level until I had 100% kills, items and secrets.

    I do love the moment that I fist picked up the chainsaw, but my favourite moment from any Doom game was getting the super shotgun in Doom II. It first appeared in the second map (Underhalls) and was utterly devastating.

    I still play Doom on a regular basis; the modding community is surprisingly strong and there are new and remastered version being released all the time. It’s my go-to, feel good game.

    1. It is spectacular – it’s certainly no lie to say most of my fondest game memories are of Doom. And I’m fascinated by the myriad versions there are – and even though i had access to a nice beefy 486 at the time i was gripped by the SNES version. Like you it’s a love that transcends rational logic. It’s utterly brilliant.

      Funny you mention that moment – i was nanoseconds from writing about that instead. The first time you line up that perfect shot to take down 4 or more blokes (outside the door and right around the corner from where you first find the super shotgun is a perfect place) is a magical moment.

      As i wrote the games are just full of amazing moments, and whether it be level design, smart enemy placement, or brilliant use of sound, Doom is just an absolutely wonderful pleasure to play. And i still love playing it – like you – to this day

      1. Weirdly enough, I think for me, it wasn’t so much a moment as ten minutes or so. A friend showed it to me on his PC, and … well … what was happening on screen took a moment to sink in.

        But once it did… >:D

      2. It was hard for the brain to comprehend it for sure – such a technical tour de force that moved at such great pace. I doubt kids growing up today will ever experience that sort of quantum leap we seemingly were ever couple or years in the 90’s!

Leave a Reply