gates of hell

Bill Gates inside Doom

The screencapture is taken from a video which was used to introduce Windows 95 and DirectX at the Microsoft Judgement Day event on 30 October 1995. It shows Bill Gates in Episode 1, Map 2 of Doom. At 02:06min an Imp approaches him for an autograph—Bill frags it and comments: “Don’t interrupt me while I’m speaking.” According to the overall theme, the Microsoft catchphrase “Where do you want to go today?” was substituted for “Who do you want to execute today?”

“So what do I need to do for this video?” Gates asked.
Alex took a deep breath. Then he handed Gates a shotgun.
(Kushner 2004 [2003]: 200)

The rare Bill Gates “DOOM” video [.wmv | 11.0MB | also ↑at YouTube and ↑at GoogleVideo] is not only a curiosity, a specimen of true gaming culture lore, but also a historical document illustrating the interweavement of popular culture—computer games in particular—and globally diffusing technology—the Windows operating system in that case. In 1995 word had it that copies of the shareware version of “Doom” were installed on about 10 million computers. More copies than of Microsoft’s than brand new operating system Windows 95. Bill Gates was completely at sea about the fact that the tiny company called id Software, situated somewhere in the Texan boondocks, hat outperformed the giant with some game. Gates wrote an according e-mail to his employee Alex St. John.

Alex had been addicted to id’s games ever since ↑Wolfenstein 3-D hit the Microsoft campus in 1992. Doom was being played so frequently around the company that he equated it with a religious phenomenon. Microsoft employees worshipped the game, not only for its addictive qualities but for its enviable technical feats. The buzzword in the industry was multimedia, and no one had seen a multimedia display for the computer quite as impressive as Doom. […]

The problem, Alex surmised, was that there was no technical solution that would allow a game in all its multimedia splendor to play safely and effectively on a variety of machines. […]

So in early 1995, Alex and his team developed a technology that made sure a game would run on Windows no matter how a computer’s hardware might change. The technology was called DirectX. (Kushner 2004 [2003]: 197-198)

St. John struck a deal with John Carmack, Microsoft ported “Doom” and presented “WinDoom” in March 1995.

The age of Windows and DirectX had begun
The next and most formidable step was to come: selling Windows as a gaming platform to the public. […]

They just needed to make a big splash in time for Christmas 1995. With a demonic game like Doom as its showcase, what better way to make a splash tha a Halloween event? […]

But to succeed, he knew that he needed to unveil not only the games, but the man himself: Bill Gates.
    Alex’s requests to feature the CEO at the Halloween event, not surprisingly, were turned down. Gates had other things to do, he was told. But Alex persisted and managed to persuade Gates’s public relations lackeys at least to have him record a video address for the crowd. On the day of the shoot, Gates met Alex in the Mocrosoft video studio, flanked by anxious PR representatives, who began dictating how the shoot was going to proceed. Gates, noticing Alex’s clear dismay, cut them off.
    “So what do I need to do for this video?” Gates asked.
    Alex took a deep breath. Then he handed Gates a shotgun. (Kushner 2004 [2003]: 198-200)

Borg Gates

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