Love brutalist architecture? Wish you could deathmatch in the Hubert Humphrey building, or chainsaw imps at the Breuer building? Here’s the next best thing: Brutalist Doom, a mod for the classic id software first-person-shooter that turns the entire game into an ultraviolent brutalist playground.
Brutalist Doom is a joke aimed at a very specific type of person: the gamer who not only loves shooting demons from hell in the face with a sawed-off shotgun, but is an architecture aficionado to boot. First released in 1993, Doom was one of the first games that let gamers easily design their own levels, using editors that worked a lot like CAD. Twenty-one years later, I wonder if there are more than a few architects bouncing around, whose interests in design were first piqued by bringing new Doom levels to life.
What makes Brutalist Doom so great is that it really just points out the hidden truth about Doom’s level design anyway: it’s a Xanadu of Brutalism, hidden under a shiny coat of radioactive goo, Satanic symbolism, and pixelated entrails. Because of limitations with the game engine, Doom levels are all massive, inorganic, and fortress-like. Brutalist Doom just emphasizes it by replacing all of the game’s textures with exposed concrete, toning down the game’s palette to be more monotonous, and replacing all the game’s skyboxes to look like something from Get Carter.
For modern Doom fans, there’s even an added joke here. Brutalist Doom sounds a lot like Brutal Doom, an insane mod that is about as bright, colorful, and crazy as Doom gets. It’s the polar opposite of Brutalist Doom, which is what makes me suspect that part of the Brutalist Doom gag is trolling would-be Brutal Doom players who download the wrong mod by mistake.