John Carmack, Legendary Developer of Wolfenstein 3D And Doom, Reflects On His Relationship With Steve Jobs


John Carmack, the man behind some of the cult classic video games such as Wolfenstein 3D, Quake and Doom has reflected on his estranged yet reverent relationship with Steve Jobs in a Facebook post.

In his post, Carmack regards Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs as his childhood heroes. He says “Jobs and Wozniak were revered figures for me, and wanting an Apple 2 was a defining characteristic of several years of my childhood.” A big fan of Apple and its innovation at that time, Carmack said that the first major purchase he did after successfully selling his popular gaming titles such as ‘Commander Keen” and Wolfenstein 3D” was an Apple NeXT computer which played a significant role in his software development feats later on.

Doom, the popular video game, was developed using NeXT hardware in the leadership of Carmack who was so fascinated by the hardware that he suggested to launch the game with “Developed on NeXT Computers” tag. His request was repudiated at that time by Apple Officials. After his game started making a mark on the industry, Steve Jobs agreed to his proposal to capitalize on it but “that ship had sailed” said Carmack.

Carmack’s Interactions With Steve

When Carmack was called in Apple to discuss the future of gaming in iPhone, he tried his best to convince them to adopt OpenGL as their 3D Graphics API to open new horizons in the field of gaming for Apple. He added that Steve argued with him over it.

“Part of his method, at least with me, was to deride contemporary options and dare me to tell him differently” said Carmack about Steve and “It was often frustrating, because he could talk, with complete confidence, about things he was just plain wrong about, like the price of memory for video cards and the amount of system bandwidth exploitable by the AltiVec extensions.”

John Carmack has appeared in many Keynotes along with Steve Jobs, and he described it as “a crazy fire drill with not enough time to do things right, and generally requiring heroic effort from many people to make it happen at all.” In his eyes, “Keynote Steve” was extremely particular about fine details during keynotes, and it was often impossible to work with him because of this. He also added that it significantly improved the quality of presentations.

Steve also invited Carmack to develop OS for him to which he denied. Discussing more about his protean nature, he said “The Steve Jobs “hero / shithead” rollercoaster was real, and after riding high for a long time, I was now on the down side.” After a fallout with Steve, Carmack was denied the access to the early iPhone SDK as per the direct instructions of Apple’s Co-founder.

“I showed up for him”

Reminiscing about his connection with Steve, Carmack remembered how he hung up on him and how everyone reacted to it hilariously. Sadly, that was the last interaction that happened between the two before Steve died in October 2011 due to Pancreatic cancer.

He concluded the post by adding “I corroborate many of the negative character traits that he was infamous for, but elements of the path that led to where I am today were contingent on the dents he left in the universe.” Furthermore, he summed up his both good and bad experiences with Jobs by ending the post with “I showed up for him.”

Also Read: This Is A Job Application Of Steve Jobs From 3 Years Before He Founded Apple
Anmol Sachdeva

Anmol Sachdeva

Anmol is a tech journalist who handles reportage of cybersecurity and Apple and OnePlus devices at Fossbytes. He's an ambivert who is striving hard to appease existential crisis by eating, writing, and scrolling through memes.
More From Fossbytes

Latest On Fossbytes

Find your dream job