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John Romero

Video Game Designer, Developer & Programmer

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 John Romero Biography

John Romero is an American director, designer, programmer, and developer in the video game industry. He is best known as a co-founder of id Software and designer for many of their games, including Wolfenstein 3D, Dangerous Dave, Hexen, Doom, Doom II and Quake. His game designs and development tools, along with new programming techniques created and implemented by id Software's lead programmer John D. Carmack, led to a mass popularization of the first-person shooter, or FPS, in the 1990s. He is credited with coining the FPS multiplayer term "deathmatch".

John Romero started programming games on an Apple II he got in 1980. His first developed game was a Crazy Climber clone, but it wasn't published. His first published game, Scout Search, appeared in the June 1984 issue of inCider magazine, a popular Apple II magazine during the 1980s. Romero's first company, Capitol Ideas Software, was listed as the developer for at least 12 of his earliest published games. Romero captured the December cover of the Apple II magazine Nibble for three years in a row starting in 1987. He entered a programming contest in A+ magazine during its first year of publishing with his game Cavern Crusader. The first game Romero created that was eventually published was Jumpster in UpTime. Jumpster was created in 1983 and published in 1987, making Jumpster his earliest created, then published, game.

Romero's first industry job was at Origin Systems in 1987 after programming games for 8 years. He worked on the Apple II to Commodore 64 port of 2400 A.D., which was eventually scrapped due to slow sales of the Apple II version. Romero then moved onto Space Rogue, a game by Paul Neurath. During this time, Romero was asked if he would be interested in joining Paul's soon-to-start company Blue Sky Productions, eventually renamed Looking Glass Technologies. Instead, Romero left Origin Systems to co-found a game company named Inside Out Software, where he ported Might & Magic II from the Apple II to the Commodore 64. He had almost finished the Commodore 64 to Apple II port of Tower Toppler, but Epyx unexpectedly cancelled all its ports industrywide due to their tremendous investment in the first round of games for the upcoming Atari Lynx. During this short time, Romero did the artwork for the Apple IIGS version of Dark Castle, a port from the Macintosh. During this time, John and his friend Lane Roathe co-founded a company named Ideas from the Deep and wrote versions of a game named Zappa Roidz for the Apple II, PC and Apple IIGS. Their last collaboration was an Apple II disk operating system (InfoDOS) for Infocom's games Zork Zero, Arthur, Shogun and Journey.

Romero moved to Shreveport, Louisiana in March 1989 and joined Softdisk as a programmer in its Special Projects division. After several months of helping the PC monthly disk magazine Big Blue Disk, he officially moved into the department until he started a PC games division in July 1990 named 'Gamer's Edge' (originally titled PCRcade). Romero hired John D. Carmack into the department from his freelancing in Kansas City, moved Adrian Carmack into the division from Softdisk's art department, and persuaded Tom Hall to come in at night and help with game design. Romero and the others then left Softdisk in February 1991 to form id Software.

Romero worked at id Software from its inception in 1991 until 1996. He was involved in the creation of several milestone games, including Commander Keen, Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, Doom II: Hell on Earth and Quake. He served as executive producer (and game designer) on Heretic and Hexen. He designed most of the first episode of Doom, a fourth of the levels in Quake, and half the levels in the Commander Keen and Wolfenstein 3D: Spear of Destiny. He wrote many of the tools used at id Software to create their games, including DoomEd (level editor), QuakeEd (level editor), DM (for deathmatch launching), DWANGO client (to connect the game to DWANGO's servers), TED5 (level editor for the Commander Keen series, Wolfenstein 3D: Spear of Destiny), IGRAB (for grabbing assets and putting them in WAD files), the installers for all the games up to and including Quake, the SETUP program used to configure the games, and several others. In his keynote speech at WeAreDevelopers Conference 2017, Romero named this period Turbo Mode, in which he emphasizes having created 28 games, in 5.5 years with a team consisting of fewer than 10 developers.

During the production of Quake, Romero clashed with John Carmack over the future direction of id. Romero wanted the game to follow his demanding vision without compromise, but Carmack insisted that the project had to make steady progress toward completion and accused Romero of not working as much as the other developers. Although Romero relented on his vision and joined a months-long death march effort to finish the game, this did not resolve the tensions within the company, and Romero was forced to resign. In a 1997 interview Romero reflected, "Leaving after finishing Quake was the right choice - leaving after finishing a hit game. I keep on good terms with the id guys and it was pretty easy because we've been friends for years."

Romero later co-founded Ion Storm in Dallas, Texas with id co-worker Tom Hall, where he designed and produced Daikatana. This ambitious first-person shooter was announced in 1997 with a release date for the Christmas shopping season of that year. However, this release date slipped repeatedly in the coming months, and the game began to accrue negative press.

In July 2001, Romero and Hall founded Monkeystone Games in order to develop and publish games for mobile devices, and Monkeystone released 15 games (approximately) during its short lifespan of three and a half years. Some highlights of their developments included Hyperspace Delivery Boy! (Pocket PC, Windows, Linux), Congo Cube (Pocket PC, PC, BREW, Java ME), and a version of Red Faction for the Nokia N-Gage. He and his girlfriend, Stevie Case, broke up in 2003, and she left the company in May while Red Faction development continued until October. John then left Monkeystone Games' day-to-day operations to Lucas Davis while Romero and Hall left for Midway in San Diego.

In mid-October 2003, Romero joined Midway Games as project lead on Gauntlet: Seven Sorrows. While he continued to maintain his working relationship with Monkeystone, Lucas Davis took over running the office. The Monkeystone team moved to Austin, Texas to work on Midway's Area 51 title until its release. Monkeystone Games closed down in January 2005. Romero moved from project lead to creative director of internal studio during this time. At the end of June 2005, Romero left Midway Games mere months before the completion of Gauntlet: Seven Sorrows.

On August 31, 2005, Romero confirmed that he was working on a yet-to-be-announced MMOG at his newly opened development studio, Slipgate Ironworks. It was reported that the name was temporary. "For the record," Romero wrote, "I'm co-founder of a new game company in the Bay Area and am much better off in many ways than I was at Midway". He said that he would not reveal anything about the company or the game until 2007. On March 17, 2009 it was announced that Slipgate Ironworks was part of Gazillion Entertainment. Along with venture capitalist Rob Hutter and investor Bhavin Shah, Romero was a co-founder of Gazillion. On July 22, 2006, John Romero and former co-worker Tom Hall guest hosted episode 53 of the podcast The Widget. Romero departed Gazillion Entertainment in November 2010 to form a social game company called Loot Drop alongside Brenda Brathwaite. His longtime co-worker, Tom Hall joined the company on January 1, 2011.

John Romero was the CPL's Chairman of the Board for ten years. On December 20, 2006, John Romero announced a new FPS project for the Cyberathlete Professional League titled Severity for both consoles and PC. It was announced that Tom Mustaine (ex-Studio Director at Ritual Entertainment) would act as Director of Game Development at CPL's new studio. It was stated that Severity would be a multiplayer first person shooter, and that the game would be built on technology licensed from id Software. On October 2009, Angel Munoz, founder of the Cyberathlete Professional League (CPL) stated that Severity was no longer being produced because they were not able "to convince game publishers of its value".

In March 2010, John Romero collaborated with the gaming magazine Retro Gamer, taking on the role of a guest editor, taking charge of the magazine's editorial and contributing to a number of articles on different subjects throughout the magazine. The issue contains an interview by Romero with industry luminaries offering their thoughts on Romero. In August 2014, in a Super Joystiq Podcast at Gamescom 2014 Romero announced that he was about to make a new shooter,stating that he was working with a concept artist and he had some cool imagery for the main character. In April 2016, Romero announced a partnership with Adrian Carmack to create a new FPS entitled Blackroom, describing their vision as a visceral, varied and violent shooter that harkens back to classic FPS play with a mixture of exploration, speed, and intense, weaponized combat. They were seeking $700,000 via Kickstarter to see the project to completion and anticipated a launch in late 2018. The Kickstarter campaign was cancelled four days after its launch.

On 2017, Romero won the Bizkaia Award at the Fun & Serious Game Festival, which takes place in the Spanish city of Bilbao.

In January 2019, John Romero appeared on the hbomberguy Donkey Kong 64 stream, raising money for the trans charity Mermaids in response to comments made by Graham Linehan about the charity

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  • HOW TO BOOK John Romero?

    Our booking agents have successfully helped clients around the world secure talent like John Romero for both live and virtual events for over 15 years. The team at All American Entertainment represents and listens to the needs of organizations and corporations seeking to hire keynote speakers, celebrities or entertainers for speaking engagements, personal appearances, product endorsements, or corporate entertainment. Fill out a booking request form for John Romero, or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to discuss your upcoming event. One of our experienced agents will be happy to help you get pricing information and check availability for John Romero or any other celebrity of your choice.
  • HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO BOOK John Romero?

    Booking fees for John Romero, or any other speakers and celebrities, are determined based on a number of factors and may change without notice. Pricing often varies between live and virtual events. Other factors that can affect speaker fees include the talent's schedule, market conditions, length of presentation, and the location of the event. The live and virtual event speaking fees listed on this website are intended to serve as a guideline only. In some cases, the actual quote may be above or below the stated range. For the most current fee to hire John Romero, please fill out the booking request form or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to speak with an experienced booking agent.
  • WHO IS THE AGENT FOR John Romero?

    All American Entertainment has successfully secured celebrity talent like John Romero for clients worldwide for more than 15 years. As a full-service talent booking agency, we have access to virtually any speaker or celebrity in the world. Our agents are happy and able to submit an offer to the speaker or celebrity of your choice, letting you benefit from our reputation and long-standing relationships in the industry. Fill out the booking request form or call our office at 1.800.698.2536, and one of our agents will assist you to book John Romero for your next private or corporate function.
  • WHAT IS A FULL-SERVICE TALENT BOOKING AGENCY?

    All American Speakers is a "buyers agent" and exclusively represents talent buyers, meeting planners and event professionals, who are looking to secure celebrities and speakers for personal appearances, speaking engagements, corporate entertainment, public relations campaigns, commercials, or endorsements. We do not exclusively represent John Romero or claim ourselves as the exclusive booking agency, business manager, publicist, speakers bureau or management for John Romero or any other speaker or celebrity on this website. For more information on how we work and what makes us unique, please read the AAE Advantage.
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John Romero

Video Game Designer, Developer & Programmer

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John Romero Biography

John Romero is an American director, designer, programmer, and developer in the video game industry. He is best known as a co-founder of id Software and designer for many of their games, including Wolfenstein 3D, Dangerous Dave, Hexen, Doom, Doom II and Quake. His game designs and development tools, along with new programming techniques created and implemented by id Software's lead programmer John D. Carmack, led to a mass popularization of the first-person shooter, or FPS, in the 1990s. He is credited with coining the FPS multiplayer term "deathmatch".

John Romero started programming games on an Apple II he got in 1980. His first developed game was a Crazy Climber clone, but it wasn't published. His first published game, Scout Search, appeared in the June 1984 issue of inCider magazine, a popular Apple II magazine during the 1980s. Romero's first company, Capitol Ideas Software, was listed as the developer for at least 12 of his earliest published games. Romero captured the December cover of the Apple II magazine Nibble for three years in a row starting in 1987. He entered a programming contest in A+ magazine during its first year of publishing with his game Cavern Crusader. The first game Romero created that was eventually published was Jumpster in UpTime. Jumpster was created in 1983 and published in 1987, making Jumpster his earliest created, then published, game.

Romero's first industry job was at Origin Systems in 1987 after programming games for 8 years. He worked on the Apple II to Commodore 64 port of 2400 A.D., which was eventually scrapped due to slow sales of the Apple II version. Romero then moved onto Space Rogue, a game by Paul Neurath. During this time, Romero was asked if he would be interested in joining Paul's soon-to-start company Blue Sky Productions, eventually renamed Looking Glass Technologies. Instead, Romero left Origin Systems to co-found a game company named Inside Out Software, where he ported Might & Magic II from the Apple II to the Commodore 64. He had almost finished the Commodore 64 to Apple II port of Tower Toppler, but Epyx unexpectedly cancelled all its ports industrywide due to their tremendous investment in the first round of games for the upcoming Atari Lynx. During this short time, Romero did the artwork for the Apple IIGS version of Dark Castle, a port from the Macintosh. During this time, John and his friend Lane Roathe co-founded a company named Ideas from the Deep and wrote versions of a game named Zappa Roidz for the Apple II, PC and Apple IIGS. Their last collaboration was an Apple II disk operating system (InfoDOS) for Infocom's games Zork Zero, Arthur, Shogun and Journey.

Romero moved to Shreveport, Louisiana in March 1989 and joined Softdisk as a programmer in its Special Projects division. After several months of helping the PC monthly disk magazine Big Blue Disk, he officially moved into the department until he started a PC games division in July 1990 named 'Gamer's Edge' (originally titled PCRcade). Romero hired John D. Carmack into the department from his freelancing in Kansas City, moved Adrian Carmack into the division from Softdisk's art department, and persuaded Tom Hall to come in at night and help with game design. Romero and the others then left Softdisk in February 1991 to form id Software.

Romero worked at id Software from its inception in 1991 until 1996. He was involved in the creation of several milestone games, including Commander Keen, Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, Doom II: Hell on Earth and Quake. He served as executive producer (and game designer) on Heretic and Hexen. He designed most of the first episode of Doom, a fourth of the levels in Quake, and half the levels in the Commander Keen and Wolfenstein 3D: Spear of Destiny. He wrote many of the tools used at id Software to create their games, including DoomEd (level editor), QuakeEd (level editor), DM (for deathmatch launching), DWANGO client (to connect the game to DWANGO's servers), TED5 (level editor for the Commander Keen series, Wolfenstein 3D: Spear of Destiny), IGRAB (for grabbing assets and putting them in WAD files), the installers for all the games up to and including Quake, the SETUP program used to configure the games, and several others. In his keynote speech at WeAreDevelopers Conference 2017, Romero named this period Turbo Mode, in which he emphasizes having created 28 games, in 5.5 years with a team consisting of fewer than 10 developers.

During the production of Quake, Romero clashed with John Carmack over the future direction of id. Romero wanted the game to follow his demanding vision without compromise, but Carmack insisted that the project had to make steady progress toward completion and accused Romero of not working as much as the other developers. Although Romero relented on his vision and joined a months-long death march effort to finish the game, this did not resolve the tensions within the company, and Romero was forced to resign. In a 1997 interview Romero reflected, "Leaving after finishing Quake was the right choice - leaving after finishing a hit game. I keep on good terms with the id guys and it was pretty easy because we've been friends for years."

Romero later co-founded Ion Storm in Dallas, Texas with id co-worker Tom Hall, where he designed and produced Daikatana. This ambitious first-person shooter was announced in 1997 with a release date for the Christmas shopping season of that year. However, this release date slipped repeatedly in the coming months, and the game began to accrue negative press.

In July 2001, Romero and Hall founded Monkeystone Games in order to develop and publish games for mobile devices, and Monkeystone released 15 games (approximately) during its short lifespan of three and a half years. Some highlights of their developments included Hyperspace Delivery Boy! (Pocket PC, Windows, Linux), Congo Cube (Pocket PC, PC, BREW, Java ME), and a version of Red Faction for the Nokia N-Gage. He and his girlfriend, Stevie Case, broke up in 2003, and she left the company in May while Red Faction development continued until October. John then left Monkeystone Games' day-to-day operations to Lucas Davis while Romero and Hall left for Midway in San Diego.

In mid-October 2003, Romero joined Midway Games as project lead on Gauntlet: Seven Sorrows. While he continued to maintain his working relationship with Monkeystone, Lucas Davis took over running the office. The Monkeystone team moved to Austin, Texas to work on Midway's Area 51 title until its release. Monkeystone Games closed down in January 2005. Romero moved from project lead to creative director of internal studio during this time. At the end of June 2005, Romero left Midway Games mere months before the completion of Gauntlet: Seven Sorrows.

On August 31, 2005, Romero confirmed that he was working on a yet-to-be-announced MMOG at his newly opened development studio, Slipgate Ironworks. It was reported that the name was temporary. "For the record," Romero wrote, "I'm co-founder of a new game company in the Bay Area and am much better off in many ways than I was at Midway". He said that he would not reveal anything about the company or the game until 2007. On March 17, 2009 it was announced that Slipgate Ironworks was part of Gazillion Entertainment. Along with venture capitalist Rob Hutter and investor Bhavin Shah, Romero was a co-founder of Gazillion. On July 22, 2006, John Romero and former co-worker Tom Hall guest hosted episode 53 of the podcast The Widget. Romero departed Gazillion Entertainment in November 2010 to form a social game company called Loot Drop alongside Brenda Brathwaite. His longtime co-worker, Tom Hall joined the company on January 1, 2011.

John Romero was the CPL's Chairman of the Board for ten years. On December 20, 2006, John Romero announced a new FPS project for the Cyberathlete Professional League titled Severity for both consoles and PC. It was announced that Tom Mustaine (ex-Studio Director at Ritual Entertainment) would act as Director of Game Development at CPL's new studio. It was stated that Severity would be a multiplayer first person shooter, and that the game would be built on technology licensed from id Software. On October 2009, Angel Munoz, founder of the Cyberathlete Professional League (CPL) stated that Severity was no longer being produced because they were not able "to convince game publishers of its value".

In March 2010, John Romero collaborated with the gaming magazine Retro Gamer, taking on the role of a guest editor, taking charge of the magazine's editorial and contributing to a number of articles on different subjects throughout the magazine. The issue contains an interview by Romero with industry luminaries offering their thoughts on Romero. In August 2014, in a Super Joystiq Podcast at Gamescom 2014 Romero announced that he was about to make a new shooter,stating that he was working with a concept artist and he had some cool imagery for the main character. In April 2016, Romero announced a partnership with Adrian Carmack to create a new FPS entitled Blackroom, describing their vision as a visceral, varied and violent shooter that harkens back to classic FPS play with a mixture of exploration, speed, and intense, weaponized combat. They were seeking $700,000 via Kickstarter to see the project to completion and anticipated a launch in late 2018. The Kickstarter campaign was cancelled four days after its launch.

On 2017, Romero won the Bizkaia Award at the Fun & Serious Game Festival, which takes place in the Spanish city of Bilbao.

In January 2019, John Romero appeared on the hbomberguy Donkey Kong 64 stream, raising money for the trans charity Mermaids in response to comments made by Graham Linehan about the charity

John Romero Videos

  • Get to know John Romero
  • The Early Days of Id Software - John Romero Keynote
  • Meet John Romero: One of the Godfathers of the First-Person Shooter

FAQs on booking John Romero

  • How to book John Romero?

    Our booking agents have successfully helped clients around the world secure talent like John Romero for both live and virtual events for over 15 years. The team at All American Entertainment represents and listens to the needs of organizations and corporations seeking to hire keynote speakers, celebrities or entertainers for speaking engagements, personal appearances, product endorsements, or corporate entertainment. Fill out a booking request form for John Romero, or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to discuss your upcoming event. One of our experienced agents will be happy to help you get pricing information and check availability for John Romero or any other celebrity of your choice.
  • How much does it cost to book John Romero?

    Booking fees for John Romero, or any other speakers and celebrities, are determined based on a number of factors and may change without notice. Pricing often varies between live and virtual events. Other factors that can affect speaker fees include the talent's schedule, market conditions, length of presentation, and the location of the event. The live and virtual event speaking fees listed on this website are intended to serve as a guideline only. In some cases, the actual quote may be above or below the stated range. For the most current fee to hire John Romero, please fill out the booking request form or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to speak with an experienced booking agent.
  • Who is the agent for John Romero?

    All American Entertainment has successfully secured celebrity talent like John Romero for clients worldwide for more than 15 years. As a full-service talent booking agency, we have access to virtually any speaker or celebrity in the world. Our agents are happy and able to submit an offer to the speaker or celebrity of your choice, letting you benefit from our reputation and long-standing relationships in the industry. Fill out the booking request form or call our office at 1.800.698.2536, and one of our agents will assist you to book John Romero for your next private or corporate function.
  • What is a full-service talent booking agency?

    All American Speakers is a "buyers agent" and exclusively represents talent buyers, meeting planners and event professionals, who are looking to secure celebrities and speakers for personal appearances, speaking engagements, corporate entertainment, public relations campaigns, commercials, or endorsements. We do not exclusively represent John Romero or claim ourselves as the exclusive booking agency, business manager, publicist, speakers bureau or management for John Romero or any other speaker or celebrity on this website. For more information on how we work and what makes us unique, please read the AAE Advantage.

John Romero is a keynote speaker and industry expert who speaks on a wide range of topics . The estimated speaking fee range to book John Romero for your event is available upon request. John Romero generally travels from and can be booked for (private) corporate events, personal appearances, keynote speeches, or other performances. Similar motivational celebrity speakers are John Hanke, Amy Jo Kim, Gavin Andresen, Evan Spiegel and Dr. Ray Pastore. Contact All American Speakers for ratings, reviews, videos and information on scheduling John Romero for an upcoming live or virtual event.

John Romero Speaker Videos

  • Get to know John Romero
    The Early Days of Id Software - John Romero Keynote
  • Meet John Romero: One of the Godfathers of the First-Person Shooter

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Speakers Similar to John Romero

This website is a resource for event professionals and strives to provide the most comprehensive catalog of thought leaders and industry experts to consider for speaking engagements. A listing or profile on this website does not imply an agency affiliation or endorsement by the talent.

All American Entertainment (AAE) exclusively represents the interests of talent buyers, and does not claim to be the agency or management for any speaker or artist on this site. AAE is a talent booking agency for paid events only. We do not handle requests for donation of time or media requests for interviews, and cannot provide celebrity contact information.

If you are the talent, and wish to request removal from this catalog or report an issue with your profile, please click here.

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