This column is a reprint from Unwinnable Monthly #153. If you like what you see, grab the magazine for less than ten dollars, or subscribe and get all future magazines for half price.
A tongue-in-cheek but also painfully earnest look at pop culture and anything else that deserves to be ridiculed while at the same time regarded with the utmost respect. It is written by Matt Marrone and emailed to Stu Horvath and David Shimomura, who add any typos or factual errors that might appear within.
It’s amazing I grew up as well-adjusted as I did.
Before there was Doom, there was Wolfenstein 3D. It came out during a sweet spot in my development as a human being: In the early ‘90s, I was a horny teenager with tons of free time to shoot virtual Nazis.
The shooting virtual Nazis part is self-evident. That’s what the game is all about.
The horny part? No, I am not popping any popcorn for a rewatch of J.K. Simmons branding Lee Tergesen’s ass with a swastika on “Oz”. But, like so many other things in my life at the time, sex was a backdrop.
In the case of Wolfenstein 3D, sex was a literal backdrop.
Back in the early ‘90s, I spent a ton of time on my pre-Pentium PC. I cultivated a wide range of healthy digital interests, but for a time nothing was more enjoyable than firing up my 2400-baud modem (give or take) and dialing a series of telephone numbers, passed from friend to friend, and connecting with bulletin boards where you could freely download – what else! – porn.
But even porn BBSes and Wolfenstein 3D started to get old after a while. At least until my friends and I discovered a way to combine them – and learned jpegs of naked women and pixelated blood-splattered Nazis were two great tastes that taste great together.
We discovered a program – I won’t tell you what it was called because I don’t remember and, as my reader knows, The Rookie of the Year does no research – that allowed you to alter various elements of Wolfenstein. I have no memory of the full gamut of its customizations. All I recall is that you could put image files on the walls of the dungeons.
The time that elapsed between gaining this power and applying it to porn was . . . brief. It was possibly within seconds that we began the process of transforming Wolfenstein 3D into Wolfenstein 3X. Soon, you’d turn a corner in the game and be met by a vicious guard dog. Behind him? A mural of a vagina.
The halls were strewn with images of hardcore porn. Blowjobs. Threesomes. Lesbians with sex toys. You name it, you could massacre World War II German soldiers in front of it.
Saying it out loud now makes it sound repugnant. Embarrassing. But at the time we thought it was hilarious. Brilliant. Worthwhile. Even now, I consider it a vital part of a glorious time in my young adulthood.
Like I said, it’s amazing I grew up as well-adjusted as I did.
I did, right?
Matt Marrone is a senior MLB editor at ESPN.com. He has been Unwinnable’s reigning Rookie of the Year since 2011. You can follow him on Twitter @thebigm.