At the 2007 GDC Henry Lowood, curator of the History of Science and Technology Collections at Stanford University, announced that DOOM is one of the 10 most important games of all time.
Mr. Lowood had a four-person committee made up of Warren Spector, Steve Meretzky, Matteo Bittanti (academic researcher) and Christopher Grant (game journalist) who decided which games out of all games that had been created since the dawn of gaming in the early 60's had the biggest impact on the game industry.
I can't even overstate how awesome it feels to have one of my games awarded this insanely lofty status. It's mind boggling.
Some people have been arguing that Wolfenstein 3D should have been mentioned in place of DOOM because it was the birth of the fast-action FPS but I disagree. If you can remember, following Wolf3D's release there were several other 3D FPS's released that had minimal impact on the industry (Ken's Labyrinth, The Fortress of Dr. Radiaki, Nerves of Steel, Escape From Monster Manor, Isle of the Dead, the Catacombs sequels, Blake Stone 1 & 2, and many others). Most of these Wolf3D clones, not DOOM clones were released post-DOOM. Only Heretic has the distinction of being the first post-DOOM clone as all the other games released up to the end of 1994 were ray-cast engines laid out in a Wolf3D-style grid.
DOOM had a real impact in launching the genre beyond what Wolf3D achieved because its 3D technology rendered a world more realistic than anything yet experienced at an amazing framerate, high-speed multiplayer deathmatch was seen for the first time and we opened up our data files for the world to modify. Oh, we also gave it away for free. You only paid money if you wanted to play the rest of the series.
Quake may have launched the era of the true 3D high-speed FPS, today's world of 3D graphics adapters, internet FPS play and professional gaming, but the FPS genre really took off with DOOM.
Here's the list of all 10 games:
Star Raiders (1979)
Super Mario Bros. 3 (1990)
Civilization I / II (1991)
Warcraft (Series) (1994)
Sensible World of Soccer (1994)
(As an aside, the New York Times article was written by Heather Chaplin, author of the book Smartbomb.)