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The Story of John Carmack


Over the past few years, the video-gaming business has seen a major hike making its net worth nearly $7 billion, escalating year after year. Taking a normal children hobby to a blooming business, this one man has created history against all odds! Meet John Carmack, the master mind behind the entire video-gaming industry.

Early Life

Carmack the boy genius, was born on August 20, 1970, in Shawnee Mission, Kansas. He has in his own words, ‘a normal geek-gifted childhood.’ From a very young age, John got obsessed with games. His life consisted of various science fiction books and his favourite role playing game of the dragon and the dungeons. The personal computers came along and John was hooked for life!

Due to his obsession with computers, he longed for his very own. However, due to poor financial crisis, he wasn’t able to. But his love for computers was unstoppable. He, along with his friends, decided to steal a computer from a school in the wealthier neighbourhood. Being the genius that he is, John invented a very creative way to break into the school using thermite and Vaseline. However, they were caught. John had to spend a year in Juvenile prison. And as one can expect, it wasn’t a happy experience for him. After being released, John became rebellious. The only thing that didn’t change was his love for computers. He would lock himself in his bedroom for hours learning about coding and programming.

John’s parents knew that he was a really bright child. They forced him to join college. John’s out of the box mind, however, could not adjust to the normal norms of life. He dropped out.


After struggling with petty jobs of programming, John finally got a stable job at Softdisk in Shreveport, Louisiana.

Although he was already developing games for Softdisk, John’s dream was different. He wanted to take the entire gaming industry to a whole different level. His partners in this dream were his collegues from Softdisk – John Romero and Ardian Carmack. They would create games for Softdisk at day and then at night they would load up their cars with company equipment and stay up until the early morning hours experimenting with coding. After years of trying, their hard work finally paid off and they launched their very first game, Commander Keen. Spurred by the success of their game, they quit Softdisk and started their own company – id Software.

id Software & Armadillo Aerospace

id Software’s first venture was the Wolfenstein 3-D which was an upgraded version of John’s favourite childhood game, Castle Wolfenstein. Wolfenstein was so popular that each of its creators were making about $120,000 per month, and Carmack, the college dropout, was a wealthy man at the age of twenty-one.

Besides gaming John had another obsession as well. Rockets! In 2000 Carmack spent some of his own millions in order to make his dream of traveling to space a reality. He purchased a cavernous warehouse in Mesquite, along with a 100-acre testing ground, and formed a group called Armadillo Aerospace. Carmack is the undisputed ringleader and is assisted by a half-dozen rocket enthusiasts at Armadillo’s fully equipped machine shop and laboratory.

All of the workers are unpaid, volunteering their time two times a week. Some have built rockets before; others have become versed in space travel testing and space regulations. They all, however, share the same goal: to one day make space travel accessible to the average citizen.

Carmack the magnificent

Although John Carmack is a multimillionaire, and his company brings in close to $20 million a year, he is still a self-described workaholic. Carmack has lots of fans who view him as a coder supreme, but he also has critics who denounce his games because they are perceived as ultra-violent. The techie from Texas, however, cares little about public opinion.

John lives and breathes computers and is always looking for the next challenge. As one of his coworkers commented to the Dallas Morning News, “The things that motivate John are the things that put him out on the edge of discovery.”


John Camarack is the true definition of ‘Dream it, believe it, do it!’

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