Deathmatch '95 was a deathmatch tournament held by DWANGO between September 18, 1995, and October 30, 1995. The qualification rounds of the tournament were chiefly played on the various regional DWANGO servers as series of matches in The Ultimate Doom, Doom II, and Heretic in the United States. Abroad, separate qualifying events were held in the United Kingdom and France which resulted in two European players advancing to the finals. The semi-finals and final match were held as part of the Microsoft Judgment Day event in Redmond, Washington, sponsored in part by GT Interactive, id Software, and other corporations, and doubled as the release date grand reveal for Raven Software's newest Doom engine title, Hexen: Beyond Heretic.
Only active DWANGO users were eligible to register, though an account could be registered specifically to participate in the tournament. Registration ran from at least the announcement of the event on September 18 to the deadline stated by DWANGO CEO Bob Huntley of September 29, though a later Usenet post by Lance Lancaster suggests that this may have been extended through the weekend ending on Monday, October 9.
Users were required to own registered copies of all three of the games involved in the tournament:
Players received temporary "VIP" status on the DWANGO network once their entries were accepted, which allowed for unlimited play time. This ensured that players would be available during their scheduled matches - failure to show for or complete a match in a timely manner would result in disqualification.
Each match during the DWANGO server tournaments consisted of a five minute round in each of the three games, with the winner determined by a combined frag count between all three; 30 minutes total were allowed for completion of the three games. Players would be assigned a random level from each game on which to hold their matches; if the players both agreed, another level could be selected instead.
Matches in the semi-finals at Judgment Day were conducted as five-minute-long, single-round, single-elimination matches in Doom II. The final match took place in Hexen and served as the game's public reveal.
Matches during the DWANGO server tournaments were held on Saturdays and Sundays between the hours of noon and 4:00 PM. The results of round eight determined at least 22 of the participants who would go on to compete in the final rounds in Seattle.
|Round One||Saturday, October 7 and Sunday, October 8|
|Round Two||Saturday, October 14|
|Round Three||Sunday, October 15|
|Rounds Four to Seven||Saturday, October 21|
|Round Eight||Sunday, October 22|
|Playoffs||Monday, October 30|
Other known participants
- Kreuzin - eliminated in second match of semi-finals.
- Sverre André Kvernmo (Cranium) - UK champion
- David McCandless
- Tom Mustaine - placed between sixth and eighth in semi-finals.
- Ted Peterson (Merlock) - an early favorite, but eliminated 10-5 by Thresh in semi-finals.
- One-year VIP membership on the player's chosen DWANGO server.
- A "state-of-the-art" Pentium multimedia gaming PC, valued at US $10000 according to some sources.
- Lifetime supply of games by id Software.
- Six-month VIP membership on DWANGO.
- Sound card, video accelerator card, and a joystick.
- Three-month VIP membership on DWANGO.
- A copy of Hexen.
- A tournament t-shirt.
- A trip to Seattle to compete in the final rounds.
United Kingdom tournament
A separate attached tournament was held in the United Kingdom, sponsored by GT Interactive Europe, PC Zone magazine, and retailer HMV. Referred to as the World Deathmatch Tournament 1995 UK Heats, it was held as a series of live events at HMV retail outlets refereed by PC Zone attendants. Registration was carried out through distribution of a coupon in the issue of PC Zone released on October 7, 1995, with additional entrants not having a coupon admitted at the store manager's discretion.
The games were played on a four-player network of Pentium 100 PCs on E1M1: Hangar of the Ultimate Doom. Each game was played to a minimum of 20 frags. The winner of the in-store tournament would earn transportation provisions to the finals, with the possibility of admission to non-winning high scorers to fill out the bracket if it proved necessary.
Eight regional finalists were selected to take part in the final on October 22 at Level One, HMV on Oxford Street, London. From this final, one champion was selected to go on and take part in the Deathmatch '95 finals in Seattle. As with the American tournament, the final round involved matches in all three of The Ultimate Doom, Doom II, and Heretic.
Matches were held between 10:00 AM and 6:00 PM over the weekend of October 14.
|Manchester||Saturday, October 14|
|Birmingham||Saturday, October 14|
|Oxford||Saturday, October 14|
|Leeds||Saturday, October 14|
|Liverpool||Saturday, October 14|
|Brighton||Saturday, October 14|
|Glasgow||Sunday, October 15|
|Croydon, London||Sunday, October 15|
Regional finalists received the following prizes:
- GT Interactive's entire back catalogue, including copies of The Ultimate Doom, Doom II, Mortal Kombat, the Doom II screen saver, and more.
- Publicity with photograph in PC Zone magazine.
- According to Thresh, Merlock smashed his keyboard and threw his chair after being defeated in the semi-finals due to the shock of the defeat.
- Participants in the finals at Redmond had been given access to a beta version of Hexen for practice. Thresh noted that the Cleric was strongly favored by most players due to the power of the Wraithverge. However, Thresh adapted the Mage class instead, having discovered the class's ability to counter the Wraithverge with effective use of in-game skills (likely referring specifically to the reflective capabilities of the Icon of the Defender in the hands of the Mage, alongside the Disc of Repulsion which is available to all classes).
- The event in Seattle was rife with technical problems. Players' preferred peripherals did not cooperate with the Windows 95 PCs and the software in use was temperamental.
- While mainstream media coverage reacted by declaring Thresh a gaming god, and he did go on to have one of the first successful careers in eSports with other notable victories such as Red Annihilation, the tournament was considered by community members to be indecisive with regard to ascertaining the best player of Doom. This was due to well-known contenders such as Chris Crosby (NoSkill) and Chunkk being ineligible to attend due to not being members of DWANGO, as well as the fact that the tournament did not focus exclusively on Doom by involving both Heretic and Hexen.
- Huntley, Robert E (18 September 1995). "Deathmatch '95." rec.games.computer.doom.playing. Retrieved 12 February 1995.
- Mann, Audrey, Glenn Mandel, and Laurie Rubenstein (21 September 1995). "DWANGO to Host World's Largest Deathmatch Tournament; Final Showdown Played on id Raven Software's Latest Computer Game, HEXEN--Beyond Heretic, at Microsoft's 'Judgment Day' Party." Business Wire (archived 🏛). Retrieved 12 February 2019.
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- Pereira, Joseph (26 August 1996). "'Thresh' Leads On-Line Kills And Has an Advertising Deal." The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 17 February 2019.