I wanted to jog my memory about how expensive it was to play DOOM properly on a decent PC with a sound card. These are snips from the New York Times business section on Tuesday, December 6, 1994, just after the Macintosh, Sega 32X and Atari Jaguar ports came out, and as holiday sales would be starting up. The Tuesday Times always had a lot of computer store ads like this; I just snipped the first few interesting pages, but it went on and on. To help place this in cultural context: a few pages later, there are movie ads for The Lion King, Pulp Fiction, Star Trek Generations, The Professional, and others. Movies hung on for a long time back then.
Remember that with inflation,
$1.00 in 1994 = $1.68 in 2018 money (actually lower than I would have thought)
So you can multiply these prices by 1.68 to get a modern equivalent of how expensive things were on this day.
Or basically double it to account for sales tax and the extra stuff you inevitably needed when getting a new computer back then (blank media, surge protector, mouse pad, printer cable, modem, and so on).
- The "Apple Tax" was real and in full force back then, despite this being the time of many Road Apples. Lots of Performas.
- IBM 386 compatibles were still an option (perhaps to provide an anchor price at the low end), despite being obviously obsolete
- Multimedia was costly, Pentium even more so, laptops more than that, color laptops outrageously so. There was a ThinkPad for $6149!
- Storage was generally offered in hundreds of megabytes
- RAM was in the single digit megabytes
- DOOM ran best on a 486 with at least 4MB of RAM. The official specs said it could work on a 386, but that was only true if you made the window small and were tolerant of slide-show frame rates.
At about that time I upgraded my 386sx to a 486slc2; that's the ibm chip not the slower cyrix chip of the same name. It was a relatively cheap upgrade and Doom might have been one of the reasons for it. Computer hardware was a big investment in those days but we saved on software so it balanced out.