Romero Speaks... From the Grave?

Ion's killer keeps finger on the trigger, bullet hole to the head a work of art - really.

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To say the least, it was a bit surprising - late Thursday night a computer games web page posted that Ion Storm cofounder John Romero had been shot in the head and killed.

Two Ion Storm members reportedly confirmed Romero's death, and suddenly a scanned image of Romero's corpse resting on a morgue slab with a neat bullet hole on the right side of his forehead made its way onto the Net.

Many were immediately skeptical (rumors of deaths and untimely demises of employees is somewhat rampant in the 3D games industry, especially in Dallas) though a few obituaries and other notes of sorrow were already being posted.

Very early Friday morning investigators could find no evidence of Romero's reported death; Dallas and Garland police had nothing on record. The web site that originally published the report retracted the news article, and Romero was indeed very alive and on IRC to boot.

Friday morning on Ion Storm's web site, William Haskins posted the following note: "Despite reports to the contrary, John Romero is alive and well and hard at work on Daikatana. News stories, which surfaced late last night, reported that John had been killed by a gunshot to the noggin. Within a half hour, John was on IRC dispelling the rumors of his demise."

Apparently there had been some confusion over the death of one "John Romero" - not being the same man of course - last night, although reports indicated that there were no murders in the Dallas area Thursday night. The image of Romero's corpse evidently came from a doctored photograph in a recent issue of Texas Monthly and fed fuel to the fire, despite the fact that such a photo wouldn't have been available for quite some time if Romero had been killed.

All in all, no harm was done (especially to Romero), and the gaming world continues on.

Romero, in fact, updated his plan file today with the following:"Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated. I take full responsibility for last night's confusion - maybe I shouldn't have taken that morbid picture for Texas Monthly magazine, because someone apparently called the Dallas PD and heard that a John Romero got shot last night. Coupled with the actual picture, you have yourself a news story (although a false one).... And for all of you who really did care and got upset: I love you all!"

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