Let me try this again. I've played it a few more hours since last we spoke, and I have another way of going about it that does away with the specific references and the benchmark-type trivia that characterizes our prior conversation.
When I think about Wasteland, my first real electronic roleplaying experience, in my mind each mutant glistens with realistic ichor. I've gone back and looked at it since then, and it pretty much looks like shit. You guys that played it on VGA, I mean, there's something to brag about - it was the best my C64 could do describing those wandering unfortunates with its rag-tag band of 16 simultaneous colors.
For many people, many, many people, Doom flexed silicon in a way they had never seen - it was the sort of game you invited people over to look at. What if you could have that again? Genuine surprise, the sort of atmospheric experience that makes gamers out of people. What if you could transform all the tired first-person cliches back into substantial gameplay mechanics? That's Doom 3 in a nutshell. I'm essentially a professional cynic and I can't stop playing it.