Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 15th Dec 2015 00:06 UTC

Commander Keen is an episodic video game developed by id Software in the early 1990s. The series focuses on the adventures of Billy Blaze, an 8-year-old boy who travels through space and assumes the secret identity of "Commander Keen". The series was successful at replicating the side-scrolling action of the Nintendo Entertainment System Super Mario Bros. games in DOS. The cartoon-style platform games are notable for their pioneering use of EGA graphics and shareware distribution, and they were some of the first games by id Software (who went on to later develop Wolfenstein 3D, Doom and Quake). The games were also exciting to the PC gaming community of the time because of John D. Carmack's smooth-scrolling graphics game engine, which first allowed smooth side scrollers on PC by only redrawing the elements of the screen that actually changed frame to frame.

Today is Commander Keen's 25th birthday. Keen was one of the very first games I ever played, and everybody I knew at the time was into Keen as well. We swapped floppies around with Keen on them, and I must've finished many of the episodes countless times. Commander Keen is part of my childhood, and a landmark in (PC) gaming.

In honour of Keen's 25th birthday, John Romero published a video today, in which he shows id Software's "port" (reverse engineering is probably more accurate) of Super Mario Bros. 3 to the PC. It was created without Nintendo's consent, and then sent to Nintendo for evaluation. The company had no interest in it, but the knowledge gained would come to use for Keen.


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RE: Fun - but dated - even when new
by rain on Tue 15th Dec 2015 19:09 UTC in reply to "Fun - but dated - even when new"
Member since:

Because that's the machine they had. But I agree, PCs were so behind back then. I often wonder what would have happened if things like the Amiga or BeOS had taken over the world.

Reply Parent Score: 3

Kochise Member since:

I remember the first time I played on a PC with a MCGA card, the sound was still terrible before AdLib or SoundBlaster, but dudes, Loom, Fate of Atlantis or Day of the Tentacle in 256 colors...

And then, Myst and The 7th guest blasted them all when the CD-ROM became affordable. 256 colors and CD-ROM on Atari ? Hmmm, let me guess... You have you answer, unexpandable platforms that stalled for too long or required you to buy a whole new computer to get just a few improvements.

Reply Parent Score: 3

leech Member since:

Sadly, even with VGA, CD-ROMs, etc, DOS was still a pain to work with. Atari ST/Amiga mostly allowed you to pop in a floppy and turn it on. Ha, I still remember when we were doing something on a friend's A1200 and my other friend who only had an Windows 3.1 machine would close all the windows before turning off the computer, and the friend who owned the A1200 and myself (at the time a Mega STe) asked him why he did that... his response was awesome. "Because in Windows if you don't, it will occasionally delete files" never knew if that was true or not.

Reply Parent Score: 2