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Games Entertainment

Commander Keen: 13 Years Later 190

16977 writes "I just noticed that Id Software is now selling downloadable versions of its classic titles Commander Keen: Invasion of the Vorticons and Goodbye Galaxy. Although the game is over 10 years old by now, there is still a thriving community of Keen fans out there whose interest has not waned. We now have level editors for both Keen Vorticons and Goodbye Galaxy, unofficial Keen fan software, and of course the infamous Dopefish, which has by now made cameo appearances in well over a dozen computer games. However, we have yet to see Commander Keen: The Universe is Toast, the sequel to the previous Keen game that was planned but never made. With the original developers pursuing their own independent projects, it doesn't look like it will happen anytime soon. But in the meantime, die-hard Keen fans have been getting by, not unlike Farscape fans after their show was cancelled."
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Commander Keen: 13 Years Later

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  • Other Games (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hoagieslapper ( 593527 ) <hoagieslapper@gmail.com> on Sunday March 16, 2003 @03:03PM (#5524449)
    Too bad other game manufacturers won't follow suit and make their older titles available for (legit) download.

    • Re:Other Games (Score:2, Informative)

      What about Rockstar games? It released GTA if I remember correctly.
      Now, it would be nice if other game manufacturers released more titles for free, but there really isn't any reason that they should.

    • Re:Other Games (Score:5, Insightful)

      by conner_bw ( 120497 ) on Sunday March 16, 2003 @03:18PM (#5524515) Journal
      Quake 2 is open source. Commander Keen isn't. Both from ID.

      Can someone exlpain this to me?

      Is the technology in Keen licenced from the Commodre 64 Giana Sisters game or something?

      Why doesn't Keen *follow suit* to Quake and open the source?

      • Re:Other Games (Score:5, Insightful)

        by jweatherley ( 457715 ) <james@@@weatherley...net> on Sunday March 16, 2003 @03:27PM (#5524543) Homepage
        I'm guessing that the Commander Keen source will be x86 assembly. Might be interesting to those in the know but a lot less useful than C source - no porting to other platforms. Does anyone know for sure what it was written in? Come on JohnC - get away from the rocketry for a few minutes and talk about some important stuff!
        • Re:Other Games (Score:1, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward
          It's in C, with some parts in assembly (just like Wolf3D).
      • Re:Other Games (Score:5, Informative)

        by MisterFancypants ( 615129 ) on Sunday March 16, 2003 @03:30PM (#5524552)
        Quake 2 is open source. Commander Keen isn't. Both from ID.

        Can someone exlpain this to me?

        Practicality? Keen came out in a different era. One of hitting the hardware directly, using mainly assembly language. The code is of virtually no use today. You could as easily rewrite the code from scratch in C/C++ than port it up.

      • Re:Other Games (Score:5, Informative)

        by AlternateSyndicate ( 644818 ) on Sunday March 16, 2003 @04:19PM (#5524737)
        I can speak somewhat authoritatively on this issue.

        A long long time ago, I emailed John Carmack about releasing the Commander Keen 4 source code. He replied saying he did not know what happened to it.

        Later a friend of mine and I attempted to clone Commander Keen 4 from a disassembly. It turns out that the codebase is very very *very* similar to the released Wolfenstein 3D source, which made things a little easier. We eventually gave up, but our work provided the information and impetus to help the community in making original Keen 4 maps, which has now been refined into a fairly easy process, I am told.

        While all this was happening, John Romero made a post on the 3D Realms forums indicating that he had all of the source code to the Commander Keen games. I promptly emailed Romero asking him if he would release the source. He stated that he would love to release the source, but he would not do so without Carmack's blessing. I periodically prodded him about it, but with starting his own company and things, apparently the idea got lost in the shuffle.

        As far as id offering these games on their website, this is no big deal. All the Keen games (except for Aliens ate my Babysitter and maybe Keen Dreams) have been available on the 3D Realms webstore for a very long time.

    • id is still charging for it, though. I can't tell you how much, the link to the selling site is b0rked, but there's a "buy it" icon on ids Commander Keen page.
    • Check out Descent: Freespace [google.com], or Descent 2 [descent2.com].

    • Rockstar? Grand Theft Auto 1? Hello?
  • by craenor ( 623901 ) on Sunday March 16, 2003 @03:04PM (#5524452) Homepage
    For someone to release updated versions of Master of Magic and another sequel to the Bard's Tale Series...Is that too much to ask?
    • Age of Wonders II was almost a update to MoM. but without the Random Map Generator (which they promised during development, then as a patch, but still haven't delivered), and the Civ style city building, it just sucks.
      Of course if there had never, ever, been a MoM. it would Rock.

      I never tried any of the Bards Tail games; they any good? what is it, soft porn of some sort? Will they run in Virtual PC like MoM will?
    • Assuming it ever comes out: http://www.bardslegacy.com/main.html

      It is *officially* /not/ a Bard's Tale sequel. But um, *cough cough*, it's a bard's tale sequel. ;-)
    • A cool game, it definately needed a Windows and Linux port done. The DOS version was a bit buggy even with the patches applied. But fun. Sometimes I had to load from an older save file after the current game locked up the machine I was running it on. Usually this happened in combat with the really powerful magical creatures.

      But then it was Civilization based, wasn't it?

      If you loved Master of magic, you might love Age Of Magic [ageofmagic.org] when it is released. It is FreeCiv [freeciv.org] based. FreeCiv is an open sourced version o

  • I'm glad that they are releasing some of the original work that Id and John Romero so great. It is also noticeable that they have also released Intergalactic Delivery Boy (no, not for free) for the PocketPC. It is really down to John Romero's and Hall's roots. After all, Id games are best when they are simple.

    • I have the full set of Cosmo, on 3.5" disks. It's always been a favorite of mine. I'd love to see them re-release that. Smoother graphics and/or playable on a handheld would be swell :-)
  • GBC (Score:3, Informative)

    by Apreche ( 239272 ) on Sunday March 16, 2003 @03:06PM (#5524470) Homepage Journal
    There was a recent version of Keen for the Game Boy Color. I heard it sucked, even though I didn't play it. But it means that someone out there is indeed legally allowed to make Keen games, and is doing so.

    I'll definitely be re-acquiring the Keen games however. Need something to do when not playing MOO3. All I need to do is find a working Gravis Gamepad. I don't think the USB version I have will work with the old school dos keen.
    • by Cyno01 ( 573917 )
      I went through about 5 gravis gamepads on Goodbye Galaxy. The little screw on joystick was a terible idea. "No, no, left! *snap* Damnit!"
      • As soon as I bought my Gravis Pad back in the day, I just threw the little stick back in the box and used the gamepad as, well, a GAMEPAD!!

        I still have it today and it still works just great...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 16, 2003 @03:08PM (#5524477)
    Shouldn't he be promoted by now?
  • Doom II (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Knacklappen ( 526643 ) <knacklappen@gmx.net> on Sunday March 16, 2003 @03:09PM (#5524478) Journal
    Well, the best Commander Keen reference IMHO was the secret Wolfenstein level in Doom II: They even had the secret WOLF level (within the secret D2 level) and behind the last door there was: Commander Keen hanging from the roof [game-research.com]. You had to shoot the poor fellow to get to the next level...
  • by MikeDX ( 560598 ) on Sunday March 16, 2003 @03:11PM (#5524489) Journal
    I run a small games programming community [div-arena.com], and recently had this [div-arena.com] submition from one of my users. Those with win98/win95/dos should certainly give it a try, its full of parodies and general humour and the gameplay is excellent.
  • Good, But... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by menasius ( 202515 ) on Sunday March 16, 2003 @03:12PM (#5524491)
    I agree, this is really great. I used to love to play the Keens as well as many other games. And there are many times I've slammed down a new graphically pretty peice of trash and wished I had a classic.

    The problem is companies don't want to release most of their old games because times have changed and so have operating systems. With the terrible legacy DOS support in XP for things like games you are almost forced to run them emulated in linux (dosemu, etc..). Also, no matter how much companies say "we have no support line for this, use at your own risk" you'll always get contacts asking about this and that.

    In reality, these games need to be released to a team of volunteer developers when they are no longer economically valuable to the Company. Then that team can update as the times change if there is still an underground following.

    OR, the obvious choice which was discussed in an earlier topics is to start making games that are fun again as opposed to yet another graphically gorgeous First-person-run-through-the-hallway-with-a-rocket -launcher-conveniently-located-at-chest-level. Not that all FPS are bad but look at the numbers... its like hitting a dust mite with a musket.

    • > With the terrible legacy DOS support in XP for things like games you are almost forced to run them emulated in linux (dosemu, etc..

      Or you can use doxbox [zophar.net], which, in my experience, works better than dosemu for old dos games. And it runs on XP natively :)
    • Re:Good, But... (Score:4, Informative)

      by Ndr_Amigo ( 533266 ) on Sunday March 16, 2003 @08:47PM (#5525862)
      That's why there are several [sf.net] different groups [scummvm.org] around [linuxgames.com] dedicated to reverse engineering old games and rewriting them so people can actually -play- them... and usually on a stupid number of platforms, from PCs to Consoles and PDAs.

      Not to mention places like VOGONs [zetafleet.org] (Very Old Games On New Systems) which itself exists just to help people find ways to run said older games on newer OS's (mostly w2k mind you).

      I just wish more companies would support efforts like this and release some source to older games OTHER than FPSes. I really appretiate the release of source from ID and everyone else, it's great learning material. But it would be nice if other genre developers also were intrested in preserving their 'art'.

      ScummVM, my project, recently obtained the Beneath a Steel Sky source-code from the authors and we're now working off support for that. The difference in this case is that the engine -is- almost pure x86 assembly, so it would be rather a waste of time to GPL... for anything useful to be done, it would need to be mostly reverse engineered anyway. So this just makes it easier for us to do so dirty-room with commented assembly. Releasing it to a small dedicated group may be more appropriate in cases like this, to prevent splintering and stagnation, until the reimplementation is truely started.


      - Ender
      Boss Monkey: ScummVM [scummvm.org]
      Founder: QuakeSrc [quakesrc.org]

      Standard Disclaimer: It's 8:45am, I havn't had any coffee yet. Any spelling or grammatical errors are henceforth claimed as artistic license. It's art, damn it!
    • Re:Good, But... (Score:3, Informative)

      by delus10n0 ( 524126 )
      Or you could run VDMSound [cjb.net] under XP..

      I have yet to find an old DOS game that doesn't work under VDMSound. I loaded up Ween: The Prophecy and had a blast. Along with Conquest of Camelot.
  • Heh... (Score:3, Funny)

    by The Human Cow ( 646609 ) on Sunday March 16, 2003 @03:13PM (#5524496) Homepage
    Man...I used to suck at Commander Keen so bad. That was back when my dad put a pirated copy of Windows for Workgroups 3.11 on our computer. I used to run stuff from some DOS shell...I remember playing Night Raid, Commander Keed, and Rescue Rover. Those were the days. Back when I used to dial into the library BBS and reserve tons of books. I had no idea what I was doing. You can't imagine the fear that fills a 7 year-old when he tries to dial into the library and hears his mom talking on the phone. I thought I had broken the computer. So. That was irrelevant.
  • Fido Freq (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Alioth ( 221270 ) <no@spam> on Sunday March 16, 2003 @03:13PM (#5524497) Journal
    I remember downloading the shareware version (a massive 600K!) of Commander Keen in Goodbye Galaxy via FidoNet freq (file request). You could file request files from other BBSes, and they'd be sent to your BBS (I ran 2:252/204 at the time). I had endless fun playing Commander Keen in a DesqView DOS session whilst the BBS ran in the other DOS session on my amazing 16MHz 80386 computer with 2.5MB of RAM!

    The Dopefish for some reason reminded me of Sir Les Patterson, the Australian minister of Culture :-)
  • by arevos ( 659374 ) on Sunday March 16, 2003 @03:16PM (#5524506) Homepage
    God, I hated that Dopefish. Probably the single most terrible creature in the Commander Keen universe, bar none. Not even the Vorticons had anything on this green aquatic moron. My very dreams were haunted by that fish as I paddled in vain to keep ahead of that buck-toothed mouth. I lost more lives on that damn overgrown fscking tuna than anywhere else in the game. *Shudder*.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 16, 2003 @03:17PM (#5524509)
    But in the meantime, die-hard Keen fans have been getting by, not unlike Farscape fans after their show was cancelled.

    In other news, over 10.000 geeks were spotted comitting suicide as their favourite nerdnewssite went down. About 20.000 others were found protesting outside their homes carrying portables with the words "/. come back".

    Bystanders were heard commenting: "Makes you wonder what would happen if google ever went down".

    BTW, I think you should annoy more Farscape fans, by creating a poll: "What will you do after farscape?"

    • Commit suicide
    • lock myself up in my room/basement
    • become a sheepherder
    • change the channel
    • ask cowboyneal
  • The Price (Score:5, Insightful)

    by moertle ( 140345 ) on Sunday March 16, 2003 @03:18PM (#5524512) Homepage

    I noticed that Commander Keen was available a while back and I was actually going to buy it. But they wanted $15!!! for a download only game. The price point for a 13-year-old-download-only game should be about $5. I'm sure if I dug through the bargain bin at Toys R Us I could find a boxed version for $5.
    • I don't know. a 13-year old game really isn't even worth $5, imho. After all, it wouldn't take much searching to find a *free* copy. Oh, well. I don't think I can play it on XP anywayz. Unlike Rockstar Games, I don't beleive Id revamped the game to work on newer systems.

      • Re:The Price (Score:2, Informative)

        by zapod4 ( 592860 )
        Oh, well. I don't think I can play it on XP anywayz.

        I found my old Goodbye Galaxy disk and tried it out on an XP computer. I can't get sound to work, but gameplay seems fine.

        • Re:The Price (Score:2, Informative)

          by zapod4 ( 592860 )
          Sorry to reply to my own post but I found my Invasion of the Vorticons disk also. Same story. Game works in XP but sound doesn't. Does anyone know if this can be remedied?
          • Re:The Price (Score:2, Informative)

            by t0qer ( 230538 )

            I remember there being a sound blaster pro emulator for windows, acessing

            Item Found! [mcgill.ca]

            You could also try doing the right click, compatibility mode thing, not sure if
            it'll work though.


          • Re:The Price (Score:2, Informative)

            by qa'lth ( 216840 )
            Try VDMSound, http://www.ntvdm.cjb.net/ . It doesn't work with everything, most games that use the dos4gw extender die when using it.. but it DOES work for a lot of games. It's GPL, too, so get hacking on it! :)
          • Yah, don't run XP you dipshit. What justifyable reason could you possibly come up with to make you able to excuse that slip of judgement and still retain the respect of non-clones?
        • No DOS programs get sound on XP.. has to do with the HAL if I'm not mistaken, since DOS progs expect direct hardware access...
    • Re:The Price (Score:4, Interesting)

      by t0qer ( 230538 ) on Sunday March 16, 2003 @04:03PM (#5524667) Homepage Journal
      I totally agree with this post, $15 is a lot for such an old game. Id's greed doesn't just end there though, and please folks, consider what i'm about to say.

      I'm in the process of opening up a game house / pc bang, whatever you want to call it. During my research I found out that some companies require gamehouses to pay licensing fee's for each title they carry. This isn't just a one time fee or even something reasonable, if you're running a 40 pc gamehouse you can expect to pay 10k + per year per title.

      Now my argument against this goes along these lines. Capcom, Atari, ect all provided more than just a cabinet when they sold you a game. You got a cabinet (physical security) Coin Mech (money validator) Access software (credits) Input Device (Joystick, buttons) Service contracts, monitor, and the game. Usually it was anywhere between a 50/50 to a 25/75 split for the quarters between the cabinet owner and the person that owned the property.

      Now with a gamehouse, I'm providing those first 6 items, while the game company only provides the game. After looking at paying off employee's, loans, and a lease, these fee's are going to be eating up enough of my profits to where me, the owner is going to be lucky to break even at the end of the month. On top of all that I have a machine that needs to be replaced every 2-3 years to stay current with the CPL standard so I can host CPL qualifyers at my place.

      Now I could see paying licensing fee's if there was some sort of value added service, like my cdkey's were bound to my subnet in their multiplayer authentication database, that way if some smart ass kid try's to steal it for use on their home computer it would just say "Hey you're not playing from toqers gamehouse, sorry" (Note, i'm doing my best to secure machines so it doesn't happen but you never know) At least that would take care of one of the 6 items I have to provide.

      I'm going to pay these fee's only because I have too. I wouldn't mind testing the legal waters of this, but as a startup gamehouse I am in no position to do so. In the future though, I want the game companies to understand that if they don't want me taking them to court and suing their asses under fair use laws, they better step up to the plate and at least make a better case for these fee's than "Well you're making money on it" Better CYA now and start adding features to the gamehouse versions of your games, because I'm a comin for you.
      • Re:The Price (Score:4, Informative)

        by Vito ( 117562 ) on Sunday March 16, 2003 @04:36PM (#5524806) Homepage

        Incidentally, Epic Games' games, like Unreal Tournament and Unreal Tournament 2003 don't require additional fees for being used in a game house setting. All you need is a legal copy of the game for each PC it is running on:

        www.epicgames.com/faq.html [epicgames.com]

        • Re:The Price (Score:2, Informative)

          by Polyphemis ( 450226 )
          That's the kind of thing I like and Epic. Epic is a really awesome company, and extremely supportive of their fanbase. In fact, last June, they flew myself and 34 other mod-development types to their North Carolina offices to check out the Unreal Tournament 2003 engine (three or four months before release) and gave us a day-long series of workshops \ lectures on every single facet of the engine and what it's capable of, and how. It lasted from 12pm to something crazy like 10pm (I don't remember, LONG day).
          • Intelligent move (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Sri Lumpa ( 147664 )

            Not only they care about their fanbase but by what you say they know how to seduce the modders and give them incentives to mod their game, which will probably contribute to the success of the game.

            1. Invite best modders of previous game for a superb visit.
            2. Let them do their magic on the graciously offered new games.
            3. Let the word spread of how cool the reception was (like you just did) and make other want to go there.
            4. To go there they need to make high quality mods so their number is more likely to gr
      • Bob the Angry Flower has a few words [angryflower.com] for you.
    • If my memory serves me correctly, when Wolf3d came out, I remember buying the trilogy for $25 or $35 dollars...

      I still have it, I just don't have a 5 1/4 drive to read the disks :)
  • by BobbyK ( 250558 )
    15$ seems a bit steep if you don't even get a box...
  • Keen for palm? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by feagle814 ( 640886 )
    If Keen could run on a 386, can't it run on my Palm? I want it on my Palm!
  • Whew this brings me back good ol memories, I used to play Commander Keen when I was young (5-6 yr. old) on my dad's 486. I think I still have the floppies lying around ! Now that I don't have a DOS env. anymore, anyone actually tried to play the game under FreeDOS/Wine or whatever that I could try on a *nix box ?
  • Pitiful (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    wtf? id is charging money for Commander Keen??

    Carmack's going broke or something?

  • Selling?! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 16, 2003 @03:33PM (#5524559)

    Maybe they haven't heard the news: Rockstar Games is giving Grand Theft Auto away. Selling these old games just won't cut it anymore.
    • Rockstar Games is not *giving* away Grand Theft Auto. You had to provide your name, address and a valid email address in order to download the game.

      I am sure that your personal information is worth more to Rockstar then the 15 bucks id is selling Keen for.
      • Not to mention the fact that the GTA series has a lot more to gain by giving it away - its free advertising for future games in the series.

        Unless id decides to release a new Commander Keen games and wants to rebuild interest in the franchise, they don't really gain as much by giving it away (it's not like they need to increase fan loyalty). Of course, if it is $15, I agree with the other posts that it's a bit much (for some reason Galeon keeps crashing on the page so I can't see it).
  • by barspin ( 585641 )
    Here's a company that has enjoyed huge critical and financial success with it's products. Instead of giving away (with an appropriate license) their 13-year-old make-it-big game, they sell it. No box, $15. The price isn't rational, and it's easy to argue that they should simply give the game away as a "thanks" to their customers and fans.

    Sure, I don't have a right to have the game for free. But it's my opinion it would be the proper thing to do. This will certainly sour some folks on id.

    How are the

  • by saskboy ( 600063 ) on Sunday March 16, 2003 @03:39PM (#5524577) Homepage Journal
    "Please be aware the game you are purchasing will be delivered to you via electronic download. There WILL NOT be a hard copy of the game sent to you. Because of this, we STRONGLY recommend backing up the file after you download it.

    NOTICE: Technical support is not available for this title.

    So, they overcharge for software, don't provide any version upgrades, and no technical support unless you pay. Sounds like buying software from Microsoft.
    • I agree. They're basically saying; "Give us $15 and we'll let you download this 13 year old game that may or may not work on your system. If it doesn't work, you can't download it, or you accidently delete the downloaded file - well, we guess you're screwed. Too bad." I don't think even MS would do something like that.
    • When was the last time Microsoft told you, or even allowed you, to back up software you bought from them?
  • by penguin_dance ( 536599 ) on Sunday March 16, 2003 @03:39PM (#5524581)
    Arguably the best of the series, it looks from this site [3drealms.com] that it's pretty much a no-go as far as ever being published.

    "The original Keen series was a trilogy of games. Keens 1-3 were collectively called "Invasion of the Vorticons". As Tom talks about above, the sequel was also to be a trilogy of games, but the id guys were convinced to break Keen 6 off and make it into an independent retail item. To this, the sequel that was distributed through Apogee was only two games. Episodes 4 & 5 were collectively called "Goodbye Galaxy", and Keen 6 was called "Aliens Ate My Babysitter". Keen 6 was sold by FormGen in retail, and since it was in retail, FormGen convinced the id guys to put in some off disk copy protection for the game. The fact that Keen 6 was broken off into it's own game, and the addition of the copy protection kind of made the "vibe" not the same as the original, but Keens 4-6 are awesome games, even if it's not a trilogy.

    One last note about Keen 6. At the moment, there is no legal way to obtain the game - it was a retail game by FormGen that Apogee merely resold the title. As FormGen doesn't exist anymore, the game has been discontinued, and for now, there is no legal way to obtain Keen 6 (save for the 3 level demo which was created to promote Keen 6)."

    I'm fortunate enough to have a copy (including the box!), but it's in 5 1/4 disk format and basically an item of nostalgia sitting on a shelf.

  • Dopefish Store (Score:3, Informative)

    by whereiswaldo ( 459052 ) on Sunday March 16, 2003 @03:41PM (#5524586) Journal
  • for Win/Lin/Mac/BSD. I would take my GamepadPro and play again. Schugy
  • by Cyno01 ( 573917 ) <Cyno01@hotmail.com> on Sunday March 16, 2003 @04:01PM (#5524662) Homepage
    I'm sure tons of people here have seen the cult classic Better off Dead [imdb.com]. The first time i saw it a few years back and heard the line "My little brother is building a space shuttle out of old vaccum cleaners" I immediatly had to go home and play Commander Keen. Anyone else notice this or want to speculate about all this? Is Badger Myer Commander Keen?
    • "Gee, I'm real sorry your mom blew up, Ricky. The doctor said she'll be okay, I guess she just wont be able to eat any spicy foods for a while."

      "Greendale is a bodaciously small town, Lane. I can't even get real drugs[1] here!" [1] - said while brandishing whipped cream in supermarket.

      "This is pure snow! It's everywhere! Have you any idea of what the street value of this mountain is?"

      "Now that's a real shame when folks be throwin' away a perfectly good white boy like that."

      Mostly from memory but a

    • Beginning to wander OT...

      Your post reminded me of what a friend of mine did back in primary school. Being scientifically inclinded, he wanted to build a space shuttle. Since he had heard that the space shuttle used solid fuel, he decided that his first step would be to put some gasoline in the freezer.

      He is now about to graduate from a prestigious private university with a degree in Nuclear Physics. He's come quite a ways :).
  • I don't remember what switch I made, Win3.1 -> Win95, 486 -> 586, etc, but the bottom half of the screen was covered in lines and shapes. If anyone ever had this problem and found a fix, I'd appreciate a response.
  • My childhood. I can't believe it that I've been playing this game since it came out. Man, I feel old (Stop laughing, I'm only 17). I'm teaching kids to play doom over a lan. These kids were born _before_ doom came out. (10 years old, man ;)
    Recently I found a copy of Commander Keen 6 at a garage sale, complete with the boxes and everything. I scanned every single thing I could in there. Its 13mbs if anyone has an idea of how I could get it to them! :)
  • The games in the Commander Keen series were some of the most thoroughly entertaining titles around at the time, certainly among platformers. They were creative, challenging, and full of secrets (especially the later ones).

    Note that id is not making Keen 6 (Aliens Ate my Babysitter) or Keen Dreams available for purchase/download.
  • ..it was bundled with MSDOS 5.0. Who the hell still has MSDOS and plays games??? Of course, if there were a linux version...
  • by Brian_Ellenberger ( 308720 ) on Sunday March 16, 2003 @05:31PM (#5524996)
    that it took until 1990 for the first game capable of side-scrolling! Dang, the Nintendo had that for 5 years before and was already on Mario 3! That is pretty bad and shows how far computer games were behind technology wise. Of course Id would put computer gaming on the forefront of technology with the Doom.

    Which begs the question of whether computer gaming would be dead without John Carmack. I know not every game needs cutting edge 3d graphics (Europa Universalis) but many games would be greatly lessened without being able to create believable worlds (Jedi Knight II).

    Brian Ellenberger
    • that it took until 1990 for the first game capable of side-scrolling!
      That is pretty bad and shows how far computer games were behind technology wise.

      Well, games on _x86 PC_ platform were behind. All the other existing so-called "home computers" were able to do side-scrollers from day one (C64, Atari boxes, Apple II, Amiga, Atari ST). Of course, like you said, tables were turned with 1st person shoot-em-ups; there raw CPU power was needed, not (fairly simple) hardware graphics processor features

  • Keen was released in my pre-Geek days. I bought a used Hyundai PC Clone (8086) from my brother and he downloaded(!) a copy of "Keen: Attack of the Vorticons" so I'd have something to amuse my kids with. Long story short, it was me who ended up spending hours attempting to save the universe.

    Come to think of it, I never DID save the universe. Holy smoke!!! That explains a lot!
  • I remember going to the public library to play commander keen everyday back in elementary school with a bunch of friends... That was also when I bought the shareware version of wolfenstein 3d on a 5-1/4 inch disk! Damn, I'm beginning to feel old...

    Public libraries these days really suck, even with their new computers and internet terminals.
  • by Jugalator ( 259273 ) on Sunday March 16, 2003 @06:30PM (#5525229) Journal
    Seems like id Software isn't alone in reviving their old games...

    Blizzard Classic Arcade [blizzard.com]

    And, much like id Software, Blizzard is offering visitors to play an on-line demo [blizzard.com] of their old puzzle game "The Lost Vikings".

    Perhaps it's just a coincidence, or it might be a trend... :-)

    And I can't do anything else than smile at the fact that Commander Keen: The Universe is Toast was never made. I wonder if it has something to do with the fact that the same guys are responsible for that game as Duke Nukem Forever aka DNF aka Did Not Finish.
  • Anyone else notice the Quake logo at the top of the page of the original Dopefish sketch? [dopefish.com]
  • by MCS ( 202073 ) <scherem@ g m ail.com> on Sunday March 16, 2003 @06:56PM (#5525328) Homepage
    Why are we seeing all these abaondware games (Keen, GTA, Lost Vikings) coming back? I personally think it doest with the nostalgia trend... you know how everyone is in love with Transformers again, or wearing Thundercats t-shirts... It's now progressed to the classic DOS games. I have mixed feelings about this movementâ"its nice to see the toys and games I grew up with coming back again, but at the same time itâ(TM)s must like seeing my past being whored out for a quick buck. I could probably go on with this prostitute analogy but this isnâ(TM)t the time or place for itâ¦

    Getting back on topic:
    Yes it would be nice to see Keen, Captain Comic and others of those type to come back and be available for the palm platform, or even as a free game for an X desktop (much like XBill and Xcivâ"think Keen as new FreeCell for your OS)-- but the age old adage stole holds - "If there is a buck to made... two bucks will be charged"

    I also remember one day reinstalling Wing Commander 2 on my Pentium MMX, and losing very bad to the fact my computer was just to fast for the game⦠Would these games be recoded to account for the increase in processor speed since then?
  • I can remember playing those games all of the time. My dad was getting his PhD at VA Tech and I would go and visit him and play on the 386s in his lab - envious of those guys that got to get some time in on their amazing 486 that they had in there... it had some crazy about of RAM like 16MB - I remember just being blown away by it - and wonder how it would play games.

    It seems now that the new phones that are coming out that are color and all - the commander keen series would port over to that relatively we
  • by Junta ( 36770 ) on Sunday March 16, 2003 @07:46PM (#5525566)
    Are the old ones. For those seeking to play old DOS games in a modern environment, try dosbox (http://dosbox.zophar.net/) It does better than dosemu in a lot of games, especially with sound.

    I just wish I could play Privateer with sound without actually having an ISA sounblaster card... Maybe one day....

    Until then, Freelancer is surprisingly close in spirit to Privateer.

    Also, to Star Control 2 fans, in case you didn't know (who doesn't by now?), check out http://sc2.sourceforge.net/. A full source release targeted at SDL... Very cool and cross platform.
  • Not me! (Score:3, Funny)

    by Maxwell_E ( 16977 ) on Sunday March 16, 2003 @11:13PM (#5526460)
    I didn't submit this, as suspicious as the coincidence may be. I remember when I was a kid I started a bbs (Fly By Night 1:3651/6) and wrote Mr. Sweeney asking him to be an official distributor of said software. Imagine my excitement when I got a letter back and 4 (?) floppies. Boy, with my TAG bbs, 200MB of harddrive space and every phrack to date I was the shiat. Well, that and I got to bear witness to the first 1 GIGABYTE SCSI harddrive ever installed in my local net. Holy crap, we had to get the local DuPont guy to install it. It sounded like a jet engine firing up.... Of course, it was promptly filled with a gig of porn. Yes, we called it porn back then kids.

    Ahh, good times. Good times.
  • What you get (Score:2, Informative)

    by hsa ( 598343 )

    I ordered the CD-ROM version and would like to tell the people what to expect:

    • a black CD-ROM with no covers and picture of a dopefish printed on it =)
    • Episodes 1-3 all in a same directory
    • Some sort of cheat program for episodes 1-3 (never tested)
    • Episodes 4-5 all in a same directory
    • Cheat program for these, too
    • "Goodies" directory, where there are two FAQ text files and 2 pictures of Galactic Alphabet
    • Windows autorun installer (which takes more space than episodes 1-5 combined)
    • Four shareware demos of old
  • Keen was fun, yes, but it has gotten misappropriated status as one of the landmarks in PC gaming. At the time, similarly styled platform games had been beaten into the ground for 4 years already. Games running on the much slower SEGA Genesis were more impressive than Keen. To me, Keen is a wash in terms of concept and design, but it's the first PC platform game to have a legitimate console feel. Had Keen been released on the Genesis, it would have been completely forgotten, as 98% of all platformers wer

The rich get rich, and the poor get poorer. The haves get more, the have-nots die.