History of the

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Game Series

A short history of Commander Keen games.

"Invasion of the Vorticons" (Episodes 1-3), published by Apogee Software. This series of Commander Keen was released on December 14th, 1990.

Keen1.jpg (11829 bytes)  The original rejected title screen for Episode 1

"Goodbye Galaxy" (Episodes 4 and 5), published by Apogee Software. This series of Commander Keen was released sometime around June of 1991. There was also a special CGA edition of Keens 4-5 made. The game is functionally exactly the same as the standard EGA version of the game, but the graphics are in CGA.

"Aliens Ate my Babysitter" (Episode 6), distributed by FormGen and id Software. It is commercial software, and is available at your local software store. This is also sold by Apogee, but Apogee only resells this product, they don't actually distribute it. FormGen also decided to put off-disk copy protection on the full version of this game. Furthermore, FormGen also has a playable 3 level commercial demo available for perusal before purchase. Apogee Software sells a version of Keen 6 in CGA.

"Keen Dreams" (Lost Episode), distributed by id Software and, I think, Softdisk. Keen Dreams has kind of an interesting story. Before the id guys actually formed id, the majority of them worked at Softdisk, a computer software publisher in Shreveport, LA. The founding members of id Software left Softdisk to do the Vorticons series of Keen for Apogee Software. However, they were contractually obligated to deliver another game to Softdisk, and since development had started on the Galaxy series, they threw together a Keen game for Softdisk, and Keen Dreams was born. This game is not sold by Apogee Software, nor does Apogee have anything at all to do with it.

If you played Keen 5, there was a screen that said something to the effect of "Join us in December 1992 for the greatest Keen adventure yet." There was a picture of Keen smiling, with a Santa Claus hat on. At the time, id Software was intending to do a third series of Commander Keen, tentatively entitled "Commander Keen: The Universe is Toast." However, other projects came up (Wolfenstein 3D, Spear of Destiny, and later, Doom). At this time, there is no development going on in the Commander Keen department. There will probably be more Commander Keen games by Apogee or id Software.

On a different note, Commander Keen, and artifacts from the Keen games have found their way into other games. Commander Keen is listed in the default scoreboards of a handful of Apogee games, mentioned in the instructions of one, and has made a few more prominent appearances.

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