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Tom’s Games

In Which We Find Out What Tom Has Done Before And Stuff

 A lot of people write me, wanting to know how to get into the games industry. Many of them have never made a game. That’s why I advise making a bunch of little games yourself, so you can screw up in private, until you really get the idea, then show other people your stuff. The director Robert Rodriguez says in his book, Rebel Without A Crew, that everyone has about ten bad films in them. He suggests making those, then with all that experience, you can show people stuff that shows more maturity and understanding. This goes for games, too. Look all this junk I did from June 9th, 1980, when I got my Apple II+, to September 1987, when I went to work for Softdisk. These aren’t all the games, but a lot of them. And it doesn’t include utilities and applications and stuff. (I reprogrammed a few of them for Softdisk later, you’ll notice.)

GAME TYPE COMMENTS
Tank Arcade/sim BASIC. Sad little type in the angle, it draw the dots of the arc for the cannonball, and you try to hit the other tank.
Murderer Adventure BASIC. Walk around a town grid looking for the murderer. If you find his square, you see a horrible stick figure with meanie eyebrows.
Gold Quest Adventure BASIC. Actual locations to find items and dig for gold!
Xenon I – IV Adventures Adventure BASIC. After writing real adventures, it was fun to write a huge adventure made up of leading descriptions that got you to type the next obvious thing to do or look at, which led to the next IF statement. They were all in a big loop, so if you typed GO STARSHIP, you’d jump forward to that part of the game. Silly but fun to make because they were so incredibly epic with no effort.
Deserted Island Adventure Fun little adventure that I don’t remember at all.
Monkey Adventure Adventure Not quite the spectacle of fun that Monkey Island was, but it was fun to get him to do stuff by taunting him with banana goodies.
Ed’s Superspy Course Adventure BASIC. He’s Ed. He’s got a superspy course! Collect all the treasures on the spy testing grounds… Published on Softdisk as my first assembly language adventure.
Aztec Temple Adventure My mom’s favorite, published later on Softdisk. It was pretty good. Some rather clever puzzles.
Box Canyon Adventure Fun little adventure. No great shakes.
Rescue on Alka Adventure Rescue the princess from the Castle Selzer. Get it?
Starcruiser Adventure On a bet, I wrote this in two hours. It was pretty cool for two hours. Escape the doomed starship!
Submarine Adventure Some cool puzzles in this baby. Sliding down a pipe on a belt and junk.
Cyclo Adventure First of a set of nine adventures: The Ultimate Adventure. Never made the other eight. Hee.
The Last Hope Adventure Sci-fantasy game with you trying to save the life-source of a planet from dying….
Shipwreck Adventure Pretty dang tough adventure.
Lighthouse Adventure Cool puzzles with timed tides and stuff.
Secret Evil Petrified Desert Adventure Huge and epic, about alien ships hidden inside petrified trees, which you find after, you know, crossing a desert. Really cool, and so big that when I tried to compile it with a BASIC compiler, it wouldn’t fit in memory!
Monolith Adventure Really tough adventure that was pretty spooky too.
Amusement Park Adventure Funny, cool adventure that I later redid for Softdisk. Some rather hilarious parts.
Primero Dinero Simulation FINALLY, I get off the adventure kick with… a sim that plays like an adventure. History class simulation of managing your supplies when stranded on an island.
Dungeon Role-playing Sort of a text adventure with fights in the middle of it. Eamonish, I guess. Why no graphics since Murderer?
Gunner Shoot-‘em-up Shape tables Shooter. Basically, you’re a tail gunner. One of the creatures was “Space Mite”. Followed by a bunch of too-slow, flashy, awful arcade games that shouldn’t have ever been done in BASIC by a rational person. But this one was okay.
Zapper Shoot-‘em-up Shouldn’t have been done in BASIC by a rational person.
Superzot Shoot-‘em-up Shouldn’t have been done in BASIC by a rational person.
Dexicon Shoot-‘em-up Shouldn’t have been done in BASIC by a rational person.
Space Peepers Shoot-‘em-up Cool idea where little Kilroys pop out of moon craters. Saw the game game later on a console system. Ah well.  Good intro anim for flash.
Madvoober Shoot-‘em-up Basically this is Mad Bomber, but with non-page flipped shapes that flashed (voobed) really annoyingly.
Mass Poopage Shoot-‘em-up You shoot a bird that is pooping massively above you. Of course, the poop is utterly lethal.
Monkey Platform Imagine Donkey Kong Junior on two poles, with stuff coming down the screen that he’s got to avoid. Get to the top of the screen! Yes!
Musical Snowbound Maze A version of Pacman I wrote quickly for my sister, because she was bad at games–this one had no ghosts, which made it considerable easier.
Walk Into the Dot Action/Puzzle Kind of a cool simple game idea that actually got published on Softdisk later as a joke. First level: one bad dot, one good dot. Walk into the good dot. Second level: two bad dots. And on. After the thirty-sixth level, it is almost impossible. If you run into a bad dot, you go back one level. The dots are random, so you can get screwed. Strangely fun, though.  Well, to me, anyway.
Zap Shoot-‘em-up Such a forgettable game, I forgot it.
Jumpy Platform I’m sure this had to do with jumping…
Horse Race Race Bet on one of four horses and they race! Kept track of historical scores.
Slot Machine Casino Pull the lever. Wow!
LGADV Adventure Adventure Sad lo-res graphics for rooms, but at least they were graphics!
LGADV2: Cheese Factory Adventure Adventure Not quite so sad, as there’s cheese in it. And duct-crawling-through!
The Silver Cow Adventure Hi-res tiles Ultima-style game with no Ultima style depth. An amusing voice-digitized “MOO!” at the start, on an Apple ][!
Alphabetics Educational Bring the two matching letters to the momma rabbit. The controls (four arrows and space bar) we way above the heads of the super-young kids it was designed for. A lesson I learned from my teacher friend Mr. K.
Death Ships From the Ninth Galaxy Shoot-‘em-up Joke game: three HUGE ships at the top of the screen don’t fire, so you can just blow them up. But avoid the falling pilot’s corpse!
Korp Shoot-‘em-up More dang disposable shooters.
Spire City Shoot-‘em-up Disposable shooter with enemies on a spiral path. Wow.
Here Comes the Grunge Educational Character generator (later published at Word Castle) Cool hangman game without the gruesome corpse thingy.
Changemaker Educational Helped kids learn to make change with Eddie and his piggy bank!  Used by learning-disabled kids.

Then I went to work at Softdisk. I improved submitted programs for a long time, as well as making my own. Here are most of them (these are just the games, not the apps like What A Poster! and so on):

GAME YEAR COMMENTS
Aztec Temple 1988 They bought it from me… for a hundred dollars!
Ed’s Superspy Course 1988
Changemaker 1988
Walk Into the Dot 1988
The Silver Cow 1988
Amusement Park 1989
Word Castle 1989 Formerly Here Comes the Grunge
In Search of the Golden Cheese 1989 The stunning sequel to The Silver Cow. Basically a maze.
Duck Boop 1989 First true event-driven shooter I made. A demo of the block-shape routines we provided on the disk.
Alfredo’s Stupendous Surprise 1989 Romero and I adding a choose-your-path version of the constantly mutilated, stick-figure mascot of Softdisk. We worked hard to fit this in 128K. We finished with EIGHT BYTES of memory left!
Recollect Trek 1989 Trivia game, as well as the next one.
Recollect The Beatles 1989
Pun’s Peak 1989 Little adventure where the solutions are HIDEOUS puns.
Ark Shadows 1989 Cool levels for Arkanoid GS
Legend of the Star Axe 1990 Fun shooter with silly enemies like the Blehs and fleets of 57 Chevys. Joe Siegler got to level 174 of this game!
Catacomb 1990 Cool arcade game done with Carmack. Did levels and graphics.
Double Dangerous Dave 1990 (Romero’s game–I just did the double hi-res graphics.)

Here also are some programs that I spiffed up so much from the original, they are countable as games I worked on:

GAME YEAR COMMENTS
The Seven Keys 1987 Basically, Monopoly.
Anagram Challenge 1988 Word fun.
Loose Change 1988 Changemaker without Eddie and the piggy bank.
Magic Boxes 1989 Puzzle that Romero later ported to the PC… in TEXT MODE!

Now on the PC side (these are in the id anthology)… 1990 was a busy year!

GAME YEAR COMMENTS
Catacomb 1990 2D Magician action.
Dangerous Dave 1990 Mario… sorta.
Catacomb II 1990 2D Magician action with more colors!
Slordax 1990 A fan of Slordax wrote me last week. LAST WEEK! I mean, get a console!
Shadow Knights 1990 I did like a few levels.
Rescue Rover! 1990 I really love the puzzle elements in the Rescue Rovers. (That’s why I borrowed some of the puzzle elements for Hyperspace Delivery Boy!)  Level 29 of Rescue Rover! is one of the hardest puzzles in any game ever. Heh heh heh.
Dangerous Dave in the Haunted Mansion 1990 The reloading-your-shotgun mechanic was awesome and tension-producing… especially during boss battles!
Keen Dreams 1990 Shouldn’t have made this Keen — now some dude in Louisiana has rights to this episode.
Rescue Rover II 1990 More puzzle insanity.  Never did finish the trilogy… nor ever record the theme song I made up!
Hovertank One 1990 3D game!  But with color-mapped walls.
Catacomb 3-D 1990 This is the first 3D fast-action FPS EVER.  Too bad it was in EGA and like four people saw it.
Commander Keen in… “Invasion of the Vorticons” 1990 I love Keen. Keen is basically me at age eight. The Green Bay Packer helmet, the red Converse sneakers, the dreams of space… If I ever got the rights again, I’d make Keen 3D in a heartbeat.
Commander Keen in… “Goodbye, Galaxy!” 1991 Keen 4 introduced the Dopefish, who now has a bizarre, cult-like following, and has had a cameo in many games. Keen 5 is Romero’s favorite Keen.
Commander Keen in… “Aliens Ate My Baby Sitter!” 1991 Should never have split up the trilogy and made a commercial version. Ah well.
Wolfenstein 3D 1992 I remember Romero playing it while we were working on it in Madison, Wisconsin, and saying, “There’s NOTHING like this!”
Spear of Destiny 1992 I love the surprise end level. Hee.
DOOM 1993 Awesome game that I was totally unhappy working on, simply because the things I am best at aren’t in the game: characters, puzzle elements, story, content. It’s just a raw shooter, which is cool, but not really what I enjoy doing. I had a story, characters with different abilities, and brief cinematic pictures at the start and end. I felt we were getting way too minimalistic in player reward, and wanted a reason for the person to go through the levels, rather than a switch. We parted ways, which really was for the best. (What levels did Tom do? Level 1-4, first half of 1-8, 2-1, 2-2, 2-3, 2-4, 2-7, 3-3, and 3-7. Some of them were subsequently retextured to be episode-appropriate and stuff, and the new monsters were added. It was really cool that a LucasArts guy said the crate stuff in Jedi Knight was an homage to the crate maze, 2-2, in DOOM. I’m honored. Now, if I can just beat Jerec before he goes up the tube again…. Also, a level of mine, level 10, wound up in DOOM 2, but I don’t count that as “a game I worked on”, so…)
Duke Nukem II 1993 Did the story, designed the bosses, drew the bonus items, and some sprites and tiles.
Rise of the Triad 1994 A bunch of innovations (rocket-jumping, sorted frags, environment changing, missile cam, parental password, and on and on, but lost in an old-style engine.
Extreme Rise of the Triad 1995 Level pack. Basically a waste of a few months. But some clever level bits.
Terminal Velocity 1995 Co-produced this one.

(I did the story for Duke Nukem 3D, but that was an after-the-fact thing. I also helped come up with TripBombs. Didn’t work on the game, though. And, of course, I was on the first year of Prey, but needed to make the game I wanted to make, and thus…ION Storm. Hope Prey rocks. Someday.  Well, at least I got a Prey mug.)

Also, I started a bunch of games that I never finished, but always wanted to. Never enough time. Sigh. Here’s a list!

BEFORE SOFTDISK

GAME TYPE COMMENTS
Poids Shoot-‘em-up Turned into Legend of the Star Axe on the GS. An homage to Sneakers by Mark Turmell. The slogan: “They’re too cute to shoot!”
The Ultimate Adventure Adventure Gfx/text Finished Cyclo, the first one, but the other eight are in Limbo.
Fate of the Firedame Adventure You’re on a starship, stuffed in a missile tube, and it’s destroyed and in a decaying orbit. Have fun!
Castle Wolfenstine(sic) Action Text-based version of Castle Wolfenstein. Spelled differently to avoid prosecution!
Slayquest RPG My version of the ancient Dragon’s Eye crossed with Wizardry.
Starstrike Shoot-‘em-up Finally a shoot-‘em-up in assembly! Nope.
SOFTDISK
GAME TYPE COMMENTS
Rice Farmer Simulation Rice farming. Woo!
Lizardly RPG Wizardry parody.
Candy Quest Action adventure And never done.
Rescue Rover IIe Action I originally designed it on the Apple II. Inspired by Adventures of Lolo.
No Man’s LAN Arcade on network Would have been an AppleTalked multiplayer game
Dangerous Dave GS Platform Port of Romero’s game, did editor, gfx, but stopped
Disc World Platform Like Q-Bert
Scary Bizness Platform Halloween-themed platformed in Double Hi-res.
Secret of the Obelisk Adventure One of the few I didn’t finish
Run ‘n’ Jump Platform Run as stuff scrolls by you that you must jump over.
Starstrike Shoot-‘em-up Finally a shoot-‘em-up in assembly! Nope.

ID GAMES

GAME TYPE COMMENTS
  Penultima III RPG Carmack and I doing a real RPG, though it was a joke, too.
Wac-man Maze action We started this as an example for a developer seminar. Never finished it off.
Save Spot! Puzzle action Rescue Rover! but we would own the IP.
IGOTABAT.EXE Action Funny for brutality and that it fit in IBM’s old 8-character filename restriction.
Spheres of Influence Puzzle Action Combing spheres to make different things.
Commander Keen in… “The Universe is Toast!” Platform Sigh….
Okay, back to games I actually got AROUND to making or helping to make!
ION STORM GAMES
GAME TYPE COMMENTS
Anachronox Role-playing I loved making this game, even though the company struggles were insane. The guys that stuck it out were bonded in ways that no one else will understand. Likely by body funk.
Deus Ex Action RPG I voiced Walton Simons, and some other folks.
 
MONKEYSTONE GAMES
GAME TYPE COMMENTS
Hyperspace Delivery Boy! Action puzzle A fun puzzle adventure on the Pocket PC, then PC, then Gameboy Advance. Now being ported to Linux!
Jewel & Jim Action puzzle On BREW platform.
Gold Digger Action puzzle On BREW platform
Congo Cube Action puzzle On PC and elsewhere…
 
MIDWAY GAMES

At Midway, I was Creative Director over Third Party Products. It was a cool place with a great boss, Steve Crane. I commented on a lot of projects, did a Design Database to try to unite the five studios, and other stuff. Here’s two of the games I looked at a lot.

GAME TYPE COMMENTS
Narc Action My first task was to comment and suggest changes on this controversial title. A trip to Scotland! The checkered development history meant they never really got to do virtually any of my suggestions, but well, stuff happens. Frustrating for them, frustrating for me. Ah well.
Area 51 Action This is a great game. Apart from various milestone commentaries, I suggested a scanner to unite their Lore with the character, to make you feel you aren’t just another guy with a gun. Also, jumping bean grenades, but they never got quite erratic enough to make them scary, but there you go. They did a great job on this game. Props to Zach, Justin, Jim, Daryl, and the whole team. Fun! It was cool meeting David Duchovny and Marilyn Manson. If a bit surreal.
 
KingsIsle Entertainment
GAME TYPE COMMENTS
Wizard Blox Match 3 Simple, free Match-3 on iOS to complement Wizard 101
LOOT DROP

Social games and more!

GAME TYPE COMMENTS
Pettington Park Social It’s cats vs. dogs in weekly competitions — which side are you on? Fun social game with minigames, quirky humor
And soon, I’ll add more to the list!
This list may be inaccurate, but like the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, where it is inaccurate, it is at least DEFINITIVELY inaccurate. :^)
Now you know a little bit more about me! La.

Brought to you by the letter ‘R’.

 

113 responses to “Tom’s Games

  1. Bamyl

    April 30, 2008 at 2:21 pm

    So, how do I get a hold of HDB for windows? Like now?

     
  2. tommune

    April 30, 2008 at 2:36 pm

    Workin’ on it. :)

     
  3. Bamyl

    April 30, 2008 at 2:50 pm

    You’ve got a heart of gold ;)

     
  4. tommune

    April 30, 2008 at 3:00 pm

    So does Zaphod Beeblebrox. :)

     
  5. Bamyl

    April 30, 2008 at 3:49 pm

    Didn’t see that one coming. Damn my lack of imagination.

     
  6. Bamyl

    April 30, 2008 at 3:53 pm

    (also, shouldn’t you be working? I’m kind of waiting for that new game ;))

     
  7. Defiler

    May 25, 2008 at 1:06 pm

    Hey Tom ! Since I can’t find no massage board nor direct Email, I’ll just ask you here :)
    What legal issues prevent you from doing another Keen game, or at least develope a new Commander Keen game which will be totally different but still have the same familiar characters ?

    And for the other issues I tried to reach you about – I’m working on a Commander Keen comic book (something I started doing in crude guidelines back when I was 12, and found out it’s gonna be cool doing it right now when I’m 25 and, almost finishing my degree) – How can I get the right to use the many (or some of the) characters in the game series, If I’m not planning to do it for money, just for to publish it for free on the internet ?

    Sorry for the long comment
    You, sir, are a genius.

    Yotam “Defiler” Avni
    Israel

     
  8. tommune

    May 28, 2008 at 5:04 am

    id owns Keen. They have been negative about fan projects.

    I hope to get him back someday.

    I’d just invent your own character! Just picture yourself, in your imagination, at 8 or 9 and go from there! :)

     
  9. FishInBlack

    June 11, 2008 at 12:57 pm

    Just dug out my copy of Anachronox again the other day and started playing through again. Love that game, one of top ten all time faves. Shame about the rights, though.

    Want something similiar NOW!!

    Wizard 101 sounds pretty cool though.

     
  10. Mr.Moore

    June 17, 2008 at 8:47 pm

    Thanks for Anachronox – one of the best games I ever played (on my shelf right there with System Shock, Deus Ex, May Payne and Dungeon Master)
    Although the ending was quite unfair – in the view that there will be no part two – sniff
    …and that Dopefish is haunting me (saw it last in a game by russian or polish developers :)

     
  11. StoneyDumples

    June 28, 2008 at 11:19 pm

    So, I’ve had a nagging question bouncing around my head for a while that I think would be great if you could answer for me.

    I’ve had what I thought was an original idea for a few years that I’ve wanted to implement in a game. It involved jumping through a portal type of teleporter. A seamless doorway integrated into the gameplay… exactly like what can be found in Prey and Portals now. Naturally when I fired up these games to check out the technology I was excited to see, what I thought was an original idea, had been executed so well in a commercial game.
    I was curious to know if the idea for the portal technology was in the Prey concept from the beginning. Since Prey (all the way back Prey) had been in production far longer than my idea had been, I was wondering if my idea was ever original at all.

    Can you shed some light for me?

     
  12. J.B

    June 30, 2008 at 9:46 am

    Hope to see part 2 of Anachronox someday..

     
  13. bamyl

    June 30, 2008 at 2:48 pm

    I spent hours and hours with Anachronix just running around Sender station. It felt like a second home. Which I guess is kind of a good thing since you’re working on an mmo now. I hope you’ll capture the same degree of wonder and detail I felt existed in Anachronox. But this time interactive and with lots of real people. Oooh this is going to be so great.
    Btw will you be doing any voice acting? I sure hope so, you have a knack for voice stuff. Walton Simons still haunts my dreams ;)

     
  14. tommune

    June 30, 2008 at 3:11 pm

    Yeah, that was early in Prey development.

    Even Portal was a fancied up version of a game done a little while ago.

    You’ll find that there’s almost always a precedent when you do stuff. The awesome part is in the execution.

    And yeah, I think some of my voice stuff is in Wizard 101.

     
    • Shaolin Dave

      September 13, 2012 at 6:22 am

      Have you considered a KickStarter campaign to buy back the rights to Commander Keen?

       
      • ThatTomHall

        September 13, 2012 at 3:57 pm

        Considered, but attempts at asking about it so far have gotten nowhere….

         
  15. StoneyDumples

    June 30, 2008 at 10:44 pm

    Well thanks. That’s pretty much what I wanted to know. I think it’s interesting that every new concept is based on old ones, yet somehow they can be refreshing every time they’re re-visited with a new angle.

    I’ve been reading Masters of Doom recently, it’s been cool putting faces and personality behind the games I love to play and dissect. I grew up on the Keen games, so I’ve been a fan of your style of goofiness for a long time… whether I knew who you were or not. :) I’m looking forward to Wizard 101.

     
  16. Jorpho

    July 29, 2008 at 5:24 am

    Working on HDB for Windows, you say? Work more! :) (It has been quite a while at this point, after all…)

     
  17. Jorpho

    August 27, 2008 at 8:53 pm

    (Verily, though id owns Keen and we might pine forever for Anox 2 doesn’t mean that we can’t get HDB, does it?)

     
  18. Jorpho

    October 3, 2008 at 3:00 am

    …Seriously, the HDB rerelease has been in the works for years. I wouldn’t have thought it would be so difficult to put the appropriate files together into a downloadable package.

    What’s the holdup? Is it Vista compatibility? Or do you just need someone to supportively suggest you finish it already?

     
  19. Tim

    December 31, 2008 at 8:41 pm

    I owe you much, much thanks for your work with Rise of the Triad. I still remember picking it up in the store in ’94 or so, it instantly became my top favorite- I’m still playing it after all these years (still using the heck out of Ted5 as well!) Sure, there are some great new games out there, but there’s just something special about those old Apogee and ID games that you don’t really see anymore.
    Thanks for the great memories, and best of luck to you in your future projects!

     
  20. Serhij

    January 19, 2009 at 10:20 am

    Tom, thanks A LOT for Anachronox. When I read about it in a magazine I knew that it will be a GAME. I searched for it for 7 years, and now I HAVE IT!!!! :)
    Starting to play for the 4-th time.

     
  21. tommune

    January 19, 2009 at 3:02 pm

    Glad you enjoyed it… many times!

    There’s a lot of stuff hidden in there…. one secret… might have Rho Bowman talk to the door guy at Rowdy’s, many times….. ;)

     
  22. Murk

    March 4, 2009 at 4:31 pm

    Ah, Anachronox… brilliance. Played it end-to-end so many times I’d swear I’ve actually *been* to Sender Station.

    I’d love to run an Anox tabletop RPG someday. Heard of anyone trying this before? I’d love to hear how it went, what system they used, etc…

     
  23. tommune

    March 4, 2009 at 5:02 pm

    Aw thanks… it got a nice mention in PC Games top 49 Game Developers in the April issue.

    Nope, never heard of one being done….

     
  24. Serhij

    March 5, 2009 at 9:23 am

    Wow, thanks for the tip.
    There are still some nasty tricks which I haven’t figured out…
    Sorry 4 the dumb question, but what did You do in the Anachronox? The storyline, the outlook, the universe, the dialogs, programming, level decorations, or You imagined ALL of that stuff, and simply [:))] made other guys to “materialize it”?

    Now ’bout Deus Ex. Man! This is A GAME. As Murk said he was in Sunder station, I say that I WAS JC )) Hell. I am JC! It is a game #1 for me. Along with the Unreal ). Surely now as I have Anachronox, it’ll be the third #1 game for me LOL.
    Though the Invisible war lacked some shooting, it had a great storyline too. But I dont care ’bout shooting ’cause my videocard hardly permitted me to run it under 800*600 ).
    You know, when I first watched the “Equilibrium”, and heard Chris Bale talsking, I hopped up “WOW, thats the guy who was Walton Simons in DX!!!”. But I suddenly realized that it was “some” )) Tom guy. I thought “Hmm…I could’ve sworn…”
    And than came the Area 51, and then – Anachronox. When I was watching the credits after first finish I saw that Tom guy again ). Than I thought – Wow, this guy makes amazing things, but than I thought – it’s a pitty, but the life tends to NOT give us the NEXT episodes of the Amazing One’s [no Anachronox 2, no Freelancer 2, no Undying 2, thanks Life for the DX2 though].
    After that I decide to learn a bit more ’bout such a MAN who gave me ‘nox, Simons, ‘n’ Area 51, and through Wiki – here I am)
    A deep bow to You again!
    P.S. There’s a cool photo on Wiki with You, Romero and Warren Spector. Now it’ll be on my desktop till Armageddon comes. Well, or till Milla Jovovich has a nice wallpaper :D

     
  25. tommune

    March 5, 2009 at 2:49 pm

    I was Project Lead and Lead Designer, so I came up with the universe, the characters, the concept of the places, the story, then everyone took their pieces and ran with it. Jake did brilliant direction, Richie wrote an amazing script and brought amazing life and depth to the story I had, plus the both of them came up with amazing gameplay and design throughout. Squirrel, Joey, and the programmers did amazing work all over the place, and Lee and all the artists made the world come alive with great art. I did program Bugaboo, OX, that ghost game, and the random game names in Hephaestus.

    Heh, yeah, that’s my evil character voice, heh.

    Thanks for all the kind comments. If you’re a Milla fan, she has an interview in the latest “Interview” magazine.

     
  26. Serhij

    March 6, 2009 at 8:08 am

    Thanks for the explanation. Would You mind if I use your photo at http://wolf.nofrag.com/images/tomhall-overgame-02.jpg in my russian version of Wiki article about you? :) ’cause there’s only english one, and I know a lot of your fans from russia who also admires You, so I decided to make a sort of translation from english version )).

     
  27. Murk

    March 11, 2009 at 12:21 pm

    I’ll let you know if/when I ever run it, and how it goes.

    Man, I wish there’d been a sequel. Plenty of cool stuff is hinted at in the game files, and in some of the early concept art… places like the Echo Dimension, Rossophis, Magentasse. The Tantasil/Tantasol disaster. Greyscale pirates. The vampire-looking guy. Beasties like the Magentaur, the Azuur and the Urticate…

     
  28. THE_PAST_KNOCKING_DOWN_YOUR_DOOR

    March 12, 2009 at 9:06 pm

    Hey Tom…. Ive been trying to reach you. So I thought I would just post here. Love some of the titles you have worked on in the past. Especailly all things CK….??? So shoot me an email.

     
  29. Colton

    March 22, 2009 at 8:59 pm

    For the love of God get Keen rights back and make another game!

     
  30. HappyBenIsHappy

    April 7, 2009 at 6:41 am

    Hey Tom!

    Have you seen this?
    id in 1993 on VHS

    http://rome.ro/2009/04/visit-to-id-software-1993.html

    (Also has Bobby Prince talking about ‘Eat Your Veggies’)

     
  31. tommune

    April 7, 2009 at 2:09 pm

    I’ve seen the Eat Your Veggies and saw John posting that… haven’t watched it yet…

    Will check it out sometime soon.

     
  32. Jorge

    April 18, 2009 at 11:24 pm

    Hi Tom,

    Im writting from Chile. I love your work, specially rise of the triad. Even now I played I think is really cool…

    See you…. goodluck

     
  33. J0hned

    May 5, 2009 at 9:31 am

    Mr. Hall
    With Eidos being bought by a Japanese? company, are you interested and is there a chance you will get the rights back to start an “Anachronox 2″ project ?
    Best regards

    : )

     
  34. tommune

    May 5, 2009 at 2:22 pm

    Thanks, Jorge!

    JOhned, the cool thing is that they would understand that type of RPG. The bad thing is they are in Japan and if they did it, they’d probably just do it themselves. D’oh!

    I’m happy where I am right now, too.

     
  35. Jorpho

    May 6, 2009 at 3:38 pm

    Is it too early to mention HDB again?

    I keep this blog in my RSS feed in the increasingly desperate hope that there will some day be further news posted about it.

     
  36. Matt

    May 7, 2009 at 8:40 am

    Hello Tom Hall,
    I am a huge fan of Commander Keen. That was my childhood, in a way. I grew up with my dad bringing home floppy disks of shareware titles and that’s how I discovered Keen. I cannot tell you how much I was inspired by the the artwork, music, and story of the series. I have a few questions for you regarding the current state of Keen if it wouldn’t be too much trouble to answer. I’m sure you get this far too much but I haven’t heard any clear answeres to these. Have you tried to deal with id as of late to make a new Keen game? What is their real stance on the rights of Keen? Have you tried and failed before? In this day and age, seeing Keen come to the handhelds, barring the GBC rendition of course, or the download services such as XBLA, PSN, WiiWare, Steam, etc, would seem so much more possible than in the past. I have always been dumbfounded that id has just sit on Keen for so long without anything being done with it. Keen GBC could not have possibly set a precedent. Anyway, I look forward to playing your next game and hope to look forward to a new Keen game some day.

     
  37. Mike

    May 30, 2009 at 9:08 am

    Mr. Hall

    Writing from Poland – I remember when I bought ROTT in April 1995 for 39$ (when average monthly income was about 80$) – this was also my first legit game I bought (before 1995 there were no copyright laws in my country). Money well spent – for this day I have two 486/100 hooked up by direct cable to play ROTT (and Keen sometimes – seriously Robo Red is one of the hardest video game enemies ever created). Even after 15 years ROTT is still fun to play (in both multiplayer and singleplayer – it took me so many years to actually figure how to truly beat El Oscuro). If remake will be ever made I will pay 100$ for it straight (and 200$ for new Keen game) :)

    best regards
    Mike

     
  38. tommune

    May 30, 2009 at 7:31 pm

    Awww, thanks. I’m glad you liked it so much that you spent precious money on it….

    If I ever get the rights back, will do…… :)

     
  39. B.J.

    June 17, 2009 at 7:50 am

    Dude! Anachronox kicked ass! I mean, how many genuinely funny games do they make? Basically, zero. One of the party members was an entire planet! How brilliant is that? It also had great characters and drama (poor Fatima… *sniff*) I still call collectible stuff in any game “TACOs” Heh heh heh.

    ~B.J.

     
  40. tommune

    June 17, 2009 at 1:40 pm

    Aw thanks!

    Tim Schafer’s Brutal Legend will be hilarious, and Ron Gilbert’s Deathspank should be a hoot. They are both brilliant.

     
  41. josem

    June 17, 2009 at 9:13 pm

    men you have work a lot…
    just wanna say thanks for make keen, the dopefish , blabla, the only game i cannot finish is slordax, it was the first computwer game i played back to 1996,97 (i dont remember well) (im 19 years old), i live in chile and there is hard to get games, but i manage to get commander keen games, i see the references in doom and biomenace and i wanted to know about it, and presto y became a fan to the first shot, i read your history and i feel represented, i mean how many people want to be some class of space hero when child? instead of a footbal helm i played with a biker helm(or a paper one), jumping across my house and making my mom angry, haha, im hiperactive, and sometimes i still jumping in any places i am… still making my mon angry XD.

    i read defiler post and you right Id should give to you the rights of keen,
    the problem is, im also drawing a fanbook of keen, this is a crossover disaster (my brother call it “disaster” instead of crossover when i make some fancomic, because i mix many worlds, triying to fit every one)

    -thats it, i hope dont bothering you, im eager to talk about my fan-disaster
    but i dont know i hope dont earn hate from keen creator, my drawning teacher encourages me to draw because he says im creative; original, imaginative, things like that, and i like to make my own games, but i dont know how programming, i cannot find a place where learn…
    – i hope this long waste of my time dont, make you anger, i wait your next job
    -thats it goodbye, see you in the well of whishes BURP!!

     
  42. tommune

    June 17, 2009 at 9:31 pm

    Thanks much, glad you are having fun with the characters….

    Yeah, Slordax is pretty tough!

     
  43. EA3

    June 21, 2009 at 6:16 am

    Hey um, are you gonna make that “mystery game” free? Just curious.

    Oh, and by the way, I’ve memorized lotsa Deus Ex quotes. Some of ‘em are yours.
    “WS: I am a patient man.
    NSF: ask me if I care.
    WS: But not that patient.
    BLAM BLAM..”

     
  44. Emmeline

    August 22, 2009 at 11:07 am

    Oh lord. :O I just realized, that the Mystery game is Wizard101. Nice. :D Good for you~!

     
  45. juhanoh

    August 29, 2009 at 11:45 pm

    Hello Tom. As a kid I really loved commander keen and I have actually played all of the keen games over again this summer. I am really into space adventures and stuff like that as well. As a kid, I remember drawing a lever and switches on the wall (they’re still there) and pretending to be a space hero. Anyway, commander keen is the coolest game ever. Out of the 7 games, I believe Keen5 is the best. Greetings from Estonia, take care. PS: The next game better have those glorious 2D graphics.

     
  46. juhanoh

    August 29, 2009 at 11:50 pm

    I forgot to add that if i had billions of dollars, I would buy keen from ID and give you the rights to make keen games :)

     
  47. Johannes Roth

    October 21, 2009 at 8:53 am

    Hey guys,

    we, a team of 10 students studying Game Design in Germany, created a 2D Jump and Run game called “Grounded”.

    I presented the game on GDC Europe, Games Com 2009 and on some other events here in Germany. The thing that really made me so proud was that some people just looked at it for 5 seconds and said “Wow, that reminds me of Commander Keen!”.

    In my opinion thats the best award given from players that I can imagine, especially because its no Keen Clone. This happened a lot of times and I still don’t know how we achieved this ;-) But as I was the team leader, producer and tech leader, I might have thought about Keen sometimes while creating the game. Oh, and the fact, that its about a little boy who has to save the world might add to the effect :-)

    We also created an English version and we are going to sign in for the German Developers Contest (Newcomer Award). We really would appreciate if some more people would play the game and give us some feedback, maybe even Tom (everybody has his idols, huh?) ;-)

    You also can watch the trailer, a Making Of and download the game for free, its all linked here:

    http://www.spielegestalter.de/

    And maybe I was able to let you feel like playing a modern Keen ;-) Every mail with any feedback is appreciated :-)

     
  48. Alex D

    October 22, 2009 at 7:22 pm

    Heya, people.
    Just played an Anachronox Demo, Daikatana and Deus Ex.
    My marks:
    Anachronox – 8/10, but it’s was just a demo
    Daikatana – 8/10 I had no bugs in this game, so I’m bad guy =)
    Deus Ex – 9/10, I think, that this game is good, and need to good sequels.

     
  49. Serhij

    December 1, 2009 at 7:35 am

    Alex D, you’re right, but you have three typos in your text:
    Anachronox – 18/10
    Daikatana – 18/10
    Deus Ex – 19/10

    Now, this is correct :)

    DX does have a sequel. Guess, what’s it’s name is? O.K., I’ll say it – Deus ex 2 )).

     
  50. Johannes Roth

    December 11, 2009 at 10:07 pm

    Hey guys, I am proud to tell you that Grounded (Download at http://www.spielegestalter.de ) won the second place of the German Developer Award 2009 (Newcomer Category). We uploaded a new English version with English voiceovers and all the important stuff translated… so you might give it a try.

    Greetz
    Johannes

     
  51. Alex D

    December 15, 2009 at 11:39 pm

    Serhij
    Man, I know about DX2. I passed it in 6 hours and I’m fine.
    Are you Russian?

     
  52. Jorpho

    January 12, 2010 at 2:27 am

    Any chance we can get an update on Hyperspace Delivery Boy? If a freeware release is out of the question, there seems to be tons of little indie games on Steam these days.

     
  53. Serhij

    January 12, 2010 at 7:54 am

    Alex D, well, I’m not Russian, but I speak in russian lng :) Why?

    Mr. Hall, can You tell me (us) what was supposed to be in those DX missions that are missing from the game?

    Happy New Year everyone!!!!!!!!

     
  54. Manon

    January 27, 2010 at 11:53 pm

    I remember playing Aztec Temple as a child but could never finish it..is there someplace I can download a copy of the game or at least find a walkthrough so I know what I was missing? LOL..I know it sounds silly, but it still bugs me that I never could finish it…loved the game though!

     
  55. Serhij

    February 10, 2010 at 6:47 am

    Oh no!!! :(((((((((
    http://www.planetanachronox.com is no more………….

     
  56. cassie

    February 15, 2010 at 5:19 pm

    smellage :D larny

     
  57. cassie

    February 15, 2010 at 5:19 pm

    i made up those word u use them or else
    :D 8-) kidding

     
  58. Chris

    May 28, 2010 at 6:35 pm

    Mr. Hall…

    Anachronox is the GREATEST videogame I’ve EVER played. It is perfect in every way. Please, please make another role playing game someday – something with the same humor and depth.

     
  59. tommune

    May 28, 2010 at 6:40 pm

    Aw thanks man!

    I will try. :)

     
  60. Brian

    June 11, 2010 at 3:34 am

    Hey Tom, do you know where I can buy a copy of softdisk #8 (Legend of the Star Axe) I love that game and would love to play the actual disk in my apple iigs.

     
  61. tommune

    June 11, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    Wow, no idea…. some guy was selling it a while ago, but it’s been years.

     
  62. Jorpho

    June 11, 2010 at 10:04 pm

    I was going to suggest downloadstore.com , which for some reason still has a buyable download for Keen Dreams and a lot of other ancient softdisk stuff – whether or not they actually have the _right_ to sell it all is beyond me – but they definitely do not carry IIGS software.

    (Can we please have HDB now before it vanishes forever?)

     
  63. Ilya Chentsov

    July 7, 2010 at 10:01 am

    Hi Tom, how are you? Hope you’re getting better after what happened.

    Last week, I’ve started Dangerous Dave in Haunted Mansion – just to test DOSBox on my netbook – and was instantly hooked. I probably wasn’t very good at the game, so I had to leave the computer for the night to prevent losing my progress. But still haven’t finished it.

    It’s interesting to look at the game now that Doom is out. You can certainly see the design elements which started in DD, like the shotgun with the invisible shot (as opposed to pellet-bullets), the flaming skull enemy, and the allure of showing parts of the level that you haven’t yet visited.

    So, I’m very interested to know how you managed to create such a great game in just two months, and there’s also one peculiar question: everyone calls the knife-throwing enemy “the old lady”, but was it designed as such, or is it actually a hunchback?

    And, about Anachronox: on Democratus, in the snow-covered city the name of which eludes me, the mayor looks like Vladimir Putin and some soldiers have the face of Boris Yeltsin. Is that intentional or am I imagining things.

     
  64. Jym

    July 31, 2010 at 5:06 am

    What would it take for you to get the rights to commander keen? I love commandeer keen and he’s the one i race as most in Modnation racers for ps3.

    you should check it out haha :)

    http://community.modnation.com/en-us/creations/163951

    But seriously what is id’s deal with the commander keen ip? are they just letting it go untouched? are they really just wishing it never happened? are they open to new ideas so that they can finally make some money again?

     
  65. tommune

    August 2, 2010 at 5:20 pm

    Always in the back of my mind, believe me.

    I actually bought Mod Nation Racers yesterday to check that out, since someone replied to me on Twitter about it. :D

    If I can get some kind of deal where I control Keen’s future someday, that would be great. But for now, working on a cool secret project. Enjoying it and that’s the foreseeable future!

    id has plenty of money, or the id guys do, since they were bought by Zenimax. I wish them the best, whether Keen works out or not.

     
  66. ROTT

    October 18, 2010 at 1:37 am

    tom please bring back ROTT
    i love rott and i wish i could play it on windows 7 the way it was in dos, but with a 3d graphics and 3d models, also maps editing should have an option to build floor over floor.
    winrottgl is crap it does not feel the same as the original !!!

    try to bring back rott, it would make a lot of people very happy :)

     
  67. elkdanger

    October 27, 2010 at 9:32 pm

    Hi Tom,

    I don’t have much to say really, but I just wanted to look you up as I’ve just finished reading Masters Of Doom. Reading it brought back many memories of playing Keen and other early ID games, and it’s also been really interesting to find how the timeline you’ve got here relates to what I’ve just read. What you experienced, particularly moving from the Softdisk days and into the ID/Doom era must have been pretty tough, but at the same time almost like a fairytale.

    Any regrets? Do you still keep in touch with Carmack-et-al?

     
  68. network camera

    December 22, 2010 at 10:45 pm

    Great piece of facts that you’ve obtained on this web site publish. Hope I will get some much more of the stuff in your weblog. I will appear again.

     
  69. Kyle Towns

    January 2, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    Playing through Anachronox at the moment. A game I started but never got back to.. until now. Absolutely fantastic. Looking at the games you’ve had a hand in.. everything from Catacombs 3D to Deus Ex..I think you’ve played a part in every one of my favourite games.

    I’d like to ask, however, …chances of Anachronox 2?

     
  70. R.E.B

    January 12, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    Hi there, I was wondering, was there ever a level editor released for Catacomb? At the end of the game there is a mention of it being in “the first issue”. I would also like to know, do you still have all your Dangerous Dave GS stuff and would it be possible to release it? I’m sure that in it’s unfinished state there wouldn’t be much to see but it would be interesting nonetheless to take a look at. :)

    Thanks for your time.

     
  71. tommune

    January 12, 2011 at 10:38 pm

    Don’t think so. We used TED5 to edit maps, which was released with Extreme Rise of the Triad I believe.

    But the released code for Catacombs would have compressed maps likely, so might be troublesome.

    Wow, no idea where the Dangerous Dave GS stuff is or what state it is in. John (Romero) might have some stuff…..

     
  72. R.E.B

    January 13, 2011 at 4:34 am

    Thanks Tom, I find these old games to be very interesting. Was the Catacomb code released? Are you still in possession of any Apple II games you have made?

    Thanks again

     
  73. Matt

    March 7, 2011 at 2:17 am

    Tom, are you doing any voice work on Deus Ex: Human Revolution? Sounds a bit like you in a gameplay trailer and I thought about how cool it would for you to be in this one too. Walton still kinda haunts me….some 10 years later. LOL. By the way, how is everything going post stroke? I hope you are doing great and back to normal, sir.

     
  74. Binxalot

    March 22, 2011 at 11:58 am

    Wow, almost every game from the 90-97 is one I played at some point — waiting to download it from some BBS at 14.4baud heh. Oh those were the days, its cool that you also did work on Area 51, that game was pretty cool with the hidden areas by shooting out the windows. It also was cool because it wasnt cheating you by placing too many enemies on the screen at once so you got shot no matter what. Thanks for making such great games over the years, good luck with your new MMO!

     
  75. tommune

    April 5, 2011 at 2:25 am

    REB: No idea.

    Matt: They asked but it didn’t seem to get actually done… woulda been cool! And thanks!

    Binxalot: Thanks much…!

     
  76. Brian

    April 25, 2011 at 5:58 am

     
  77. Rab

    April 29, 2011 at 1:56 am

    Tom, heard about you through a story related to Anachronox. This probably won’t surprise you and you will probably have heard this enough to make it lose meaning, but that game is my all time favourite (and that’s coming from someone who generally can’t stand RPGs). The game was near perfect, from the art style, characters, voice acting, music/tone, and fantastic juxtaposition of beautifully witty and sarcastic humour and grand fantasy. Most games make overblown boasts about how ‘cinematic’ they are but Anachronox truly felt epic and like a journey by the time you completed it like you’d travelled with this strange band through their trials to all these unique and interesting worlds and were sad to see it end.

    Anyway, it’s a masterpiece and you and every person who contributed should be proud of the incredible outcome of your labour. And you can take that compliment from a hard-to-please geezer who’s never bothered e-mailing a games designer before. Many thanks.

     
  78. Mauricio Battee

    May 31, 2011 at 6:40 am

    Hi there! Quick question that’s totally off topic. Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly? My website looks weird when viewing from my apple iphone. I’m trying to find a template or plugin that might be able to fix this problem. If you have any recommendations, please share. With thanks!

     
    • tommune

      May 31, 2011 at 5:01 pm

      Don’t use flash.

       
  79. Ricardo

    July 18, 2011 at 11:56 am

    Hi Tom

    i’m 31, played keen all my life. Love it. Now my four-year olds hero is… you at the age of 8 ;D. lol

    Keep fightin for those rights!!!!

     
  80. Robert "No. 1 Machop Fan" Whitehill

    July 20, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    Do you know who currently owns the intellectual property rights to Commander Keen? Also, how much would it cost (assuming the old cute face and cup of coffee tricks don’t work) to get the rights back even if you do find out who has them?

     
  81. Jeff Elliott

    July 26, 2011 at 9:00 am

    I am the proud owner of every episode of Commander Keen and I must say to you WHY WAIT?! Get Keen 3d built and ready on a flash drive or something so when the day comes that ID lets Commander Keen have a Duke Nukem Forever moment, it can be released in moments!!! PLEASE! Dont let this fantastic character die!

     
  82. LionessKate

    August 28, 2011 at 1:54 am

    What with the new Deus Ex game I’ve recently been replaying the series again, It’s still my favourite game series and Walton Simons is one of my favourite villains of all time.

     
    • tommune

      August 28, 2011 at 3:40 pm

      Aw thanks!

       
  83. Robert "No. 1 Machop Fan" Whitehill

    August 30, 2011 at 8:39 am

    Are we allowed an insight on what Commander Keen’s The Universe Is Toast trilogy would’ve been like if it went ahead?

    Also, have you heard about the fan-made TUIT trilogy, with “The Keys of Krodacia”, “Dead in the Desert” and “Battle of the Brains”?

     
  84. Burak H

    October 19, 2011 at 10:47 am

    Hello, Tom. Lifelong CK fan here. I was wondering if it would be possible to re-release the GBA version of Hyperspace Delivery Boy via the Nintendo 3DS’ eShop service (which allows users to purchase legacy Gameboy titles). I never had a chance to play this back in the day, and from my understanding, received very little fanfare and was scarcely available. Assuming that you basically own the rights to the game, distribution costs would be virtually nonexistent (plus, you wouldn’t need to reprogram anything), and really, the only substantial fees that would be involved would be to classify the game for whichever territories you’d choose to release the game in (Australian here).

    I know that the likelihood is very low, but I really hope that you’d consider it. =)

     
  85. Dave

    November 5, 2011 at 4:28 am

    Miss Ya Man! -DWolfe

     
  86. Alex

    November 24, 2011 at 2:55 am

    Another comment about Hyperspace Delivery Boy! I played this a while ago and loved it, the game was funny and the puzzles were interesting. Anyways to get it? I really want to play it again

     
  87. Brian

    December 4, 2011 at 7:29 am

     
    • ThatTomHall

      December 4, 2011 at 4:56 pm

      Wow, I haven’t even gotten that far! :D

       
      • Brian

        December 4, 2011 at 6:24 pm

        I lost 2 men on level 195 when those dang 57 chevys start firing like crazy out of nowhere!

         
      • ThatTomHall

        December 5, 2011 at 5:32 am

        I actually made that game cuz all shoot-em-ups have bullets going at crazy angles and I die all the time, so that one had enemy bullets going straight down only, heh.

         
  88. tomhodgins

    December 5, 2011 at 7:36 am

    Hey Tom, I think I’ll just leave this here because this is as good a place as any.

    I’m a graphic designer also named ‘Tom’, and have always been a game lover. A few years ago managed to combine those two loves, by contributing to a popular open-source FPS game when it was just starting. I’ve certainly caught the ‘game-development bug’ from that, so I know we have that shared experience.

    I’m looking back now, trying to recognize the artistry and cleverness in the games I have loved, and understanding the people who made them. I’ve really enjoyed reading this blog, and seeing how human and real you are, instead of just a recurring name in game credits. I’m so honoured that we live in a culture where the technology for me to reach out to your on your personal blog exists – when I was younger I never imagined strangers having this sort of closeness. I just wanted to let you know how much your games have meant to me, and I want you to know that I’m following your blog now so I’ll be looking forward to seeing where you are take video games in the future!

    It’s nice to meet, you and I’ll be keeping an eye on your next move (now I’m curious about this MMO that’s coming).

    Take care!

     
    • ThatTomHall

      December 11, 2011 at 5:49 am

      Aw cool, nice to say hey and glad you enjoyed the games! Doing social games now…. so we’ll see!

       
  89. Robert "No. 1 Machop Fan" Whitehill

    February 26, 2012 at 11:53 pm

    I heard somewhere that if someone doesn’t use their intellectual property rights to something after a certain amount of time (5 years iirc), they lose those rights. Is that true? If so, wouldn’t that mean you’d be able to bring back Commander Keen whenever you want, and recreate the rights as your own for free?

     
  90. ThatTomHall

    February 27, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    I believe that is more about trademarks. If you find anything to the contrary, lemme know.

     
    • Robert "No. 1 Machop Fan" Whitehill

      March 19, 2012 at 4:12 am

      I just double-checked, and it is just trademarks. Intellectual property rights don’t die until about 50 years after the bearer dies, which of course is no use to anyone…

      Now I feel we’re back at square one, especially since Bethesda Softworks never replied to my question when I asked them about it.

      Sorry. :(

       
  91. Peter

    August 26, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    Just found this at the Anachronox page at Wikipedia:

    “Hall remarked in 2010, “If I don’t do the game in the next 10 years, I’ll just write up the rest of the story and put it on my website for closure, how about that?”

    How’s that going ?

    Best,
    Your typical obsessed Anachronox fanboy

     
  92. The RPGenius

    October 21, 2012 at 7:19 am

    Mr. Hall, I purchased and downloaded Anachronox from GOG.com a few weeks ago. It was on sale, and it was an RPG (I kinda have a thing for those…an all-consuming, obsessive thing), and the premise sounded neat. While it did seem to start out slow, I came to really enjoy it. I just finished it tonight, and read on Wikipedia that you still hold out some hope of getting a chance to make a sequel. I’d just like to say that I really, really hope you will do your very best to make that sequel happen; Anachronox is engaging, hilarious, and surprisingly thoughtful. I’ll be satisfied in 8 years’ time with a written version of what was meant to happen, but I do hope that it won’t come to that, and that we’ll some day see Anachronox 2. Here’s hoping. It says a good deal about a game that it can acquire new fans over a decade after its release.

     
  93. Professor KIA

    December 7, 2012 at 8:43 pm

    Hi, Tom.

    They shout, “Give us more Keen!” But is it Keen they want, or is it something just like Keen, by whatever name?

    Why not use the power of the anagram to short-circuit “who owns the rights” questions? Your fans will think it’s really keen.

    Put him in a floor-length brown robe (and red football helmet); make him really good at fixing things, and he becomes Ace Mender, Monk.

    Turn him into a scam artist and he becomes Red Meek, Conman.

    Have him get hit in the head in every game, and call the series Renamed “Conk Me.”

    Or go all backwardsy and call the character Neekred Nammoc.

    John Fogerty has “proved” that you can’t be successfully sued for doing something new in your own inimitable style, right?

    Long Live Welsh Basket!

     
    • ThatTomHall

      December 22, 2012 at 5:35 pm

      Hahahaha that is awesome.

      And you may be right…

      Yea, yea, verily, Long Shall the Welsh Basket Live!

       
  94. JFPope

    December 30, 2012 at 3:45 am

    HI Tom,
    I sincerely hope this isn’t a massive faux pas…
    I know you said id looks un-enthusiastically on fan projects and there has been more than a little discussion with regard to intellectual property law where such endeavors are concerned, and your point about originality is a good one. Having said that, when I was 8 or 9 I was so busy imagining myself as Commander Keen that inventing a character to transcend him seemed like utter Hubris. Many people were able to take CK as a leaping off point into the rest of the gaming world, but (and I’m dead serious) nothing since has ever measured up. Commander Keen remains the standard by which all other games are measured.
    I’ve generally regarded the fan projects with tepid enthusiasm as well. There are some thoroughly composed mods and some thoroughly amateurish fan-games from scratch. They disappear into the shadow of their progenitor– every one of them. This one is different, and while the creator isn’t charging for it, I still hope he isn’t sued. Commander Keen: Heroes Lost is an RPG created in the GCS platform Megazeux. Doesn’t try to compete with it’s predecessors, but rather takes the characters and settings to a totally different place. http://vault.digitalmzx.net/show.php?id=1986 . you have to download Megazeux itself to play, but its right there on the same site, free and for any OS. Totally worth looking at for anyone who begged for a pogo stick for Christmas as a kid or feels a nostalgic pang at the mention of my (and many of our) childhood hero.

    Love your work.

     
  95. oliver franklin

    January 5, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    How do I get hyper space delivery boy I can find it any where

     
  96. zjp

    January 29, 2013 at 6:27 pm

    Going through your list, I noticed Terminal Velocity. I knew about your Softdisk and ID days, but didn’t realize you were in the ROT and TV projects.

    Rocket Jumping in ROT and killing endless hours in TV while I was in the boondocks, the game gave my brothers and I something to do and a way to chase each other around constantly all from the comfort of my computer warmed room.

     
    • zjp

      January 29, 2013 at 6:34 pm

      I guess I really just wanted to say thanks. And Bleep, bleep.

       
  97. Jorpho

    June 26, 2013 at 5:24 pm

    Did you hear Super Fighter Team somehow managed to get the rights to Keen Dreams, and is now (legitimately!) selling an Android verison?

    http://www.superfighter.com/

    I’m hoping that when Atari (nee Infogrames) starts auctioning off franchises next month that somehow Keen 6 will end up in the hands of some interested party, but that’s probably too much to hope for.

    (Still no chance of Hyperspace Delivery Boy materializing on the horizon, is there? It’s been years now.)

     
  98. oliver

    June 26, 2013 at 7:21 pm

    Who owns the rights to hyper space delivery boy

     
  99. Jorpho

    May 23, 2014 at 2:35 pm

    More news on the Keen Dreams front: someone has launched an IndieGoGo campaign to secure the broader digital rights.

    https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/let-s-get-keen-dreams-re-released-legally

     

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