Wow, 21 years since Keen was released!  I loved making those games. The first games we made for a pure love of gaming.

One tidbit on this anniversary: the “swear word” in the one level of Keen was actually deliberately misspelled!  Just a dumb joke that people who found it would assume what it was, then be wrong at the last letter.  Sort of like the tiles drawn out of the Scrabble bag in Hitchhikers. 🙂  Always knew there was something fundamentally wrong with the universe.

Anyway, happy birthday, dude!


Posted by on December 14, 2011 in Uncategorized


Fun Day with Friends

My wife Terri and I hung out with John Romero and Brenda Garno Brathwaite for lunch, quick visit in Mill Valley, and dinner. Fun time!

For the second pic, Terri said, “Make a funny face!” Apparently John heard her!

A fun day.


Posted by on December 5, 2011 in Uncategorized


Minecraft Tower

So plan to update a bit more often here, ahem.  Been too sporadic!

If you have seen the pic below, or read me on Twitter (@ThatTomHall), you know I love Minecraft.  I restarted a character to change my handle to ThatTomHall, so leveling up slowly….we restarted our server at 1.8, so building up again.

Here’s a lighthouse-ish tower I built with a glowstone beacon and netherrack fires on all side.  I need landmarks or I get horribly lost!

Swamp in the background turned all ugly in 1.0…. have to re-choose my Dokucraft choices to get less brown swamp!

Little tower to left is top of Enchant-O-Tron 5000.


Posted by on December 4, 2011 in Uncategorized


“Creativity is just connecting things.”

“To design something really well you have to get it. You have to really grok what it’s all about. It takes a passionate commitment to thoroughly understand something – chew it up, not just quickly swallow it. Most people don’t take the time to do that. Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask a creative person how they did something, they may feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after awhile. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they’ve had more experiences or have thought more about their experiences than other people have. Unfortunately, that’s too rare a commodity. A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse experiences. They don’t have enough dots to connect, and they end up with very linear solutions, without a broad perspective on the problem. The broader one’s understanding of the human experience, the better designs we will have.”

– Steve Jobs

Bye, Steve. Thanks for all the amazing, life changing innovation.

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Posted by on October 6, 2011 in Uncategorized


Blast from the (Recent) Past

Recently just made a joke about a Notch tweet, which some people took wrong, heh!

But Markus is brilliant and super nice, a great combo. I can’t wait for the Adventure Update (though I have qualms about hunger, and a bit about skill points….)  But it will be amazing nonetheless!  It’s instantly in my top 10 games of all time.

Anyway, here’s me, Notch, and Elin (his beautiful wife) at a GDC Party! (Photo by Hal Bergman)

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Posted by on September 13, 2011 in Uncategorized


Anachronox Homage Video

For Anachronox’s 10th Anniversary, here’s an homage I did to Jake’s opening shot in Rowdy’s bar… in a bar at GDC with some of the Anachronox Team!


Posted by on July 28, 2011 in Uncategorized


Anachronox – Happy 10th Anniversary!

Happy 10th Anniversary to Anachronox! Much love from the Escapist.

Escapist Anachronox article

It’s the 10th Anniversary. Shall I get gifts of Tin, Aluminum or Diamond? We shall see!

Thanks to all the great, heartfelt developers on the team. We deeply cared about the game, the characters. Special should out to Jake Hughes, brilliant director of the cinematics and producer (who weirdly doesn’t get enough credit for groundbreaking work, and Richard Gaubert, amazingly talented writer and designer. Much love to Joey Liaw (PLANET!), Squirrel–er… Brian (APE), Josh, Henrik, Ralph, LeeDot and all the team that stayed to the end and really hit a home run. Great art by Lee, Seneca, Jay, so many folks, (sorry if I forget — I had a stroke! will add if I get reminded) — such fond, fond memories. Really proud of the universe and characters we created. Great job guys…

Will Anachronox 2 ever get made…? Well, you never know…. but for now, make a bowl of popcorn, watch the Anachronox movie, and remember how great it was to leave the Bricks for adventure across the galaxy!


Posted by on July 27, 2011 in Uncategorized


Blast from the Past!

Me and Robert Rodriguez… 1998-ish?!?

Klingon-haired Tom with Robert Rodriguez… I said, for a goofy pic idea: “Let’s throw down gang signs!” Him, proper East Side; me, some kind of trumpet player B.S.

We was really nice. Made me and Romero and Christian tortillas.


Posted by on April 29, 2011 in Uncategorized


Commander Keen on Facebook

If you didn’t know, there’s a pretty active (for 20 years later) Facebook group for Keen fans!

If you don’t check it out, I will attack you in my Tom-Bot!


Posted by on April 14, 2011 in Uncategorized


The Black Square

BTW,  as you may have noticed, I have discovered a Black Square in my office.

I am reporting from there, seeing what will happen in it.

That is all.


Posted by on January 23, 2011 in Uncategorized