The Story of the Dopefish

Tom drew a dumb little drawing for a big, dumb fish for the Well of Wishes level in Keen 4.

Adrian Carmack drew a brilliant version of the Dopefish, then John Carmack, based on Tom’s descriptions, made it chase Keen, eat schoolfish or Keen, and belch after it ate.

Somehow, the Dopefish has become a cult character in the industry to hide in your video game.

Joe Siegler of 3D Realms has compiled a site of all the Dopefish appearances and the history and all that.

Please excuse my “David Copperfield” photo within.

The Dopefish Site


14 responses to “The Story of the Dopefish

  1. The Romero

    December 13, 2008 at 1:10 am

    That is the best photo evar.

  2. Johannes Roth

    February 1, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    Hey Tom,

    I’m a 19 year old GameDesign-Student in Germany. We got a task, to sculpt a character: I modeled the Dopefish with Clay, here are two pictures:

    Greetings and i would love to hear from you 😉

  3. tommune

    February 2, 2009 at 3:16 pm

    Heh, great clay models!

  4. Giuseppe Puglisi

    April 20, 2009 at 2:14 pm

    That clay dopefish looks awesome!!

  5. Johannes Roth

    October 16, 2009 at 8:11 pm

    Now he also made it into a really big newspaper in Germany, especially read often in Bavaria. I gave an interview about studying GameDesign, because still today its something very uncommon in Germany. I couldnt resist to put the clay model in front of me 😉

  6. Thomas

    December 6, 2009 at 5:10 pm

    There is an iPhone game called Pushy and the protagonist of it looks almost exactly like the Dopefish:
    Now you can sue’em a million bucks!! (I demand at least 10%) 🙂

  7. RonSolo

    February 21, 2010 at 6:06 am

    There’s a Dopefish sighting in the game SuperTux (version 0.3.1) at the end of the level “A Mysterious House of Ice”. Great to see the ol fish still hanging around!!! 🙂

  8. s-novak

    July 20, 2010 at 8:17 am

    Good Morning everybody 🙂

    I’m studying Media Technologies in Germany.
    This semester we got a course called 3D Modelling.
    Every student had to make a 12sec 3D animation with
    3ds max from his own model.

    I love the old Commander Keen Games, so i decided to
    choose the Dopefish as my character to animate.

    Here’s the result:

    It’s not perfect anyway, but I never worked with any
    3D modelling application before. I think for the work
    of about 1-2 weeks it’s quite cool 😀 … or as we say
    in Bavaria.. “basst scho”

    • Giuseppe Puglisi

      July 30, 2010 at 4:02 pm

      lol, great job s-novak! 😀

  9. Met

    August 23, 2010 at 9:05 pm

    Keen 4 was one of the best games ever, it and Commander Keen 1 were my first games as a kid, me and my brothers still find ourselves going back to play them every so often. Nostalgia and awesomeness mix well. Who has the rights to keen does anyone know? It would be awesome to see it made for the DS or the such!

  10. Bill

    May 28, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    Dope Fish Lives!

  11. Andy edwardson

    December 19, 2014 at 1:35 am

    I was just about wrapping up wacky wheels, trying to get it out but had this crazy idea that there should be a mode to turn one of the racers into the Dopefish. The fish would just hunt you down. I ran out of time so called Joe Siegler and pitched the idea of a simpler cameo. Basically my claim to fame is that I invented the cameo 🙂

  12. amiresmaieeli

    January 14, 2015 at 10:24 am

  13. Michael Wildt

    March 20, 2015 at 1:15 pm

    Saw this in an old guard tower along the Philosopher’s Way above downtown Heidelberg, Germany just last week.


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