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Keen turns 10

id Software's first game marks its tenth anniversary

Before Quake, before Doom, before even Wolfenstein 3D, id Software made their name with a series of cute platform games starring a kid called Billy Blaze, aka "Commander Keen". Wearing his brother's football helmet, he took on the evil Mortimer McMire and other galactic villains with nothing but a zap gun and a pogo stick. Although the games look incredibly dated by today's standards, back in 1990 they were little short of groundbreaking, bringing smoothly scrolling platform games of the kind seen on Nintendo consoles to the PC for the first time.

The first episode of the Commander Keen series, "Invasion of the Vorticons", was released on December 14th 1990, and to celebrate its tenth anniversary publisher Apogee (parent company of "Duke Nukem" creators 3D Realms) have posted an article taking a look back at the Keen series and the early days of id Software. It's fascinating stuff, and well worth a look whether you're old enough to remember Keen or just want to see where the developers behind Quake 3 Arena got started.

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