As a kid, I never had a Nintendo. My parents are thrifty. To them, computers should be for doing work, so we had a home PC. But dedicated gaming consoles? Not so much. Eventually they did give in, but Nintendo’s were higher than the Atari 2600. If they were going to “waste” money on a game console, it was going to be as little as possible. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the Atari (viva Ms. Pacman!), but I felt left out of the side-scroll adventure world of Super Mario.
Then came a substitute–something similar, but, honestly, cooler, for the home PC: Commander Keen.
It had the same side-scroll action as Super Mario, but it was different–and I liked different. A kid in a Bean & Bacon Mega rocket, crash landed on a planet, battling with wolfmen and toothy-green aliens armed only with a blaster and pogo-stick.
Hours of my life were poured into this game. My brother and I even managed to find the “secret” level.
And now, far more years having passed than I like to admit, I found out that some clever souls have put Commander Keen online. Apparently it’s sans sound, but already I’ve wasted several hours of pleasant frustration as I try to get my fingers to replicate the old moves. I still haven’t found my pogo-stick and I’m getting zapped by the clammy things too often for comfort, but it’s worth it.