A Keen Time Vampire

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.

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