Publisher: 3D Realms (Apogee)
Developer: Id Software
Played on: DOSBox, keyboard
Commander Keen was an early effort by the now-famous Id Software, famous for Quake and Doom that is essentially a scrolling platformer, something that was not really seen on the IBM PC in those days but were basically ubiquitous on consoles with such games as Super Mario Bros.. Keen was an attempt to replicate those kinds of games on the PC, and of course, they knocked it out of the park.
Commander Keen is about the adventures of an eight year old kid named Billy Blaze and his alter ego, the titular Commander Keen as he blasts his way through waves of alien bad guys. It may of course seem very much a primitive game these days, but back then, it was a very fun and enjoyable romp through a platformer game not really experienced outside of Nintendo and Sega’s gaming juggernauts. And it really does hold up pretty well today. It was a perfect starting point for the wide expansion of PC gaming, as well as the achievements of the developers and designers of Id Software (John Carmack and John Romero, primarily).