Go back to Commander Keen in Keen Dreams

Written by: Stoo

Date posted: August 7, 2020

It’s always been relatively easy to buy a copy of Keens one through to five. They were available from Apogee/3D Realms for many years, and later iD published them directly through Steam. Games one and four were shareware anyway.

Keen Dreams however has been a lot harder to find. It appeared on one or two compilations in the 90s, and after that Softdisk went under or got bought out, I’m not sure of the details (because you’re too lazy to research properly – Ed). For many years, only abandonware sites were keeping it alive. This added a little mystique to a game that was already more obscure than its Apogee-published brothers, and it gained the nickname, “The Lost Keen”.

In 2015 it emerged from the wilderness. An independent developer going under the title of Hard Disk Publishing had acquired the rights financed partially by a crowdfunding campaign. He proceeded to release it on Steam. Good news, surely? Guy does retro gamers a favour, brings the lost keen to digital distribution?

Yet from here the story takes a weird turn, involving some disturbing behaviour from the Hard Disk guy. He was extremely hostile to negative reviews of his games, posted hate speech and to cap it all off insulted Valve overlord Gabe Newell. Unsurprisingly, he was booted from Steam and his games were removed from the store (although still accessible to those who had already bought them). It’s sad that this little piece of iD’s history was caught up in such an unpleasant situation.

Later in 2017 Keen Dreams was restored to Steam. It had been rescued by Night Dive Studios, those champions of lost and abandoned games. However, as of 2019, it had disappeared again. This time, I can’t find any reason why. So the Lost Keen is Lost again. Hopefully, Night Dive will deal with whatever issue is holding them back. For now, you could find a copy at myabandonware.com