The Legend of Grelminar and Nemesis

This is part of a recent email I got:

I’ve recently been going through the old Catacombs and Dangerous Dave games, and I’m wondering why Commander Keen, Doomguy and Quakeguy never had a run-in with Nemesis the Lich? Seems like that guy is more immortal than Castlevania’s Dracula. Or did he turn out to have a critical weakness to Dangerous Dave’s Shotgun?
— James S.P.

Nemesis was a character from the D&D campaign John Carmack ran in 1991 and earlier – Nemesis was a player character created and played by one of Carmack’s friends from Kansas City, Izzy. Since Nemesis belonged to that campaign you would think we would include him in Quake. Well, since Quake doesn’t really represent that D&D campaign very well we decided Nemesis wasn’t a good fit. There are at least 100 characters we knew about in that campaign and we used several names from it.

I put one of the NPC names into Hexen – "Delmintalitar". I named the Time Bomb of the Ancients after him (yes, I created all the names for most everything in Heretic & Hexen, too).

Also, “Nemesis the Lich” is an error. Here are examples of the character mixups on the net:

Internet archive:


In the first sentence you can see the names of Grelminar and Nemesis are reversed. MobyGames is correct. Nemesis is a guy and Grelminar is the Lich. Grelminar was also from the D&D campaign but as an NPC Lich.


The name Grelminar was also part of the name of John Carmack's game, Dark Designs 1: Grelminar's Staff.

The name Nemesis was used in Dangerous Dave in the Haunted Mansion (final boss) as well,

John Carmack's game Catacomb used Petton Everhail as the player's name. Petton was part of John's D&D universe, too.

Quake 1's Player Speed

I've been playing some Quake lately. Our lead programmer was a top-ranked Quaker back in the day and it's a blast playing deathmatch 1-on-1 with him. I did a twitter poll recently asking people which game they'd like to see trivia about and Quake won this time.

DOOM had such a fast player speed. It's still so much fun deathmatching in DOOM with that speed. Quake was way slower than DOOM, and I'm sure people wondered why. So this time I'm going to explain how Quake 1 got its player speed.

Doomguy's Identity – Revealed!

It was going to happen sometime. Recently on Twitter I ran a poll asking people what game they'd like to see a piece of trivia about. I had Wolf, DOOM, Keen, and Quake listed. DOOM won handily with 40% of the votes.

I thought about all the trivia that I know about DOOM. I thought,"Hmmm – I wonder if people know who the Doomguy is modeled after? On the cover of the box." Well, I decided to reveal how the cover composition process happened one day in 1993. Click the button and let it be known!

Nasir Gebelli Interview on YouTube

I just uploaded the interview that I did with Nasir Gebelli in 1998 at my company, Ion Storm, during an Apple II Reunion that I hosted. There's a lot of great information about his history in the industry and how he got started.

Nasir wrote games entirely in assembly language and did not save source code. He didn't even have a printer to look at his code! He wrote all his NES games on an Apple II and cross-developed them to the NES hardware. Even the SNES game, Secret of Mana, was coded on an Apple II, in 65816 assembly with no source.

I've been talking to Nasir recently about doing an in-depth interview. If you have any particular questions you'd like answered, please put them in the comments or email me at john at romero dot com.