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.

Latest Update & DOOM Post-Mortem

Wow, it's been a long time since I wrote anything here... thank you very much, Facebook. Most of my updates happen over there, but not really anything important or game history-related. I use Twitter as well, but don't do much. I'm just very busy running my game company, Loot Drop, and forgetting to update my site.

At GDC 2011, Tom Hall and I did a DOOM Post-Mortem, which basically talked about the complete development of DOOM in a month-by-month format. You can watch the video and the slides right here.

Tom Hall has been working with me and Brenda at Loot Drop for an entire year, and it's been a blast! He's been designing and running his own game team, and his game is turning out great. Brenda is busy with her own game, designing and running her team (the game is COOL!), and I've been working on keeping the company running smoothly. My game, Cloudforest Expedition, is on a temporary hiatus.

Subnodule Gone Live

The box cover for Subnodule, renamed in this collection as Sub Hunt.

I spent some time last weekend and created the entry for my game, Subnodule. I've received some emails recently asking me about more information concerning its development. The resulting article is a template for how I plan to address each of my games - there are lots of links, music, pictures, and as much recollection about the game's development as I could dredge up.

The Games link at the top of my pages will take you to the list of games with which I'm credited. There are other game links there you should check out as well.

A Second Look: A New Series

Upcoming - "A Second Look" is a new series of posts that offers perspectives on a range of media which has, for one reason or another, caused me to take a second look. Expect a variety of topics to be covered. My second look might be because the game illustrates top form in some way. It could be something that perplexed me. It might be a musician that I find myself going back to again and again.

I hope you enjoy it.

Happy Birthday, Games!

Some of you may have noticed i've been a little lax in my birthday announcements this month. There's just so many of them i figure i'll do one for all of 'em unless i get feedback to the contrary. Also, i want to save up the really juicy stuff for the revamp of this site that will present everything in story form. Check out Tom Hall's site as he linked an article today in The Escapist about Commander Keen.

Mortimer McMire's Mangling Machine!

Here are the birthdays:
10th - DOOM
14th - Commander Keen 1-3
15th - Commander Keen 4-5
23rd - Hyperspace Delivery Boy & Heretic (two 'H' games on the same day!)

In case you were wondering about the screenshot, it was referencing a future Keen game we planned on making: Keen 7 - The Universe is Toast! But we started working immediately on Wolfenstein 3D and........the rest is history.