Let's play Commander Keen

Since @elefas made a pre-built version of Jazz Jackrabbit, I decided to do so for Commander Keen! Using Commander Genius it is now possible to play all official and unofficial Keen games natively on the GameShell!

4-keen4main 2-keen1 3-keen1options 5-keen4


Very nice, thanks for that. Keen was on my list as one of my must-play games to get working.

Where can I purchase Commander Keen games? Would the Steam version work for this? Steam usually has DRM…

You can either purchase:

Aliens Ate My Babysitter (6) is not available for purchase. However, some websites mark Commander Keen games as abandonware. :slight_smile:

Yes, I bought the Commander Keen Complete Pack. It installs these five ‘base’ directories:

[~/.steam/steam/steamapps/common]$ tree -d 'Commander Keen/'
Commander Keen/
├── base1
│   ├── capture
│   └── zmbv
├── base2
│   ├── capture
│   └── zmbv
├── base3
│   ├── capture
│   └── zmbv
├── base4
│   ├── capture
│   └── zmbv
└── base5
    ├── capture
    └── zmbv

So I:

  1. put each base directory in /home/cpi/games/CommanderGenius/ .
  2. renamed each base to keen (including the number at the end).
  3. removed the capture and zmbv subdirectories.
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Apparently Commander Genius does not like to be booted without internet (in this case Wi-Fi). It warns about a missing gameCatalogue.xml. You can boot Commander Genius again in Wi-Fi to fix gameCatalogue.xml for now.

However, the games are perfectly playable without internet.

Awesome work. How to configure Commander Genius to use only GameShell controls?

Works like a charm, really nice to play commander keen again :smiley:

What do you mean? You can configure controls in-game, by going to options>controls>player 1.

I know. I wasn’t able to enter the actual levels. I can walk around in the map, but “stuck” when I want to get into a level. I thought that I need to configure the keys differently.

The “jump” key will enter levels (at least for me)

What’s the jump key on the GameShell?

Whatever YOU mapped it to in the options…

The “jump” key is in-game under “Buttons”. Not under “Movement”!

Configure --> Controls --> Player 1 --> Buttons --> Jump

Let me rephrase my question. Can you share how you configured each key? The mapping between Keen’s controls and GameShell’s buttons.

When you’re inside the game (which you can do using the direction keys and the Start key), you can press the Menu key to open the game menu. There you’ll have to navigate the following menus:

Configure --> Controls --> Player 1 --> Buttons

There you’ll find all the keys. Select each one using directional pad and the Start key. Then press the key on the gameshell that you want for that specific action.

I purchase the complete packages from steam and did this very thing but it loads a black screen then goes right back to the menu which is exactly what is happening with Duke Nukem 3d… When the base folders are renamed to keen obviously keen goes before the numbers because you can’t have a folder with the same name! Maybe I wrote the launch script wrong but I never had a .CommanderGenius directory.


The directory is in the zip. You can verify this by downloading and opening the zip on your computer right now.

So if you download this zip to your GameShell through wget and unzip it, it must have extracted .CommanderGenius !

You don’t “write” the script yourself, but the echo command writes the script for you! If you want to write the script CommanderGenius.sh yourself the contents of the script are simply:


This happens when the script cannot run the program or the program has issues. First debug your script by running it through your SSH session:

$ /home/cpi/apps/launcher/Menu/GameShell/CommanderGenius.sh

and show us the output of this command!

When I try to load the CommanderGenius.sh is says there is no such file even though it is in the GameShell Folder!


“/home/cpi/games/CommanderGenius/CommanderGenius” this might be the issue I only have one CommanderGenius Folder in the games directory! I am going to try it and see where I get