When we approached 3D Realms for comment on the Mansion Mutants Massacre and the Keen Three manhunt, they became very unhelpful.
"Go away. We are in no way associated with Commander Keen or Billy Blaze.
Although we do distribute the Commander Keen PC games, they were created by id Software, which no longer exists.
You will not find anything here that you are looking for."
"You cannot come back here. This is a restricted area. So now you will be leaving."
"Go away. We're, like, closed or something."
Something seemed to indicate that some of these guys were a few inchworms short of a foot.
We left quickly.
Even though Billy Blaze was dead, the legend of Commander Keen survived.
The Vorticons and Galaxy titles were still being sold, but were more of collectors' items that playable software; most newer computers at this time were too advanced to run the classic Commander Keen games in their state-of-the-art operating systems.
It was as if the world was at last forgetting Keen. And it was the realization of this fact that initiated Commander Keen into the hall of fame of the minority cult.
Along with the likes of Elvis Presely, Alfred Hitchcock and Classic Star Trek, Commander Keen had risen to a place in the world of alternative pop culture.
Commander Keen would live on, at sci-fi conventions and in the mythos of computer programmers worldwide.
Even today, the world is never short of Commander Keen impersonators.
Many people still believe that Billy Blaze is alive; 72 sightings of Billy Blaze, with his traditional Commander Keen uniform and pogo stick, were made in 2001 in the state of Texas alone.
But although Billy Blaze died outside his own secret hideout on December 16, 2000, his alter ego still had an extra life up his purple sleeve...