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For the DJ, see DJ Dopefish.
Commander Keen character
First game Commander Keen IV
Created by Tom Hall
Designed by Tom Hall

The Dopefish is a fictional fish that originated in the fourth Commander Keen video game, Secret of the Oracle, released in 1991. The character has since evolved into a PC game industry in-joke, making appearances in games from Apogee's 1994 Wacky Wheels as well as titles as recent as the 2006 SiN Episodes: Emergence and 2007 Chili Con Carnage and more recently including 2011's Deus Ex: Human Revolution and 2012 Natural Selection 2.

Physically, the Dopefish is a large green fish, with buck teeth. It is described in Keen 4 as "the second-dumbest creature in the universe" (a reference to the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, the dumbest) with thought patterns that go "swim swim hungry, swim swim hungry". The game also mentioned that they would "eat anything alive and moving near them, though they prefer heroes". Whenever it does eat something, it turns to face the viewer and belches. id Software's Tom Hall later gave it its fake scientific name: Piscis swimeatus.

In October 1995, Joe Siegler of 3D Realms launched the[1] web site as an archive of all things Dopefish-related. Siegler reportedly maintained on company time while working for 3D Realms. Since launching, the site has inspired a variety of artwork and merchandise based on the character.,[2] including ASCII art, stuffed toys, and mugs.

Tom Hall first conceived of the Dopefish as one of 24 potential characters for Keen 4. In his words, "I just drew this stupid little fish". In the game, the Dopefish appears in one level, The Well of Wishes. In this level, the player must avoid being eaten by the Dopefish, along with other hazards, in an attempt to rescue a Council Member. The music for the level, titled Eat Your Veggies and originally composed by Bobby Prince for use in Keen Dreams, is also commonly associated with the Dopefish and has inspired some spin-off compositions including Fish Polka[3] and Dope Jaws by former 3D Realms Music and Sound Director Lee Jackson.

The Dopefish in video games[edit]


Appearances are given in chronological order, and do not include fan-made add-ons. The Dopefish takes various forms from images to actual fish. It is often hidden and hard to find, and accompanied by the words "Dopefish lives!"[1]

  • SiN Episodes: Emergence (2006), numerous instances in secret areas
  • Alien Shooter: Vengeance (2007), can be found on mission 12 near the end in a secret underground room
  • Chili Con Carnage (2007), the marble fountain halfway through "Nice Biceps" is shaped like four Dopefish
  • TAGAP: The Apocalyptic Game About Penguins (2007), miniature versions of the fish can be found swimming in Antarctic waters
  • Sven Co-op (1999–2011), appears in a locker in the level "Extended", and in a fish-tank in the level "Incoming"
  • Dystopia (2007), appears in the Silo level
  • Fortress Forever (2007), appearing very briefly in a trailer
  • OFF (2007),A fish believed to be Dopefish makes a cameo appearance jumping out of the liquid plastic at the Metal Farmsteads of Pentel (Zone 1). It has no further significance to the game.
  • Voxelstein 3D (2008), appears in the center of a toilet bowl
  • Jailbreak Source (2008), appears in two of the levels, Metropolis and Woodneck.
  • Escaped From The Underdark: Archipelago (2009) appears in a new fishing implementation.
  • Flash-DooM 2D (2009) appears in the secret level together with Tom Hall and all the other ID employees from 1993.
  • Charlie Brooker's Gameswipe (2009) (TV show) appears as graffiti in an unnamed game where the aim is to push Myleene Klass in a canal.
  • Killing Floor (2009) can be found in a room near a Trader location on the map Mountain Pass.
  • Warsow (2005–2009) can be found inside quad damage power-up.
  • Rocketbirds (2009) appears on the wall outside Keen, Inc in Subway level.
  • Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning (2008), can be found in the lower left rock wall on the Troll Country Scenario map. (upside down disguised as a rock)
  • Alan Wake (2010), as a fishing guide poster inside a book-shop. Additionally the marks on some containers say "DPFSH LVS" (which stands for "Dopefish Lives").
  • Super QuickHook (2010), at the end of the credits "level".
  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution (2011), appears as graffiti in a Detroit alleyway. When doing the mission "Cloak & Daggers", you can find it on the left-hand wall next to graffiti where the weapons cache is located.
  • RAGE (2011), easter egg, appears in the Re-Run of Mutant Bash TV.
  • Death Rally (2011), as a poster in the garage in the iOS version. NOTE: The poster is exactly the same one as in Max Payne & Alan Wake.
  • ravenwood fair (2011), fish's stand appear
  • Black Mesa (video game) (2012), found drawn on the corner of a whiteboard during the "Questionable Ethics" chapter.
  • Natural Selection 2 (2012), found inside a crate on NS2_Docking.
  • Rise of the Triad (2013 video game) (2013), found in multiplayer, on the map Mercury Temple.[5]
  • The Dead Linger (2013)
  • X-Moto (2013), in the level "Shmolagin - 30 Seconds of Speed", there is a ring that teleports you to a secret area that has another teleporter. Touching the second teleporter puts you next to a dopefish.
  • Tower of Guns (2014), in the final level, right before entering the boss room, in the second hallway, there's a dopefish to the right of the door.
  • The Sims 4 (2014), as one of the art pieces that Sims can paint.
  • Project Smallbot (2015), some clouds in the background for level 2's mini level are shaped like dopefish.

Although for a short period of time a rumor[citation needed] circulated the fish-shaped object[6] found in a Doom 3 pentagram was intended to be a Dopefish, in fact, when asked by a fan, id Software confirmed this was not the case.[7]


Although the Dopefish does not actually appear in these games, there is text mentioning him somewhere.[1]

  • Rise of the Triad (1994)
  • Terminal Velocity (1995), mentioned in the technical help as a command line parameter that "doesn't do anything"
  • Duke Nukem 3D (1996), a hidden "Dopefish lives" graffiti in episode 1's last level
  • Shadow Warrior (1997), mentioned by Lo Wang in some audio recordings not used in the game
  • Jazz Jackrabbit 2 (1998), a message "Spaz ate the Dopefish" appears in a secret area in Diamondus
  • Return to Castle Wolfenstein (2001), built into the architecture of an unseen part of the multiplayer map "Das Boot."
  • Chip's Challenge Level Pack 2 (2002), has a level called Use The Fish with a hint that says "Translate anything not initially ice or water from SGA." Doing this gives the message "DOPE FISH LIVES".
  • Devastation (2003), contains a cheat code named after the Dopefish. It gives the player all weapons, activates god mode, and gives money.[8]
  • Dead Rising 2 (2010), included on the behind-counter menu of Bennie Jack's BBQ Shack.
  • Interplanetary (2014), a message "The fiends are no more. Dopefish lives" is shown on the victory screen in intergalactic alphabet.
  • Perrsobna (2014), Dopefish has a trading card only 25 of the 'dopefish' card, also can be found in Lvl 1,Lvl 2,and Lvl 3 trading card packs.


  1. ^ a b c "The Official Dopefish Home Page". 2012-03-04. Retrieved 2013-08-12. 
  2. ^ "The Apogee FAQ: Section [2.2]: The Dopefish". Retrieved 2013-08-12. 
  3. ^ Fish Polka from Rise of the Triad,
  4. ^ "TropicalFish Dope1 on". Retrieved 2013-08-12. 
  5. ^ "DOPEFISH LIVES – RISE OF THE TRIADS 2013". 2013-08-01. Retrieved 2013-08-12. 
  6. ^ "Fish-shaped object in Doom 3". Retrieved 2013-08-12. 
  7. ^ "Joe Siegler's post on Doom 3 Dopefish". Retrieved 2013-08-12. 
  8. ^ Devastation Cheats ActionTrip

External links[edit]