From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
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,[1] 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.


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[2] and Dope Jaws by former 3D Realms Music and Sound Director Lee Jackson.

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 web site as an archive of all things Dopefish-related. Since launching, the site has inspired a variety of artwork and merchandise based on the character.[3]


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!"


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

  • 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.[6]
  • 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.
  • Postal 2: Paradise Lost (2015), graffiti within the sewers near the Al Qaeda base reads "Dopefish Lives"


  1. ^ Gestalt (4 November 1999). "Tom Hall of Ion Storm". Eurogamer. Retrieved 4 June 2015. 
  2. ^ Fish Polka from Rise of the Triad,
  3. ^ "The Apogee FAQ: Section [2.2]: The Dopefish". Retrieved 2013-08-12. 
  4. ^ "TropicalFish Dope1 on". Retrieved 2013-08-12. 
  5. ^ "DOPEFISH LIVES – RISE OF THE TRIADS 2013". 2013-08-01. Retrieved 2013-08-12. 
  6. ^ Devastation Cheats ActionTrip

External links[edit]