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Game Zone: Dave Gnukem 1.0

by Alessandro Ebersol (Agent Smith)

Duke Nukem, the father of Dave Gnukem

Who doesn't remember the classic 1991 Apogee Software game that brought the hero Duke Nukem to the world? Yes, Duke Nukem started out as a 2D platform game.

Duke Nukem 1 was a famous original 16-color 320x200 'classic' game released by Apogee Software in 1991 that launched the Duke Nukem series. The original Duke Nukem 1 was created by Todd Replogle (co-creator of the Duke Nukem series), John Carmack (of id Software), Scott Miller (founder of 3D Realms), Allen H. Blum III, George Broussard, and Jim Norwood.

The game is set in 1997. Dr. Proton, a mad scientist, determined to take over the world with his army of Techbots.

Duke Nukem must then go through various stages, always looking for items to be able to unlock the exit of the stages, and go to the next stage.

In addition to points, some collectibles include health powerups, weapon powerups, and some inventory items with special abilities. The final level of each episode has no exit, and instead is completed by discovering and defeating Dr. Proton.

In 1995, Flux magazine ranked the game 39th on its list of the 100 best videogames: "Without a doubt, the best platform game for the pc ever created.”

Enter Dave Gnukem!

Since Duke Nukem was such a beloved title by fans, there was a cooperative effort to bring it back to life.

The project was originally created and maintained by David Joffe (~1994 to 2004, and, from October 2016 to the present). It was maintained by EMH (Evil Mr Henry from 2004 to 2008. Additional contributions came from T.O.G., Vytautas Shaltenis, Kent Mein, Steve Merrifield, Felix Richter, Kevin Joffe. Matteo Bini and Craig Langman.

As of October 8, 2016, this project is again in active development, and on April 3, 2018, version 1.0 was released.

Game Plot

The year is $CURRENTYEAR+8. An evil genius, Dr. Proetton, has been hired by the CIA to infect the world's computers with a virus called SystemD, paralyzing them. Only you can stop him. You must find the diskette with Devuan Antivirus on it, and install it on the main computer, which is hidden in Vault7.

Any resemblance to real persons or entities is purely coincidental.

Actually Dave Gnukem could also be equipped with PCLinuxOS ISO's, which are also effective against SystemD infection.


The game is a clone/remake/homage to the original Duke Nukem, and is very close to the original.

In fact, the nostalgia is strong with Dave Gnukem, to the point of having video modes, which mimic the original EGA and CGA video.


Default keys:

  • Left/Right:   Move left/right

  • Ctrl:   Jump

  • Alt:   Shoot

  • Up arrow:   Action key (e.g. open doors, use teleporters or elevators, activate exit, etc.)

  • Escape:   In-game menu

  • 7/6:   Increase/decrease volume

  • Insert:   Turn sounds on/off

  • Shift+F6/F7:   Speed +/- (framerate)

  • Shift+F8/F9:   Turn on/off map and sprite auto-shadows respectively

  • F10   Save screenshot
    • To open doors, find the correct colored key and press the action key on the ''lock'' next to the door(s).

      Power boots allow you to jump higher. The special molecule collection gives you full health.


      Well, to write this article, I installed and played it, and it was very good. The game is spot-on in nostalgia, and brings the old Duke Nukem to the present day and to today's hardware.

      One down side was the lack of joystick support, but it can be circumvented with Antimicro (joy-to-key emulator).

      Other than that, it is an excellent game and a great pastime.

      How To Install

      To install, you must first have Flatpak installed.

      Then open a terminal and type:

      Then flatpak will work and download all the game dependencies.

      To play, in a terminal type: flatpak run com.djoffe.gnukem

      I am not a big fan of flatpak packages. In this case, a simple game like this, that in the worst case would take 22 MB of disk space. However, with all flatpak dependencies installed, it took 557 MB's of disk space, which for a simple game, is too high.

      But, it is a fun game and a good time killer.

      I hope you enjoyed it (I enjoyed trying Dave Gnukem), a big hug and see you in the next article.

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