Game over for Duke Nukem maker

A pioneer video game company that produced the classics Duke Nukem, Wolfenstein and Commander Keen series is no more.

Late Wednesday night, Joe Siegler, webmaster for 3D Realms, a subsidiary of Apogee Software, confirmed the rumours circulating the internet that the company had run out of money and laid off all its employees.

"It's not a marketing thing. It's true," he wrote on the company's message board in response to a thread titled "Rumors of 3DRealms being no more..."

The posting came 12 years after 3D Realms announced it would be coming out with a new Duke Nukem sequel, Duke Nukem Forever, which has still not shipped.

Siegler's posting also happened to come less than two days after he wrote a note on the Garland, Texas-based company's website celebrating the 17th birthday of Wolfenstein 3D.

Released on May 5, 1992 Tuesday as PC shareware, Wolfenstein 3D was one of the first popular first-person shooters – a genre that exploded over the next decade and almost two, generating many platoons' worth of violent games for many platforms.

At the time, Apogee (the company's original name) had already earned some popularity for Commander Keen, released in 1990 and Duke Nukem, released in 1991. All three titles went on to spawn numerous sequels and add-ons, some of which consumed many hours of my youth.

Starting the mid 90s, Apogee began releasing all its games under the 3D Realms banner, starting with Terminal Velocity and Duken Nukem 3D.

Ah, those were the days. But they're over now.