American James "Tokay" McGee was born in Dallas, Texas on December 13, 1972. Starting into the world of computer games at the age of 13, his first computer was a "Timex Sinclair 2000"1. A highschool drop-out, McGee's eventual spot at Id Software was essentially a fluke. After a string of jobs in the service industry he moved into the same apartment complex as John Carmack, "{Some friends} were living next door to John Carmack. We met, John eventually offered me a job, and the rest is history."2

His starting position at Id Software was working as tech support alongside Shawn Green, "At the time he and I were answering support calls for DOOM. So from 9 to 5 I would get my head beat in by Shawn in DOOM deathmatch while taking calls from people who couldn't figure out how to get their own heads beat in. At night I started teaching myself map editing."

During his stint as tech support he began learning map editing. His first map evolved into "The Crusher" which was included in DOOM II (see the map list below). McGee cites his time working on DOOM II as his "golden moment" at id Software, "We were a real team working on something that we all wanted to make great. When Michael Abrash came to id I described it to him as Wonderland."

His proficiency at map editing let to an expanded role in the creation of id's next product, Quake. For this title he did more than just level design, but also sound effects and Quake C programming. He also completed some level design for Quake II but soon after the Quake II point release John Carmack posted this .plan3:

American McGee has been let go from Id.

His past contributions include work in three of the all time great games (DOOM 2, Quake, Quake 2), but we were not seeing what we wanted.
The 3D gaming community was shocked. McGee had created some of the most popular Deathmatch levels for internet play in Quake, QuakeWorld, and Tokay's Towers in the Quake II point release. The reasons behind the move are still a mystery. McGee's own words are ambigous at best, "To be really honest ... I don't fully understand it all myself... The simplest explanation is that it was just time. I spent years at id, learned a lot, grew up, and changed. id changed as well. When the moment came it was difficult to be let go, but I'm actually in a better, happier place now. There is nothing in the world that could have taught me what id did. I will always be thankful to John Carmack for giving me the chance to be a part of it all."

After his departure from id Software it was rumored that McGee was going to move into the online gambling industry. In the long run though, McGee came back to doing what he loves doing. According to McGee he wanted to work in one of the big production companies, since he had already worked for a small shop. He ended up with Electronic Arts, one of the long time players in the video game industry.

His first title with EA was American McGee's Alice, which is "a 3rd person adventure/shooter title based on a well known children's story, but with my own demonic twist".

Comprehensive list of maps American McGee created for id Software games:

    For Ultimate Doom
  1. e4m1: Hell Beneath
  2. e4m4: Unruly Evil
  3. For Doom II
  4. map02: Underhalls
  5. map03: The Gantlet
  6. map04: The Focus
  7. map05: The Waste Tunnels
  8. map06: The Crusher
  9. map07: Dead Simple
  10. map14: The Inmost Dens
  11. map22: The Catacombs
  12. idmap01: id Map01 - a Deathmatch only level
  13. For Quake
  14. e1m6: The Door To Chthon
  15. e1m7: The House of Chthon
  16. e1m8: Ziggurat Vertigo
  17. e3m2: The Vaults of Zin
  18. e3m3: The Tomb of Terror
  19. e3m4: Satan's Dark Delight
  20. e3m6: Chambers of Torment (by American McGee and Tim Willits)
  21. e3m7: The Haunted Halls
  22. dm2: Claustrophobopolis
  23. dm4: The Bad Place
  24. dm7: Archophobia
  25. For Quake II
  26. q2dm2: Tokay's Towers
  27. q2dm3: Frag Pipe
  28. q2dm6: The Lava Tomb
  29. q2dm7: Slimy Place

1: The Timex Sinclair 2000 was an unreleased model from 1983. American McGee actually owning one of these seems unlikely given he would have been 11 at the time, unless maybe his dad worked for Sinclair. I would be grateful for any corroborating evidence.

2: Quotes from a Planetquake interview.

3: The Blue's News Archive.

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