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The Shady Truth About Earthworm Jim Creator Doug TenNapel

Game creators don't always live up to players' expectations, and Earthworm Jim creator Doug TenNapel is certainly no exception. Earthworm Jim is a nostalgic classic for many players and features one of the most powerful characters of all time, but its creator Doug TenNapel has actively distanced himself from much of the gaming community with his personal views and penchant for angrily responding to articles online. 


TenNapel loudly proclaims his beliefs online, which has earned him a lot of dislike from the gaming community. For years, TenNapel wrote extensively for Breitbart, the far-right news site. On Twitter, TenNapel publicly shares his views on politics and art.

He's a Trump supporter who has actively claimed that Trump will still win the 2020 American presidential election. TenNapel's conservative views might be a turnoff for some fans, but it's his habit of lashing out in public online forums that has alienated many of his former followers.

TenNapel's political views

TenNapel found himself under criticism in 2017 after he publicly misgendered Kotaku writer Heather Alexandra, who wrote about Earthworm Jim in a critical light. While the tweet is buried in the sands of time, The AV Club reported that TenNapel said that he was available for a "calm discussion of how wrong and triggered you are." In his article, William Hughes calls TenNapel's response "passive-aggressive" and "predictable," speculating that TenNapel seems to be the type of person who "actively attack[s] people under the guise of 'just telling the truth.'"


James Eldred at Mostly Retro provides a summary TenNapel's alleged transgressions, arguing that "when you support someone's project, you're also supporting what they believe in, whether you like it or not." Eldred goes on to list some of TenNapel's more controversial statements, linking to his Breitbart articles and a now-deleted post from Gay Gamer. In his blog, Eldred asks his readers, "But if you're not a homophobic, sexist bigot and you still want to back Doug TenNapel, I have one question. What the f*ck is wrong with you?" Eldred's blog is one of many calling out TenNapel for his views.

The root of many problems

A large part of TenNapel's infamy comes from a now-deleted response he posted on his webcomic, Ratfist. As TenNapel explains in an interview with Popzara, "In the heat of debate, I was asked why I'm against two men getting married. Once that question is asked, there's no way to answer it without offending the people on one side or the other." TenNapel stays positive throughout the interview, amid criticism from other outlets, stating that he "dignif[ies]" his readers by allowing them to make their own decisions about his work.


In addition to his political statements online, TenNapel has few positive things to say about the gaming industry. Despite working on several video games, TenNapel says that there's no "clout" for character designers in video games and that the game industry discourages the specialization needed to be a designer.

Doug TenNapel is still working, blogging about Earthworm Jim Kickstarter projects that are in development. Unfortunately, TenNapel's comments online have led some fans to discontinue supporting his work. While TenNapel might not have earned the same infamous reputation Phil Fish has, he has certainly left a mark on the gaming and comics industries.