The gaming industry is a fickle creature, with good games taking forever to be released and quickly forgotten in favor of what’s next. In most respects, a game would be canceled, but in the case of Duke Nukem Forever, we DID see the results, and it wasn’t pretty.
Well… to most people. Chris Taylor as always disagrees, and attempts to bring the positive aspects to light.
Hello ladies and Gentlemen! My name is Chris Taylor, and I am the Advocate of the Devil!
I’m not much of a fan of shooting games. It could be the point of view, could be I’m not much of a fan of guns… or I could be honest and just admit that my aim sucks. Seriously, that’s the reason why I hardly ever play shooting games.
BUT, for every rule, there are exceptions. I certainly enjoy the simple, shareware MS DOS games a whole bunch, the Wolfenstein’s, the DOOM’s… I’m a Retro Gamer.
And that’s why I love me some 90’s style over the top cheeseball goodness that springs from Duke Nukem. When they were first released, I was young, and my family… they decided it wasn’t material that I should be watching. And rightfully so, I was an impressionable child!
But I’m an adult now, and relics of the past are my treasures of the present! I mean, that is why they call it the present, right?
Alas, my heroes don’t look quite so heroic anymore. The ReBoot reboot looks terrible, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were almost aliens instead of mutants, and The Duke… well, he’s seemingly fallen from his throne! Hail to the King Baby… Long Live Duke…..
…. Buuuuuuuuut here’s the thing: I don’t wear rose tinted nostalgia glasses. I don’t wear ANY glasses, but I still found a way to defend the much reviled Duke Nukem Forever!
… But I probably need glasses, my vision is not what it once was.
I grew up in an age right as the Internet was taking hold as a necessity in the lives of every warm blooded North American. A time of rumors, of Blockbuster Video, and of video game magazines! One for each of the major video game companies, tens of different outside sources that catered to not one, but ALL games.
Some could say… that I never grew up. And I would agree.
OTHERS would say that I had fallen behind in the times! I say that the times are stupid. I ALSO say that this pre-internet “I’m still literate” stage of my life has given me a leg up, an advantage over many: My memory lasts longer than five minutes and a click of the Next button!
Which basically means, while Duke Nukem Forever was finally saved from the ashes of a company that went under and was never going to release it, I remember seeing a slew of games journalists and their articles ABOUT it.
About how The Duke had returned! How this was everything that we were hoping for, and more! And the people writing those articles were excited about the prospect of seeing Duke Nukem’s triumphant return!
Then the reviews came out… and it wasn’t good.
But I look at the gaming industry, both now AND back when this game was released. And I see an industry that, when an error is brought to their attention, refuses to take responsibility for their own actions and instead makes an effort to save their own asses.
Here’s my theory. Most of those initial articles were written by Men. Men who have girlfriends, wives, maybe even daughters, who could potentially see the character of Duke Nukem as a misogynistic, poorly written, highly offensive character and who probably thought to themselves “I can’t make it look like I agree with this, or even like it’s fun”. And then those very same people write reviews pointing out all the negatives.
Am I right? I have no idea! Let me know in the comments below, eh?
But hey, the name of the game… err… show, is the Devil’s Advocate. And I have an actual point in the games favor, not just against those that have talked about this topic beforehand, and that is… the game itself is average! Not great, not wretched, average!
Especially in the DLC ridden, Loot Box throat shoving, Pre-Order culture that is First Person Shooters of today!
Duke Nukem Forever was created during a time when game’s developers were looking less to make great games, and yes, that shows. But it was still before the “Games as a Service, Gamers will buy anything” mindset of present day games companies.
The levels gradually worked their way down to the brown and grey color scale that basically WAS the last generation, but it had one thing that separated it from the rest… well two, but the second is actually my last point so we’re going to focus on one here.
It had a character! A cartoon, 90’s action hero ala Arnold Schwarzenegger or Jonny Bravo. The problem with the game (and it’s Decade and a half development time) is that it couldn’t focus on what it wanted to do: Be true to it’s old self, or do what every other FPS of it’s time did and follow Call of Duty.
Instead, the game is torn into two directions instead of focusing on one, and while there were times when the sheer cheeseball nature of the character had a chance to shine through, the developers (in my estimation) couldn’t decide whether or not to stick WITH that, or move in a more traditional direction.
It’s why I think the game actually could have used another year in the making! Not to keep us all waiting still, we had already waited! But to run it past the edit one more time, streamline what worked, hack off what didn’t.
But I’d be lying if I said that wasn’t the only issue, and yes, the time it took to even GET released was another. And not for the reason you may be thinking.
The true reason why Duke Nukem Forever didn’t work as a game, is the same reason why a LOT of things don’t work anymore… US! The HYPE machine surrounding this was unprecedented.
Think about it, how many games can you think of in our lifetime get showcased for long periods of time, and then just flat out goes dark.
… Very good! Now how many of those games have ACTUALLY been released? *picture of Duke Nukem Forever* Exactly ONE! This is something that has never happened before, and will probably never happen again!
But our expectations of what it COULD have been, regardless of its actual release, is what fueled a lot of us into our initial purchases! We WANTED this game to be good, to be worth something!
Nostalgia is a big seller nowadays, and even back then we got things like the Virtual Console, and collections of retro games being released on that Gen of systems. But outside of a few … screw it, it’s really only Mario and Nintendo that really have characters that keep coming back to anything resembling success.
And that sucks! I remember Spyro before he was an action figure in a Diablo clone game! I remember Crash Bandicoot before he was owned by Activision! Gex the smartass Gecko, and Croc Legend of the Underrated Mascot platformer.
… I think I may have been mistaken about the Nostalgia Glasses thing.
The point is, after a certain point, maybe it’s a better idea to let these games just… not get released! It won’t be nearly as good as what we imagine it COULD be, and with so much time, so many other improvements to gaming stylings, would the game ever possibly manage to be what we made it out to be in our own heads?
Sadly… I don’t think so.
Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary I do hope I managed to shed some light into the positive aspects of Duke Nukem Forever. Whether it be in how this game at the very least GOT released, and was only painfully average instead of what it could have been, or just the fact that those who put it down in the reviews were the same as those adding to the hype machine in the first place, Duke Nukem is… A Game. A Game that exists.
And do please remember, when a games number of years is higher than your shoe size, keep an open mind, and don’t view it as the latest messiah in gaming.
As Always, don’t forget to hit that subscribe button to keep up with everything we have going on here at Devious Advocacy, and keep the conversation going on Discord and Facebook! Links as always are in the description down below!
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But most importantly, this isn’t just about me ranting in front of the camera, I want to know what you guys think! If you agree, give us a click of the Like button. Disagree? Leave a comment telling us why! Let all of your points clash with my own… so that I may proceed to prove you wrong!
But for now, in the case of Duke Nukem Forever… The Defense Rests.
And let this be a lesson to us all! If a game takes too long to release, or we don’t get any information on it… just let it die!
I’m talking specifically to you Half Life 3! Yeah, I want to see it, but it’s going to suck in comparison to what we want! Guaranteed!
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