Monday, December 24, 2007

Why People Still Care about Duke Nukem

With Duke Nukem Forever being on hold…almost indefinitely and the new teaser that came out, God knows how many of them they’ve made, people are still excited about Duke Nukem. Why is that? Let me tell you.

Duke Nukem is the traditional badass character. He’s witty…kind of, stealing most of his witticisms from Bruce Campbell in Army of Darkness, but that’s wherein a lot of the humor rises. Throughout Duke Nukem 3D, (DN3D), the first FPS installment of the series, Duke will randomly just spit out phrases from Army of Darkness or the creator’s own mind – which were all off-the-wall ridiculous in their humor. Tack that onto him running through the mid-nineties after pig-like space aliens invaded, and it makes it even more amusing.

That’s part one. Part two was the fact that DN3D was modded like crazy. As Tycho points out, you could run onto the internet and download a ton of mods or new levels with the click of the mouse and gain hours upon hours new gameplay. This just added to the replay value of this game which was already high enough as it had more than one level of difficulty, like most of the old-school FPS games. It added to the fun and allowed you an opportunity to, much more readily than most modern games, to modify and change the way you played. The sheer number of modified DN3D levels out there was amazing and added to the game in so many different ways.

Next, which is a very sad reason, is strippers. Throughout the game, and really for gratuity’s sake alone, there were half-naked strippers strewn about the levels. They were also…damageable, you could blow them up with enough ammo being popped into them. Also, as Duke got close to them he threw cash at them. It added to the ridiculousness of this game and also appealed to the lowest common denominator in many male gamers. It was stupid, but altogether comical how the strippers were just added to the game. They almost felt like they were added last minute to make the game not rated as more mature than it really was, hence the almost random layout of some of the strippers (ex. dancing on rooftops, or on space ships).

Then there’s always this – the anticipation. They’ve been working on this game for nearly a decade. It’s changed engines, consoles, etc multiple times since. It’s changed staff. It’s changed…well, everything at least a half dozen times. And because of this – it builds and builds the anticipation for this game, making people more and more interested in what will happen when it’s actually completed. If it’s either awesome or awful, it’ll still make people happy – only the mediocre will turn people away…because they expect either the worst game ever after all this time…or something so ridiculously fantastic that it appeals to every single person who games.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, people like DN3D…because it was stupidly mindless shooting. The plot was weak at best, at worst it was atrocious. Yet, the game was fun because you just ran around and shot at everything that moved. There were no people specifically to save, except for the strippers…which you weren’t penalized for shooting. It was simple running around and killing monsters. That didn’t mean it was a simple game, it’s merely to point out that there didn’t need to be much to it. It was fun, plain and simple. Whether it appeals to everyone or not – it’s just a fun game where you run around and kill monsters with no need to worry about consequences, plot, or anything else for that matter.

DN3D was not the best game in the world, by far, but it was liked and really, that’s all that mattered. Other thoughts on the Duke Nukem phenomenon are more than welcomed…they’re encouraged.

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