RPS Discusses: Game Movies & How To Bring Back Duke

No Rock, Paper, Shot Take this week, as we thought we’d try out a multi-topic chat about the week in PC gaming instead. Discussed: how to bring back Duke Nukem without it being a horrible mess, whether the Warcraft movie looks any good, whether any game moves are any good and the terrifying lure of idle games.

Alec: What gaming shenanigans mattered most to you lot this week, then?

Adam: The things that have mattered most to me have already been covered in my big ol’ writeup of the SOMA preview build. Which is great and lovely and scary and interesting. BUT in terms of things that have happened, I heard the sound of a horse carcass being flogged down at the Develop conference. It was only that there Randy Pitchford talking about the possibility of a new Duke Nukem game.

Rather than chuckling about Duke Nukem Forever and the development cycle and all the rest of it, I started to have a proper think about the character and what might be done with him. Ages ago I wrote a few paragraphs about a Telltale style Duke game, which seemed like a perfect way to treat a character who is a relic from a previous time – make him an outsider in his own game, faced with inventory puzzles (not all that Telltale if it has puzzles ZING) and conversations, and all of that stuff. I can’t imagine being excited about an FPS Duke game at all but I wouldn’t be averse to something new that actually dealt with the idea of resurrecting the character.

And, yes, it’s 2015 and I’m thinking about Duke Nukem. I am the real punchline to my own life.

Alec: Would anyone want to see Duke Nukem game in which he was The Coolest Guy On The Planet again? Conversely, would Gearbox allow a game in which he wasn’t?

Graham: Duke would certainly work better as an Austin Powers-style fish-out-of-time-water self-parody, but I’m not sure I’d be any more keen to play that game. I think some relics are probably worth leaving alone and many of the tricks that might be used to give his sagging pecs new vitality have already been done by, say, Wolfenstein: The New Order with BJ Blazkowicz.

Adam: Now I’m imagining BJ’s sad eyes transposed onto Duke and I need to put my brain on a deep rinse wash.

Alec: What about you Pip? If you had to play a Duke Nukem game, would it be Duke’s Long Dark Night Of The Soul or Duke Is Still Awesome Forever And Ever OK?

Pip Is this the part where I tell you I’ve never played a Duke Nukem game?

Alec: But what might make you play a theoretical future one?

Pip: Something good? I don’t really know how Duke feels as a franchise so this is kind of like saying “imagine a good game”. I would play Duke Nukem Pokemon Snap. As a point of interest re: the Austin Powers point, there was a piece in the Guardian asking developers to theorise exactly as we are doing and Will Porter suggested an Austin Powers approach.

Adam: I hadn’t seen that but I did see Sam “Her Story” Barlow tweeting about accidentally describing the plot of The Wrestler to a Guardian writer. That’s what he was referring to, clearly, and that is amazing. I wish Duke was more Bruce Campbell Ash than actual macho hero. I’m also foolishly excited about Ash vs Evil Dead because he is old and that is funny to me.

Alec: That trailer was better than I’d reasonably expected. The action hero who is allowed to make a total pig’s ear of things and be mocked by those around him without actually being reduced to a sad sap is a formula I’ve missed. Graham, what was your hot topic this week?

Graham: My week was mostly about playing and thinking about Clicker Heroes [official site], an idle game in which you level a team of heroes by passively watching them murder a million helpless plants, spiders, snails and jellies. I’ve just written about this in a supporter post to be made public later, and so I’ll ask a question: how do you feel about idle games? Are they a relaxing balm, coating you with a satisfying and relentless sense of progress, or are they a soulless, mind-numbing skinner box designed to entrap you with gambling mechanics and drive you towards microtransactions?

Adam: They are the devil’s bumwash. Which is a problematic statement because I often play with them on my iPad in bed. I hate myself afterwards though. I definitely feel sad when I’m done and look at the book by my bedside and feel it judging me. But, in all seriousness, I watch baseball live in the middle of the night sometimes. My high horse of judgement about the things that people spend their time doing? that thing bolted a long time ago and I’m glad to have seen the back of it.

Alec: My guilty secret is that I have AdVenture Capitalist running in a window all day most days. I ping between totally embracing it as casual comfort and wanting to beat myself to death for giving any of the little free time I have to it instead of reading a book or learning how to breed seahorses. It’s fascinating how you do, while you’re in it, feel that you’re puttng some sort of strategic thinking into it, making meaningful choices, then as soon as you’re out you realise that no, you really weren’t. You were just waiting for those buttons to light up so you could press them.

Graham: I like the subreddit, which is full of people discussing build orders and trying to establish the most efficient way to progress and advance. I can’t help but think they’d be better off learning the stock market if they want to play a numbers game, but I admit that I’m tempted to keep the game running even now that I’ve written about it. Although I’m simultaneously somewhat frightened at the knowledge, shared by a commenter, that the game continues to progress even when not running. That means I literally cannot stop playing Clicker Heroes. It’ll always be out there somewhere, killing crabs and collecting money on my behalf.

Pip: I think Kim Kardashian has stopped speaking to me. Her game doesn’t play in my absence so I have to turn up and click on things. Except it’s boring as all hell (and I say this as a fan of casual games and of Kim Kardashian) so I try for a bit and then I stop and then she’s all over my iPhone notifications screen telling me to come back or whatever and then the silent treatment.

Alec: I bet Kanye gets much the same treatment from her. What was your Issue/Interest/Thinger O’The Week, Pip?

Pip: The moment that meant most to me this week was getting a godlike kill streak when I was playing Lich in the Dota 2 tournament I’m currently playing. I sometimes suffer from low gaming self-esteem when in multiplayer environments even though I know how to play those games and so when I’m actively doing well and the game tells people so ONSCREEN it always feels amazing. People were watching on Twitch too :) They also watched us lose a game but shh.

Adam: GODLIKE LICH trophy! Let’s make one. I have never been good enough at any game to take part in a tournament but I was the best person in my group of friends at Quake 1 deathmatch and that was a good feeling. I tend not to play competitive games very often but I’ve been enjoying Rocket League recently and that’s a neat game for me – it rewards skill and I sometimes feel like a good teammate, but it doesn’t highlight mistakes. Own goals don’t exist, for example – they’re credited to the last person on the scoring team to touch the ball rather than the defender who walloped it into his own net.

Graham: That’s awesome. Some of the most rewarding game experiences I’ve ever had were when I was in a Counter-Strike clan and we played in some leagues – although this was about 15 years ago, so there was no Twitch and we were never good for real tournaments and I was never good enough to stand out from the clan I was with. I miss those feelings, and fear I may never reach that level of investment with a single game again.

Alec: Another thing that happened in the general gaming milieu this week was the Warcraft movie. Did anyone see the leaked footage and/or the ‘inspired by’ flying gryphon interactive video? Does that point to a Warcraft film you want to watch?

Adam: I loved Moon, tolerated Source Code and don’t care about Warcraft lore. I wish Duncan Jones were doing something smaller because he got such a great performance(s) out of Sam Rockwell in a tight, compact sci-fi story the likes of which we rarely get to see. The footage I saw was low quality to the extent that I honestly thought it was all cgi. It looked far too serious. I don’t want to watch that film.

Alec: Most Blizzard games are split between a cartoonish, playful in-game art style/tone and these ultra-serious, visually dark cutscenes for lore maniacs who last smiled in 1974, and I was a little bummed the film seems to have gone full tilt for the latter. But do we want a comedy orc film?

Adam: Comedy orc film starring Adam Sandler and chums. Oh lord, no. I realise that within the space of a few paragraphs I’ve sort of argued for melancholy Duke Nukem and comedy orcs. Has anyone enjoyed a film adaptation of a game? I bloody loved Mortal Kombat when I was a teenager. I think I’ve probably decided that I was being ironic.

Pip: I really enjoyed Death Becomes Her, a movie which explores the idea of gaming lives and restarts. Goldie Hawn plays Mario. Actually, stop me from talking in case I accidentally ruin Death Becomes Her for myself.

Alec: I think you’ve got next week’s supporter post idea in the bag there.

I genuinely thought the Van Damme Street Fighter movie was the most exciting thing I’d ever seen when I was a teenager. I was not a clever teenager.

Adam: Are there any games you’d like to see adapted? I used to want a System Shock or Thief film but, likewise, I was not a clever teenager.

Graham: I’d quite like a film that wasn’t an adaptation of another medium’s greatest hits. [/burn] More seriously, I’m genuinely not sure there’s a single game with a story I think would be better off made linear and non-interactive.

Pip: Some of the eSports documentaries or shows out there have been cool in that regard because the game is there but it’s a catalyst or a setting for a human story rather than the specific focus. (That said, it might be that they’re promotional media for the game if it’s a documentary that’s made by a publisher or a developer so you factor that in.)

Alec: I want a live-action Dwarf Fortress mockumentary. Get Christopher Guest on it.


  1. udat says:

    I would watch that Christopher Guest Dwarf Fortress thing.

    • TheAngriestHobo says:

      Sunless sea could make for a great TV show (or movie, but I’m a TV guy). I’m thinking something along the lines of Black Sails with slightly less boobage and slightly more Cthulu. It’s the kind of game that lends itself well to an ensemble cast and an episodic structure, but still could support a season/series arc.

      I guess Telltale’s The Walking Dead would also be a great… wait.

      • TheAngriestHobo says:

        Whoops, that wasn’t supposed to be a response.

      • Hedgeclipper says:

        I don’t think Walking Dead would ever catch on as a TV show, maybe a comic, or a kitchen towel

  2. TillEulenspiegel says:

    Duke3D was cool at the time because it was a novelty. It had some unique mechanics and its own sense of humor which hadn’t been done very often before, at least not in a first-person shooter. By now, all that stuff is really *really* old. It was old by the time DNF switched to its second or third engine.

    Since 80s movies seem more popular than ever, why not more of a direct parody? As you mention, Austin Powers is a good example. Blood Dragon was okay, but I think you could do a lot better.

    • Barberetti says:

      The deathmatch in that game was fantastic.

      I remember hosting a LAN weekend years ago, and Duke3D was one of the games played. We were on the first map, the cinema one. I walked in through the back entrance to see 4 of my mates jumping all over the seats with shotguns and chainguns blazing, while my cousin is throwing pipebombs down on them from the projection room, laughing his arse off.

      It was one of those gaming moments where you have to just stand there for a few seconds and soak up the awesomeness of what you’re seeing. And I did exactly that.

      Then I opened up with the ol’ RPG and laid waste to the whole fucking lot of them. It was glorious.

      • ansionnach says:

        It’s a great game to play in co-op as well.

      • MartinWisse says:

        I remember deathmatches at uni, that one time I was newly spawned, only had a pistol and those normally useless pipe bombs on me. I ran out to the streets, only for a rocket to narrowly miss me. I jumped back inside, dropped a pipe bomb and just as the maniac with the RPG chased me inside, hit the button. That was the most glorious kill I ever made in DN3D.

        And then Quake dropped and we all learned to rocket jump.

        • ansionnach says:

          I like how explosives are really destructive in Duke. Rocket jump and you’re dead!

        • ansionnach says:

          I loved the pipe bombs in Duke3d, by the way. Not something you’re going to run around with the whole time, but they’re highly effective in the right situation. Pretty much all the weapons were great. Apart from the excellent shotgun, chaingun cannon, rocket launcher and pipe bombs, all the less common weapons were more than just gimmicks. The devastator was great while the freeze thrower, shrink ray and microwave gun were all fun. The trip bombs were useful as well.

          Not sure if everyone played the original version of the game (pre atomic edition). In it you could switch to the kick and use the quick kick at the same time, then run around with both feet off the ground! Used to love doing that, too bad they fixed it!

    • Muppetizer says:

      I really think Duke 3D’s level design still stands up today. It did so much stuff that was ahead of the time, things like destructible environments, or an organic melding of set-piece moments with more traditional DOOMesque less linear stuff, it’s still today one of the most vertical 3D games ever made — especially for an FPS, and it frequently gave the player a lot of chances to use the dozens of different items and weapons (pipebombs, jetpack, hologram, nightvision, shrinkray, laser tripbombs) in fairly unique ways.

      I think a game that focused more on bringing back Duke 3D’s level design and crazy itemization more than the character could really stand up to today’s market. But I guess you buy the rights to Duke Nukem for the character, not the design trends.

      • ansionnach says:

        Agree completely. Duke 3d is certainly the best FPS game I’ve ever played. It’s got Great levels and superb weapons (that aren’t just there for novelty value). Enemy design is good as well. Playing a game like Shadow Warrior (the original) next to Duke 3d really shows off that Build games need not have been as great as Duke3d.

    • d3vilsadvocate says:

      I agree with Eulenspiegel. You cannot revive Duke3D in any meaningful way.
      The gameplay and level design might still hold up today, but the character does not.

      You can either portray duke as he was portrayed in the 90ies like they tried with DNF, and that didn’t go so well. Or you could ‘reinvent’ Duke, but then you’d end up having something else which just carries the same name but no longer ‘feels’ like Duke 3d. See where I am getting at? There is no way you could succeed in this endeavour. That’s why Duke 3d best stays dead.

      After what I’ve seen of Bombshell I just pray Duke stays dead. I really do.

      • ansionnach says:

        I’d say keep the character. Duke3d was more about the gameplay and the cheesy one-liners only really worked because the game was great and you were having fun anyway. Duke should not be afraid of being “cool” and offending everyone. Best way to get around the tiredness of it is to have minimal story like in Duke3d. Have him only throw out a one-liner at appropriate times and otherwise say nothing. No cutscenes, almost no back story, nothing.

      • Jalan says:

        The fact that Shadow Warrior (2013) happened and was successful suggests that you can reshape a character and still get something worthwhile out of it. Lo Wang still spits out the one-liners/etc. and kicks ass, he just does so in a fashion that isn’t (potentially) offensive to a multitude of people.

        • ansionnach says:

          Haven’t played the new Shadow Warrior. From the video for the sequel, Lo Wang seems boring and sanitised. I could hardly believe all the orientalism in the ads for the original game… but once you get into it it’s kind of obvious that it’s all a piss-take of 80s action films (like Big Trouble in Little China). Of course many will find it offensive but I actually thought even Shadow Warrior was funny overall in that it was so silly and brazen in its approach. Lines like “Oh, look, you coming apart!” or “Oh – split personality!” when you slice someone with the sword would get a chuckle. Its cheesiness and irreverence worked for me. Whatever they do it’d be a mistake to try not to offend people. In my experience there are plenty of people out there who’ll manufacture outrage anyway – they’ll never be happy.

          • Jalan says:

            (I can’t find a way to fit this in organically with the rest of my response, so I’ll add it here: play it some time. Even if it’s only for 30 minutes, or less for that matter. It likely won’t change your opinion or anything but it is a game worth playing, even if the character of Lo Wang has been made boring by your standards.)

            It wasn’t really lines like that which people might have found “offensive” in the current time(s). Those are, in my view, really par for the course for FPS of its ilk released back then (and like you mention, owe much to numerous action films that existed before the games).

            It was more the exaggerated stereotype presented, which, as you mentioned was hosed down until it… didn’t really exist any more. Flying Wild Hog had stated that they’d intended on doing that because of the possible ramifications of not updating the character of Lo Wang. While I largely agree with the sentiment that some people can find anything to get offended by (proven so often these days, many times through social media outlets), I don’t really agree that when developing a game with one of these characters initially known for being politically incorrect/etc. that they need to be exactly the same to guarantee a quality title.

          • ansionnach says:

            I’ll take a look at it sometime. Agree that the character doesn’t make the game, especially in FPS games where you can’t even see them. I’m again going on what I hear, but it sounds like both the new Shadow Warrior and Duke Nukem Forever got the character wrong, one being watered-down and boring, the other focusing too much on the crassness and being overly serious. It’s tricky to get a tongue-in-cheek take on the outrageous Asian stereotypes and over-sexed heroes of action films right. I wouldn’t claim that either original FPS even did this. Looking at Duke, he was just a muscle-bound hero in the platformers and had very little in the way of character. The first time you hear him speak is in the intro to Duke Nukem 2, where he says “I’m back!” in a vaguely Germanic accent. All the babes stuff was thrown into Duke3d to provoke controversy. I’d say when doing either character, the designers should watch as many action films as possible and take every opportunity to send them up. People will be offended anyway but that’s their problem.

            There are loads of ways they can bring women into a Duke game drawing on various action films: the cheesy romance of Terminator, the married couple from True Lies… or just the action-only hero of several Arnie flicks. One idea that comes to mind could be that Duke could be freed from captivity or merely aided in his time-travelling adventure by his mother, a scientist working for Dr Proton on Pluto (the time-travelling hub). She would have been of the opinion that Uncle Sam sent Duke to his doom in ‘Nam or something – deceived and maybe brainwashed by Proton. Of course, Proton would turn out to be his father. Maybe too much story there but there are plenty of ways to do an action hero send-up without neutering them.

          • ansionnach says:

            Here’s another idea: it’s been done before in Blood Dragon, but Duke’s first love would also be Lady Liberty (so his mother’s disappointed that there’s no love or grandchildren). In the new game the Russians could be trying to stop Dr Proton as well, possibly to exploit his technologies for the furtherment of Communism (capital “C”, since it’s the really bad kind). One of their leading agents is a Russian-American agent by the name of Liberty Romanova. She’s possibly a double, triple or quadruple agent with seemingly shifting loyalties. Of course, the pair instantly dislike each other but an ambiguous attraction may or may not exist. One plot (in a mess of them) could be to discredit Duke as a Commie defector with evidence of a relationship and collusion with Romanova. He’s put in solitary confinement in New Alcatraz and while he’s locked up the US is invaded by Russia. Meanwhile, Proton infiltrates and begins subverting both proud nations. Then Duke gets sprung from Alcatraz by Romanova who recognises that only Duke can free the US, Russia and all those other, shittier countries. To keep the game focused on Duke, the single-player game could be Duke-only. Romanova would be a bit of an ass-kicker herself and perhaps once the game is finished it could be played from her perspective. Romanova would be available for selection in a co-op mode, however.

    • ansionnach says:

      Duke 3d was always a bit tongue-in-cheek wasn’t it? The delivery was straight but the game didn’t take itself too seriously. The last thing Duke needs is a Avellone-esque deconstruction. It just wouldn’t be funny and there’s not a lot of material to deconstruct, anyway. Blood Dragon was really well done. Something like that would work. Perhaps if Duke was parachuted into a modern FPS, then he could deconstruct it? Could go with a time travelling plot like in the first platform game, but where Doctor Proton is building an army using the greatest soldiers in history. His base could be on Pluto and locations could include Mars (Doom), “Modern Warfare”, prehistory (where men and dinosaurs co-exist), Val Verde, swords & sorcery, on a space ship against a single alien… and a dark future where Proton’s machines rule (“Terminator”). Pretty much everywhere Schwarzenegger’s been film-wise, including Twins and Junior. The game could start out similarly to Blood Dragon, except for the tutorial and modern shooter mechanics don’t materialise (they’re only parodied). Duke could be thrown out of a helicopter in Vietnam and a manual with “tutorial” is thrown out after him. He then uses it to light a cigar and off he goes. The game could build from early 70s mayham to the cover-shooting of modern warfare (but Duke never takes cover or has regenerating health!) before he confronts Proton on Pluto and is thrown through time. The variety of settings would be a good opportunity to showcase the biggest strengths that a Duke FPS should have – great level design and loads of cool weapons. In the alien spaceship bit he’d be without weapons and there could be some tip in a log or somewhere to make-do and improvise… and he just uses his fists. In the “Predator” bit he’d have a bow and in the one-on-one with the t-rex he’d have a spear. In the “Robocop” bit, ED-209 could make a return (it was in the first platorm game). Ideally, there’d be a full array of weapons for each period (one melee and nine ranged). Whenever Duke would be teleported (perhaps there’d be a hub level) he’d arrive naked with no weapons. The first time this would happen he’d be sent back to 1984 and he’d meet those kids with the clothes from Terminator, naturally (“Wash day – nothing clean?”). Main reason for the hub level would be so you don’t lose all your gear when going back and forth, although that could be explained away as continuity wouldn’t really be important (it would be more important for nothing to make sense at all, actually). There could even be a Mass Effect bit where moral dilemmas, melodrama and dialogue wheels make a brief appearance before Duke sorts them all out by getting in there and kicking arse.

      As someone who built a machine specifically for DNF in 1999 I really want this game! All the guys need to do is design some bloody great levels, weapons, enemies and throw as many action film and game parody ideas at the wall. Take the piss out of everything, offend everyone and let god sort ’em out!

    • death_au says:

      I had an idea for a Duke Nukem plot that involved a high-octane first mission, which starts slowly, but quickly changes to the classic shooty-bang-bang with lots of explosions as aliens invade the moon, specifically targeting Duke. It ends with Duke defeating the aliens in a very bombastic cinematic that involves the destruction of the lunar base. He’s then summoned by the President, expecting to receive a medal or something, but is instead berated and locked up.
      So now Duke, who was always the arrogant ever-awesome action hero, who has been living in relative obscurity for many years, suddenly has to face facts that the world has changed and sees him for what he is: a roided-up, musclebound, chauvinistic meat-head.
      Then there’s a subplot about aliens controlling the president, he’s rescued by Dukes long-lost twin brother (who’s a stealthy black-ops stereotype hero who stays in the shadows and morally refuses to kill, think batman cross solid snake) who believes the only way to stop the inevitable alien invasion is to deliver Duke to the aliens as a way to get them on the ship and stop the alien plot.
      So now Duke’s being hunted not only by aliens, but also human authorities (who you can easily kill, but generally need to find ways not to).
      Duke also ends up teaming up with a strong female character who he at first tries to seduce (because he’s Duke, of course he does) but ends up revealing she’s his daughter and thoroughly hates her father. Once that revelation hits, Duke decides he wants to try and mend his ways and tries to develop a proper relationship with his daughter, despite her ongoing resistance.

      The general idea is to counterpoint all the terrible things about Duke’s personality, and force him to face them. With a decent writer, you could get some real character development happening and transition him from being a stereotypical meathead action hero, into a relatable person struggling to come to terms with his irrelevancy and having to change and adapt to a world where his past behaviour is no longer acceptable.

      All that being said, perhaps it would be better not to try and change him and just use Spacewalk’s premise of using him to deconstruct more modern gaming tropes

  3. Laurentius says:

    Where is Batman:Arkham Knight WIT though ? I think Alec was saying he’s covering it weeks ago ? So what that game was pulled off Steam ?, don’t let that corporations order you around. You played the game, so do it.

    • welverin says:

      They’re waiting until it’s put back on sale in order to review the game that is (re)released.

  4. w0bbl3r says:

    Ash vs. Evil Dead baby, YEAH!!!
    Of course, I am now obliged to say, groovy, gimme some sugar baby, this. is. my…. BOOM-stick.
    But also, this DOES actually look really fun.
    Of course it’s going the army of darkness mass comedy route, but I am totally fine with that, since Bruce does it perfectly even at his age.

    The only thing I am worried about is that I read an interview with him and he said it’s a half hour formula, which could be very very bad for the show in general.

  5. GameCat says:

    I would play Duke Nukem Pokemon Snap.

    So… we would have to make photos of hot chicks? Or snap Pokemon’s necks? Or both?

    I would play Elite Duke Nukem Beat Agents.

  6. Be_reasonable says:

    The media reaction to DukeNF was the real problem. I had a lot of fun with the game, and maybe that’s just because I’m a little older, and I know what the character is. He is an oversexed, testosterone-filled cartoon character of the male ego parodying the male ego. All of the people that took offense to it just don’t get that, it’s his character. There are going to be ball jokes. There are going to be dick jokes. If that’s not your bag, then move along to the next game. As FPS games go, it’s a resurrected title! I found it to be a fun jaunt and over the top, with plenty of humor and enjoyable. It’s not meant to be a competitive title. For all of the crappy games out there, it’s really sad that because of the media reaction, we can’t have titles like this.

    And sometimes, I feel like this site wants to be the Oscars of gaming, where they pick really artsy games and pretend that they are all deep and stuff, and forget that there is plenty room in the world for games that are just stupid fun. And that it’s okay to enjoy things for what they are, even if it doesn’t make some world changing remark. Does Duke set women’s lib back 50 years because it makes a few dick jokes? Can men enjoy a game with juvenile humor just because it’s stupid fun without their character being called into question? Because I think they can. I lead a civilized life, I don’t feel anything close about women that Duke the character does, I don’t treat people poorly, and I don’t otherwise feel that women are less than or should be treated like sex objects. However, I like playing Duke. So what does that say? It’s just a videogame, and it’s just for fun, and I wish that the media wouldn’t ruin it for everybody. Sometimes a videogame is just a videogame. And let’s not be a hypocrite by giving grand theft auto good reviews for acting far worse than the Duke ever did.

    And in this case, especially, the media reaction was completely ignorant because we all know what Duke is! You can find Duke games very easily and quickly figure out there are strippers, dirty jokes, and plenty of dumb humor. And yet, the media was all surprised when the game was released with more of the same. Shocking! And yes, the puns in this post are intended.

    • baozi says:

      Johnny Bravo with guns?

    • James says:

      But the game just wasn’t that good. It was bored within half an hour, the jokes, whilst initially funny, got dull quick. It just didn’t do enough to hold my attention.

      • Baines says:

        Indeed, the game wasn’t even good by previous Duke Nukem standards.

        DNF took the worst elements of “modern” FPS design (if you can still call nearly 15 years ago “modern”), and married them to the worst elements of the caricature of Duke Nukem. Note that I didn’t say the worst elements of Duke. It isn’t that Duke Nukem is a relic of the past. Duke Nukem Forever is an unimaginative child trying to copy classic Duke.

        The story of Duke Nukem may be a one-hit wonder story, just with more than one hit. Success was a combination of factors, but the people behind the success don’t understand what made it all work, and some of it was accident rather than talent anyway.

      • heretic says:

        Deadpool was similar, I had no idea what to expect from the game and I really liked the humour and the constant 4th wall breaking – however the level design was particularly dull and it did become tedious by the end, even if the jokes were good.

        I would say the strongest point of that game was the beginning when you’re just messing about in his apartment :) guess it does go downhill from there!

        • Jason Moyer says:

          I thought the bit where you kept fighting the same boss and stuffing it up in different ways was great, as well as all the different hallucinations DP has throughout the game. The actual gameplay tended to be repetitive though, and didn’t have the same polish as your typical hero/spectacle fighter to carry it past that.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      You really shouldn’t be playing with straw men at your age.

    • Stellar Duck says:

      Oh come off it.

      A good dick joke is awesome. That game just didn’t have any. It only had floppy, tired dick jokes.

      The problem wasn’t that it was crass, loud, preposterous or oversexed testosterone shenanigans. The problem was that the humor was tedious and took itself serious.

      But the worst crime? It was a really shite game that was stuck in a stupid twillight zone between Call of Duty and DN3d and failed at being both.

      It should have been Bulletstorm. Now that game had some good dick jokes.

    • ffordesoon says:

      RPS loves Saints Row.

      Your argument is invalid.

    • GWOP says:

      I dunno what’s worse – that you like rape jokes or that you enjoy 2 weapons limit.

    • TheSplund says:

      Spot on. I actually enjoyed DNF, and even bought the DLC after finishing game. Duke 3D/Quake2/UT is what got me into gaming and I totally agree that things have progressed greatly since then but it doesn’t stop you from having a kinda fondness for a big dumb character who is, after all, actually in character and for me the game delivered (if mildly buggy).

    • gunny1993 says:

      The “just dumb fun argument” is valid, but just because something is dumb fun doesn’t mean it should be given a pass for being shit. Lets compare to movies, Transformers 3 and John Wick, both movies are ostensibly “just dumb fun” but one of them is critically acclaimed and one panned and the reason isn’t because critics hate Micheal Bay.

      Most peoples problem with the game was simply that it wasn’t very good and didn’t capture what was good in D3D, if you’re willing to look over those faults in level design, pacing etc, then go for it, but everyone who wanted a new Duke game new there was going to be dick jokes and that wasn’t the reason it’s generally considered a failure.

    • ansionnach says:

      Haven’t played DNF so can’t comment too much but I see plenty of room for games that are just mindless fun. I think that some outlets are in danger of alienating readers by pushing their social ideologies too much. If I want to be patronised in such a way I can read the Guardian or something.

    • EhexT says:

      People weren’t angry at DNF for it’s (bad) dick jokes, they were angry at it’s rape jokes and juvenile sexism.

      It also wasn’t a good game in any sense of the world. It was visually ugly, technically awful and the gameplay was a worst-of the last decade of shooters. Let’s take the bad parts of every successful shooter franchise of the last ten years and glue them together into one badly written string of “game” so bad I’m surprised they didn’t have suicides in their QA department.

      It had tired, leaky scripting like a taiwanese knockoff CoD, the most boring art style since the awful first half of Serious Sam 3 (Brown Brown Brown, Green, Green, Green, Brown, Brown), terrible enemy designs (in tiny amounts), linear as hell levels, awful boss fights and just generally missed the point when it comes to “how to make a good FPS”.

  7. afarrell says:

    Paul WS Anderson is basically the hallmark of good video games movies: Mortal Kombat, Resident Evil, and Aliens vs Predator.

    • GameCat says:

      I’ve watched Mortal Kombat like 15 years ago or more, so I can’t say if it’s good or bad.
      Only first Resident Evil film was good, the rest just piss all over whole franchise and are just plain stupid.
      AvP was more like extension of existing Alien and Predator films (and comic books), not a game adaptation.

      • Jalan says:

        The first Resident Evil film nailed the atmosphere (and had a great throwback score to aid it in doing so) but the second film was better (and not directed by Anderson) – and I write that with acknowledgement of the fact that the Nemesis in it looked ridiculous. The remainder of the films are a mess, with at least one being a really expensive advert for Jovovich’s clothing line (which, I believe no longer exists) and the rest being largely forgettable films that tried to ape elements from the Underworld series (bizarrely) in really non-subtle ways.

        Mortal Kombat, I write this having seen it in theaters (and bought it on VHS, etc.), is neither good nor bad. It’s a mix of both (some of the acting is awful, just outright awful) but it has the distinction of having a sequel that was utter trash (and an example of how not to do a video game property film) that makes many people (mostly fans) regard it as the better film by default.

        • LMN118 says:

          Nah first film was better, the sequels killed it. Might have been better if they stuck more to the game than anything else.

          Like many adaptions, whether it be from a game, comic or book they tend to take too little from the source material and add lots of filler of what they think looks good. AvP’s in particular would have been great if they either stuck with the comics which was based in a relatively low tech backwater ranching world. I.e. A sort of Alien Vs Predator Vs Cowboy/girl or stuck to the modern future inspired game and had the Colonial Marine Corp being eaten and murdered by everything.

          The whole set piece of AvP felt wrong and made on the cheap. Requiem really needed a larger input from the national guard and special forces, rather than focusing on the main characters so much.

          Duke3D was awesome in so many ways, it was a great multiplayer, a true LAN warrior. It wasn’t that the jokes were tired in Forever. The game hadn’t moved on. Games that spend too long in development stagnate so by the time they are released they just suck.

          • Jalan says:

            AvP: Requiem needed to not happen, at all. The first film making any box office gross is something I regard as a complete fluke and chalk up largely to people wanting to see more films featuring the Alien “aliens” than anything else (the Predator aliens don’t get their due, but that’s an argument for another day). That Prometheus happened and now Neil Blomkamp is working on an Alien(s) sequel seems to be evident enough of it.

        • GameCat says:

          Yup, first one was better. Not only as RE adaptation but also as film. An enjoyable B action horror flick.

          Sequel was just a horrible mess of flashy, over the top and dumb action scenes, for example: stereotypical black guy stands in the middle of STARS members beign moved down by Nemesis’ GATLING GUN and he survives, because he dropped his gun and Nemesis spared him. WTF? It’s ridiculous.
          Then we have fistfight Alice vs. Nemesis. Ughhh…

          And from third movie the series turns into edgy post-apo superheroine (Alice and her super-duper mutant powers that allow her to ignite a flock of zombie crows etc.) film.
          While I’m rather against reboots and remakes, I wish someone could make a reboot of RE film franchise.

          • Jalan says:

            Saying that it was better as an “adaptation” compared to Resident Evil: Apocalypse seems a bit like saying “these crackers are both stale, but the first was a little less so”. That’s somewhat the problem with the first – it did little to be original and what bits it did try were quickly eliminated by completely stupid plot points (among other things).

            I’m not saying the sequel was any better in that regard but it fits better to the spirit of a B movie than the first and it has the added benefit of not having to take itself seriously that seems to be so prevalent in just about every film Anderson directs (and to clarify, I know we’re not talking about the ‘There Will Be Blood’ director).

    • Baines says:

      The first Resident Evil film was a bad horror film and not even a particularly good Resident Evil film. And the movie franchise unfortunately managed to go downhill from there. The closest the series ever got to decent was the campiness of Nemesis, but I want to recall that the direction and editing was particularly bad in that film.

      So, yeah, don’t hold that film up as an example of doing video game adaptations right.

  8. mattevansc3 says:

    Well they could bring Duke Nukem back in a post conflict world where his hero status has run its course. With money dwindling he has to het a normal job. Now the spin is a Depression Quest style options mechanic. When confronted with difficult situations, an aggressive customer, an overbearing supervisor or even a BSOD you’ve got a finite number of choices. Your last choice is always something violent, normally with a corny 80’s quip. As the situation becomes more stressful options are removed one by one until your only option is violence and as soon as you commit a violent act you are fired. The goal of the game is not to get fired.

  9. iambecomex says:

    What to do with Duke Nukem? Simple – put him in Borderlands 3. Guns, quips, OTT character, he fits. Not that I want him in a Borderlands game, just they’re both Gearbox properties and it’d be an obvious thing to do. Surprised they haven’t already done it as DLC.

    • mattevansc3 says:

      He’d make a brilliant bad guy though.

    • Jason Moyer says:

      Doesn’t Mr Torgue already fill the Duke role, though? In addition to being far funnier most of the time.

  10. Hammersong says:

    I think that the only way to bring back Duke would be as a bad guy. The joke stopped being funny a long time ago (if it ever was, outside of our juvenile 90s headspace), and it won’t be funny again. So if not a comedy then what? Well, why not a tragedy? An ageing Duke Nukem, consumed by power, fully bought into his own hype, has become the evil. The plot could be about him declaring himself king of the aliens/earth or whatever. All I really want is to have those old weapons in my hands – especially that awesome chainguntypething and the shotgun – without feeling dirty or having to cringe my way through awful humour or having my childhood defiled.

    Introduce a female protagonist and Duke’s mysogyny is brought into sharp focus. I can imagine how uncomfortable it would feel to have this leering old brute making aggressive & unwelcome sexual advances on you the player. Call it “Kill Duke Nukem”, and give us all a chance to put that particular chapter of our lives to bed, so to speak. Day one purchase.

    • mattevansc3 says:

      If you want tragedy make him into the gaming Ultimate Warrior. The Self Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior would be the perfect storyline for a new Duke Nukem.

  11. PancakeWizard says:

    My favourite idea for DNF was something very close to what Yatzhee Croshaw pitched when he was asked to submit writing ideas by the developers:

    Basically, Duke is a total product of his time, a total washed up has-been, a running joke. A dinosaur. You’d be going around his pad at the beginning on your own, clinging to his past glories, messing with all his outrageous purchases when things were better, the gym mothballed…then the aliens attack and no one knows what the hell to do – except Duke.

    That, to me, would’ve been much more nuanced and palatable than playing the shallow ego trip thing completely straight.

  12. Gap Gen says:

    Duke got some nice nail polish in that second image

  13. Spacewalk says:

    I want to see Duke Nukem as terminally out of shape, washed up action star with an estranged wife, a daughter who hates him for being an absentee father and a sleazy manager who only has the time for a younger up and coming signee. After a series of badly thought out stunts to get him back in the public interest which ended with a rather public bust-up between the two stars Duke retreats to his run down mansion to nurse his wounds with alcohol.

    Aliens happen and the Earth’s military are powerless to stop them because they rely on modern FPS tactics which the aliens are somehow impervious to, the manager is secretly a government agent set to keep an eye on Duke because they need someone to show ’em that the old ways are better and someone’s gotta get back into shape and drag along a younger up and coming sidekick in order to send ET packing and somehow reconcile with his daughter along the way all whilst The Boys Are Back In Town is playing on the jukebox.

    • ffordesoon says:

      Yes, this! Have Nolan North or Troy Baker be the snotty modern FPS protagonist. Better yet, make it a co-op-able buddy comedy.

      Maybe Modern Guy – let’s call him Edward Killen – can do auto-takedowns, has regenerating health, takes cover in third-person, two-weapon limit, only uses realistic military weapons, has a perk tree, etc. Duke, meanwhile, lacks those abilities and thinks the realistic guns are “for pussies,” but he can take a lot more punishment, moves faster, is able to use wacky weapons and items Killen doesn’t understand, can see and pick up power-ups, and spots secret doors and routes Killen doesn’t know to look for. In the single-player, you choose between one of the two characters (and their respective playstyles), which effectively grants you two interconnected but distinct campaigns to play through.

      As with most buddy comedies, you’re briefly pitted against each other in the final third of the game before a reconciliation occurs and each character learns the value of the other’s skills. At that point in the co-op campaign, players unlock the ability to use each other’s weapons and exchange weapons on the fly and stuff. Then you could have the bad guy revealed to be a videogame version of Syndrome from The Incredibles, this guy who grew up idolizing Duke and hates how “pussy-whipped” society has become. He kickstarted the alien invasion or whatever to show the world that Duke isn’t washed up. You could have it be Doctor Proton’s son Randy Proton. Have him use words like “red pill” and “misandry” and “social justice warriors.” Maybe it plays as a CoD-style first person cutscene for Killen and a playable segment for Duke; make it so the Duke player can fire a rocket at the villain at any time, and have it not affect him. Then Duke can growl, “Plot armor? This is bullshit!”

      After the dude finishes monologuing, he walks beghind a computer and says he’s going to “pwn” you and “save vidya” once and for all. Then you fight a Mecha-Nukem that spouts all the quips from the original game incessantly. Randy is constantly screaming things like “Rekt!” and “Check my l33t skillz, n00b!”

      It’s hardly subtle, I realize, but subtlety doesn’t befit Duke Nukem.

      • Spacewalk says:

        I see Duke’s characterization as a mix of John Matrix from Commando and John McClane in Live Free Or Die Hard filtered through Mickey Rourke’s performance in The Wrestler.

        As for the sidekick, you could take any buddy film and run with it but he has to have some Brandon Lee in Showdown In Little Tokyo in there just so he can tell Duke he has a big dick right before he gets blown away.

      • Kollega says:

        I just want to say… this is genius, and exactly what the next Duke game should be. Just set the whole thing in/after the rumored Duke Begins, call the modern military guy “Exfil Hardpoint” (since “Oscar Mike”, perfect as it would be, is already taken by Gearbox’s other game, Battleborn), bookend the game with the recycled quip of “Power armour is for pussies!” – as an insult from Duke to Exfil in the beginning about his high-tech bulletproof vest that gives him his health regeneration, and as a badass boast from Exfil to Duke in the end after he nearly dies but uses a health pickup to survive his wounds – and I think we’ll be on the way to have a deconstruction/reconstruction FPS classic on our hands.

        And the sequel could be about Duke and Exfil teaching eachother their strengths to eliminate their weaknesses – for example, Exfil teaching Duke tactics like ambushing and fast-roping as well as giving him flashbangs along with flash-proof sunglasses, and Duke helping Exfil bulk up and manage space to carry more than two weapons at a time as well as teaching him how to find secret areas he can blow open with breaching charges.

        I think someone of us three – me, you, or Spacewalk – should take this idea to the Gearbox forums. They sometimes take fan suggestions, and perhaps if we bring this idea to their attention, we may sometimes see a Duke game that will be about a classic shooter hero and a modern shooter hero uniting to stop the bad guys from destroying the world.

  14. Michael Fogg says:

    Yesterday I had a strange urge to play some Duke and as a result played through the entire second episode ‘Lunar Apocalypse’, probably for the first time in my life. It definitely still holds up. One particularly creative moment in terms of level design was this: you walk down a very long white hallway, approaching a 90 degree turn. On the wall opposite to you by the turn is a large mirror, so that you can see yourself (or, er, Duke) walking down the hallway. Suddenly in the mirror – explosions behind you! An advancing wall of flames, the whole level apparently caving in! So you sprint forward to escape, round the corner – just to face two fat flying guys (on Come Get Some dif level). Talk about a rock and a hard place! To avoid their deadly rockets you strafe back round the corner, just to be engulfed by the explosions in the hallway, now half-collapsed and split with ravines. Coming out of that with half health remaining you can still consider yourself lucky!

  15. Jason Moyer says:

    Clicker Heroes is great. It’s like taking a Diablo clone and removing all the bad parts. And then hating yourself for realizing how much time you’ve spent playing those sorts of games when they just boil down to a kill-things, get stuff, upgrade stuff loop.

  16. drewski says:

    I basically want the Clint Eastwood version of Duke, lost in a Robert Downey Jnr. Iron Man series world, and then aliens invade, and only Duke can save a world he no longer understands but, in doing so, he learns to accept change. Even if he doesn’t ever accept that there’s no situation that can’t be improved with a dick joke.

    You can do the Duke Nukem archetype without being dumb about it. That’s what DNF got wrong – it (aside from the gameplay being a bit naff) was stupid. Everybody likes dick jokes – dicks are funny. But do it well. DNF did it badly. Back in the day nobody cared that Duke was rubbish because WHOA “3D”, TITTIES, THE MIRROR REFLECTS, WOO ROCKETS + TRIM MINES etc. but it’s not 1995 any more.

    • Jalan says:

      With some tweaking, I’d play a Duke game that featured much of the plot of Last Action Hero. Just rip out the “magic” mumbo jumbo (so we don’t end up in the role of some jaded gamer who gets sucked into a Duke game).

  17. tonicer says:

    It’s easy to make a good Duke Nukem game you just have to do one thing … forget that video game consoles exists and viola you make a good game. It should be like Crysis before consoles ruined it.

  18. Mr Coot says:

    So when I first played Duke3D I thought he looked kind of old. He… doesn’t look old anymore. Do not adjust your set. This is a frame of reference problem. o.O

  19. bill says:

    I’m not so sure about System Shock, but I’ve always maintained that Thief was about the only PC game that was worth making a movie out of… so I don’t think younger Adam was that dumb.

    Most video games franchises have little to offer as movies, as they often are heavily inspired by movies themselves. If you convert them back to movies then you end up with nothing new.

    Thief, on the other hand, has a pretty unique main character, aesthetic, atmosphere, setting etc.. while also having a decent enough story to translate into a movie. It’s a little bit “thief gets pulled into a bigger conspiracy against his will” tropey, but we don’t get that many movies like that, and especially not in a fantasy steampunk setting.

  20. bill says:

    While I can kinda see the appeal, I don’t really think a deconstruction of Duke Nukem game would be that interesting of fun to play. It sounds like an ok idea on paper, but I suspect it wouldn’t play or sell that well.

    Frankly, as sad as I am to say it, the best idea is probably just to reboot him in a more gritty realistic style.

    Or maybe turn it into Bulletstorm.

  21. xrror says:

    Okay, next Duke game. Hire Jon St. John as writer. Whatever comes out produce it. Good or bad at least it would be honest… seriously if you read any of Jon St. John’s stuff he really does love the Duke character…


    The Build engine used (built? hah) for duke really was/is amazing. Ken Silverman really at the time was a crazy talented kid (literally, under 16 at the time?) who just shot out this game engine and Apogee was in the right place/time to see and harness it.

    Ken’s story honestly comes off as tragic. At the time, John Carmack explicitly recognized that Ken was one to keep an eye on. Don’t get me wrong – he’s still stupid talented… but reading between the lines on his writings and history –

    his parents really never accepted his “fooling around” with computers as a real career. I think they wanted him to do some “respectable job” like doctor or something, so they really didn’t support him with the computer programming.

    So it was always that he should stop this wasteful programming hobby, drop it all and go to school and get a reputable education for cookie cutter job and forget his computer foolishness…

    I always wondered what would have happened if Ken had been supported by his family to just go “full Carmack” ;)