Generally I prefer to keep things laid-back around here. In fact, I like to think of this blog as kind of an internet croissant — golden brown and crispy on the outside, layers of flaky butteryness on the inside, with no nutritional value whatsoever. Nothing in the middle, so to speak, except maybe space for more butter. Or cheese. Or buttery cheese. Either way, I like to keep it light, but sometimes an opportunity comes along that — like the well-prepared aforementioned viennoiserie — simply cannot be passed up.
With me today is a legend, a man who needs no introduction but who’ll get one anyway lest he break me in half like a delicate little wafer; Duke Nukem burst onto the gaming scene in 1991’s self-titled shooter-sidescroller for MS-DOS. Two years later he appeared in a sequel, Duke Nukem II, and in 1996 he gained a pair of shades and made the world his bitch in the first-person Duke Nukem 3D, which caused a breakdown in the social order, drove the spotted owl to
drink extinction, and later inspired the Western world to ponder the meaning of the word “is.” His newest game is 2011’s widely reviled Duke Nukem Forever, which, in an unprecedented teabagging of Gaming Journalism’s Finer Sensitivities, has sold 1.74 million copies in spite of its multi-platform average aggregate review score of 50; in fact, no other game in the 50 aggregate range even comes close to Duke Nukem Forever’s sales figures.
To what do you attribute that success, Duke?
That’s easy; me.
Can you elaborate a little? What is it about you that can catapult a game to such impressive sales numbers in the face of such dismal reviews?
Well, people love a badass, and let’s face it; I am the original badass. I’m an icon. I’ve saved the world — and its chicks — at least five times now. No, four; you can’t count Zero Hour. That game was balls. How many game reviewers can say that they’ve saved the world’s chicks at least four times?
Not too many, I’ll bet. What do you think was the reason for all the negative reviews?
Jealousy. Too many flannel-wearing, sissypants momma’s boys have access to computers these days, and all of them realize that they’ll never be me. Ten years ago these motherfuckers would have been working at GameStop and bitching about their lives, now they’re all covering PAX Prime and GDC and TGS and E3 and bitching about mine. There’s not an original thought among them.
Don’t you think that’s a little harsh?
Harsh? Bullshit. You know what’s harsh? Gazing out at the crowd at one of these self-celebratory Stepford circle jerks. How the fuck many pairs of thick, rectangular black glasses can LensCrafters pump out, anyway, and how do these assholes wind up with all of them? You ever take a really close look at a game critic? Cover your Triforce tattoo and buy a comb, doucheberry. And a razor. And a tube of Prell. Do you think I’d have gotten where I am today if I looked like an NPC out of Final Fantasy: The Mascara Chronicles?
I’m not sure I understand what that has to do with Duke Nukem Forever’s low scores.
If you have an industry — and I hesitate to call gaming journalism an industry — for which the primary standard is conformity, that standard will be reflected not only in the way the members of this “industry” present themselves, but in their thoughts, manner, and opinions. I’ve had a little experience in fighting a hive-mind, and believe me, these bastards qualify. The physical attributes are really just a symptom of a wider systemic problem, one that I like to call the Fuckin’ Uni-Brain.
You sound bitter, but I guess I can understand that. Why do you hesitate to call gaming journalism an industry?
Because it isn’t one. By definition, an industry must produce something other than hot air.
Game writers produce lots of things. Magazines, podcasts, videos…if you can name it, it’s out there. Some of them even have, you know, blogs.
That’s not production, it’s service; all of that stuff exists because someone else created something worth commenting about. You don’t refer to those poor slobs who pick up your garbage every Wednesday as members of the “human refuse removal and relocation industry,” do you? They’re fuckin’ garbage men, or “sanitation workers,” but at least they have the intellectual integrity not to try to elevate what they do beyond the level of cleaning up other people’s shit. You don’t see them giving each other awards every year for “Best Backhand Hookshot Into The Hopper from Across the Street.”
You also don’t hear Mike Tirico and Jon Gruden of Monday Night Football referring to themselves part of the “professional sports-related comments industry.” How fucking ridiculous would that be? Talking about someone else’s hard work is not an industry; at best it can be summed up with the phrase “this is what I think about that thing you created, and this is how much of a smarmy dickwad I can be while I do it. Pay me.” And people have the nerve to call me arrogant.
Now you’re just being offensive.
It’s what I do, baby. Where have you been for the last 17 years? That’s why I was surprised by all the drooling negativity from these suckholes; I mean, have any of them played a Duke Nukem game before? Not on the Nintendo 64, but on a real platform, like the PC or even the PlayStation. At least Sony didn’t demand that all the best stuff be censored out of Total Meltdown, the way that those Nintendoid pussies did for Duke Nukem 64.
So you’re saying that reviewers who objected to Duke Nukem Forever’s content should have known what they were getting into?
You catch on slower than a blind guy with a three-legged hooker. I’d offer you a cigar, but you’d probably gag on it.
Maybe it wasn’t just the content that they objected to. Maybe it was also the mechanics, like the strength taps and the floaty aiming.
Sure, and if every game that had strength taps and floaty aiming got a fuckin’ five from Big Whore Media Outlet, nothing would sell. Ever. Remember, I’m an anomaly. I can make a five work, but if something else gets a five these days, or even a six, it’s game over. I’m bigger than the mouse!
I never thought Duke Nukem Forever was a perfect game, myself; it’s no Tomb Raider III or Dead or Alive 2, or even Blood Rayne, but it’s better than people give it credit for. These flaccid little plant-eaters are fond of inserting the letters IMHO before or after everything they write that might be even the slightest bit original or controversial; well, my O isn’t even a little H, I just tell it like it is. So…not a spectacular game, no, but it’s worth playing if you dig my other stuff. Except Land of the Babes; if you liked that shit you should skip Duke Nukem Forever and just play Pokemon Browneye or whatever the newest one is called.
That brings me back again to accounting for the horrible scores. Could it be that an entire generation of establishment media whor… writers either hasn’t played or doesn’t understand Duke Nukem?
It’s more than possible, it’s likely. This crop of 20-30-something milk suckers doesn’t understand satire in any form, because they’ve all had their ability to recognize it educated right out of them. For example; most of them learned to read by identifying words as percepts, as symbols, which stunts a child’s conceptual faculty at a time when it should just be starting to develop. As a result, they never learned to examine something — anything — on an abstract level and say to themselves, “hey, this shit could quite possibly stand for something else!” They don’t look at me, Duke Nukem the Original Badass, and even once consider that while my games aren’t Horatian satires in the mold of, let’s say, Dr. Strangelove, or The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, I myself am a satirical character.
You’re blowing my mind a little, Duke. How are you a satirical character? What do you satirize?
That overbearing, testosterone-driven, skirt-chasing, overtly physical, musclebound, cement-headed dick-thinker that everyone knew at the end of the 80s and the beginning of the 90s. The Duke who saved the world in 1996 was already an exaggeration of this guy, and I think most people got it at the time, except those who wanted to ban Duke 3D for its “obscenity.” Nobody gets it anymore; for one thing because it’s been so long since anyone has seen the overbearing musclebound dick-thinker that they’ve forgotten what a parody of him would look like, and for another, like I said, most people can’t draw abstract concepts from fiction on their own; they need to have these things spoon fed to them by some tenured tool of the literati.
What have you got on your plate for the future? Any upcoming projects that you can talk about?
I’m going to find some ugly alien bastard, rip out his eye, and pee on his brain. How’s that for a future project?
I would expect nothing less. Thanks for coming in and chatting with me, Duke.
Blow it out your ass.