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Duke Nukem

Gearbox artist slams Dragon's Crown character design

May 01 // Jim Sterling
As one might expect, Hamm's comments have drawn considerable heat from Dragon's Crown fans, particularly on NeoGAF. Gearbox's own history of female design has been brought up multiple times in response to the criticism, with Borderlands' Mad Moxxi and Duke Nukem Forever's entire existence providing alleged examples of similar female objectification.  Images such as the one above have been used to refute Hamm's point, though to be fair, it's worth pointing out that Hamm is responsible only for Gearbox's environmental art, and her own designs of female characters are both tasteful and quite excellent. Still, gender issues are treacherous waters, and it's inevitable Gearbox's history would be part of the splashback.  That said, it's also been argued that Gearbox's designs as they stand can't be compared to Dragon's Crown's overtly exaggerated characters.  "Nothing in Borderlands posted so far is remotely in the same ballpark," said one NeoGAF poster.  Indeed, while Moxxi clearly has her breasts on show, she is at least sensibly proportioned and her costume actually fits the context of her character. She's not going out to battle dressed in that attire, she's supposed to be an entertainer and the owner of a bar with a deliberately titillating aesthetic. That's not to say she's designed inherently "better" than Tamikani's characters, but it's hard to compare the two in this particular discussion.  In any case, the Dragon's Crown debate rages on, even as those who claim to be tired of it continue to post in forum and comment threads every time it comes up. Indeed, this shows no signs of going away yet.  Still, this is probably the most advertising a Vanillaware game's ever gotten.
Dragon's Crown photo
The boob wars continue
The Dragon's Crown "thing" shows no sign of stopping, with vehement and sometimes venomous opinions flying this way and that. To bring you up to speed, Vanillaware's upcoming brawler features a big-boobed Sorceress, the desig...

Always bet on Duke photo
Always bet on Duke

The REAL Duke Nukem Forever released 16 years later


DNF 2013 is based on levels from original DNF trailer
May 01
// Allistair Pinsof
Gearbox's Duke Nukem Forever may be a let down, but things are looking up with the release of a fan-made mod that recreates Duke Nukem Forever's E3 2001 trailer in the Duke Nukem 3D engine. The results are glorious. Let me t...
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Devolver Digital giving Steam discount codes to fans


Serious Sam publisher making it rain up in here
Apr 18
// Jim Sterling
If you own Serious Sam 3: BFE, you may notice you've received a discount coupon for Duke Nukem 3D: Megaton Edition. Conversely, if you own Megaton Edition, you've received a discount coupon for BFE.  Devolver Digital is ...
Duke on Steam photo
Duke on Steam

Duke Nukem 3D kills alien scum on Steam


Shake it, baby
Mar 20
// Fraser Brown
Remember when Duke Nukem was an entertaining parody with top notch level design? You know, before Forever finally came out and proved that, sometimes, good things don't come to those who wait. If Gearbox's attempt at re...
Duke Nukem II photo
Duke Nukem II

Duke's back, baby! Duke Nukem II iOS revealed


Come get some...again!
Mar 15
// Raz Rauf
3D Realms is back, and that can only mean one thing -- Duke Nukem. To celebrate the 20th anniversary of Duke Nukem II, 3D Realms and Interceptor Entertainment have announced a upgraded re-release of the '90s game for iOS dev...
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Grab a free copy of Duke Nukem 3D from GOG.com


PC and Mac versions, now through Friday
Dec 12
// Jordan Devore
There's something about the first-person shooters of the '90s that makes them (some of them) still hold up to this day. I mean, Duke Nukem 3D shouldn't be aesthetically pleasing to me in 2012, but the old sprite-based charac...
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Duke Nukem reads an excerpt from 50 Shades of Gray


Jul 19
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Last weekend at ConnectiCon 2012, the guys from Team Four Star made Jon St. John read from 50 Shades of Gray in the Duke Nukem voice. From what I've been told, this book is like the next Twilight. Based on this excerpt read by Jon, it's safe to say I never ever want to talk about 50 Shades of Gray ever again. Duke Nukem, 50 Shades of Gray Fan [Topless Robot]
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Pitchford: Duke Nukem Forever is exactly like Half-Life 2


Jul 17
// Jim Sterling
Most reasonable gamers would consider Duke Nukem Forever, on its own, is a big enough insult to the industry. Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford, however, has decided to take the mockery further by comparing it to one of the most be...
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Duke Nukem tackles Dr. Proton in The Doctor Who Cloned Me


Dec 13
// Conrad Zimmerman
Duke Nukem Forever has new DLC now available on PSN and Xbox Live. "The Doctor Who Cloned Me" features a new single-player campaign which sees Duke facing off against classic franchise villain, Dr. Proton, and coming face-to...
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First DLC pack for Duke Nukem Forever now available


Oct 12
// Brett Zeidler
The first DLC pack for Duke Nukem Forever, "Hail to the Icons Parody Pack," is now available because you demanded it. If you were part of the Duke Nukem Forever First Access Club, the DLC comes to you absolutely free of charg...
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By popular demand: Duke Nukem Forever gets DLC next week


Oct 06
// Kyle MacGregor
Duke Nukem Forever DLC. Like a terrible birthday gift from a close relative, you just have to force that smile as a disingenuous "Thank you!" escapes your cringing lips. Except you won't be able to run to the PlaySt...
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Apogee titles 50% this weekend at Good Old Games


Sep 11
// Alasdair Duncan
The name Apogee disappeared sometime in the mid-'90s, but not before having a sizeable impact on both PC games and first-person shooters. Between 1993 and 1996, Apogee published a series of over-the-top shooters that def...
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The DTOID Show: Now with a helping of Jim Sterling!


Aug 22
// Tara Long
Oh hey there, Destructoid. I didn't see you come in. I was just watching this evening's episode of The Destructoid Show, starring myself and Mr. Jim Sterling. Oh, and Max makes an appearance, too... I guess. First up on toda...
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Rumor: Gearbox rebooting Duke Nukem in next game


Aug 22
// Jim Sterling
According to Official Xbox Magazine (in the same column that namedropped Fable IV), Gearbox Software is aiming to give Duke Nukem a complete reboot once it's wrapped up production on Aliens: Colonial Marines.  The first ...
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Details on the Parody Pack add-on for Duke Nukem Forever


Jul 26
// Jordan Devore
Downloadable content for Duke Nukem Forever is on the way. And while it's not at all compelling to those who aren't into the game's multiplayer, at least it's free for First Access Club members. (You need to have registered b...
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Pachter claims Duke Nukem Forever sales will disappoint


Jul 06
// Jim Sterling
Industry analyst Michael "Was Angry At Jim For A Bit" Pachter has cut his estimates for Duke Nukem Forever's sales performance in half, claiming that the game didn't have an impressive run at retail and won't be among 2011's ...
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Duke Nukem Forever headed to Mac this August


Jun 27
// Nick Chester
After a long, long wait (of only a few months) Duke Nukem Forever is coming to Mac, courtesy of Aspyr Games.It'll be out this August, and it sounds like a direct port of the long-awaited shooter. If you don't know what Duke N...
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These women are offended by Duke Nukem Forever


Jun 26
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
College Humor's sister site, Dorkly, got some women to play through Duke Nukem Forever. I was pissed off for all the same reasons too.
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Does Duke Nukem Forever suck? Download the demo!


Jun 23
// Nick Chester
Most critics agree: Duke Nukem Forever sucks. After more than 10 years of waiting, it ain't all that. Jim Sterling reviewed it for Destructoid and called it a "miserable, lifeless, grotesque little game."But who listens to cr...
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New Destructoid Episode: DLC, DNF, WWJD, GTFO


Jun 22
// Max Scoville
Hey gang, we've got another episode of The Destructoid Show dedicated to all the hard-hitting post-E3 news from the past couple days. That was a joke. There's a demo out for Duke Nukem Forever which hopefully has poop a...
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Gearbox Community Day: Pitchford, Duke and 2,000+ fans


Jun 22
// Allistair Pinsof
John Carmack and Warren Spector may have more history behind them, but no Texas game developer throws a party like Gearbox Software CEO Randy Pitchford. Last week, Pitchford and other key staff hosted Gearbox Community Day in...
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Take-Two: There will be more Duke Nukem


Jun 21
// Jim Sterling
Unsurprisingly, Duke Nukem Forever is a commercial success in spite of being a creative dog. Even less surprisingly, Take-Two is going to capitalize on that by giving the world more Duke. He is more certainly back.  "Par...
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New Destructoid Episode: Butt Saints Hacked!


Jun 20
// Tara Long
Good evening, gentle readers. Come in, make yourself at home. I'll throw a log on the fire and crack open a bottle of wine. Why don't you slip into something a little more comfortable while I run down the day's news? First...
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Danish studio developing Duke Nukem 3D: Reloaded


Jun 20
// Jim Sterling
Have you had enough Duke with Duke Nukem Forever? No? Turns out a small Danish studio called Interceptor Entertainment is right there with you, as it's working on a high-def remake of Duke Nukem 3D.  Duke Nukem 3D: Reloa...
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The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Forever


Jun 20
// Jim Sterling
I was thinking this morning how people have been telling us to give Duke Nukem Forever a break because it's so old, despite Ocarina of Time 3D holding up pretty well. I then realized that, rather than Duke, you can instead always bet on Link.  Then this video happened.
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New Destructoid Episode: Jimmy Fallon Steals All Our News


Jun 17
// Max Scoville
Move it, football-head. It's Friday, so today's episode of The Destructoid Show was carefree and whimsical. Here's the rundown: Jimmy Fallon, that guy who was in Taxi with Queen Latifah, sometimes covers video game news on h...
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Duke Nukem voice actor slams 'clueless' critics


Jun 17
// Jim Sterling
Duke Nukem voice actor Jon St. John has written off negative reviews of Duke Nukem Forever as coming from "clueless" critics. These, of course, are the same critics that would have been quoted on press releases had they said ...

The Duke Delusion: Why Duke Nukem isn't a parody

Jun 16 // Jim Sterling
There seems to be two very distinct Duke Nukems. There's the "ideal" of Duke Nukem, and the "reality" of Duke Nukem. The ideal is the one that you'll hear Gearbox's Randy Pitchford talk about in interviews -- he's witty, he's sexy, he's an extreme character who parodies the action genre and dishes out extreme loads of asskicking.  Then there's the reality -- a series that doesn't so much parody an existing property as parody itself. Duke Nukem is really about action that falls flat in comparison to other, more competent examples of the genre, with a character who spouts unfunny, stolen dialog in a dry, flat, borderline monotone style of delivery. There is simply no joke in play when you examine Duke with a mind free of preconception. If he's intended as a comedy character, then the results have truly failed. Duke Nukem has survived in our minds as an over-the-top, hilarious pastiche. When you peel away the marketing hype and the character we've partially invented in our collective mind, however, you'll see something quite different. Duke Nukem is not what we think he is.  Apologists will tell you that Duke Nukem is a satirical creation. They claim his misogynistic attitudes and sociopathic tendencies are meant to mock cheesy action films and typical videogame heroes. It's easy to sit back and say Duke is a parody, but let me ask -- what exactly is he parodying? Duke treats women like shit and his games portray females as ditzy sluts who exist only to satisfy Duke's urges. To the best of my knowledge, the films of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone have never been about that. To my mind, the majority of first-person-shooter games fail to include a character like Duke. He's more of an original character than we give him credit for, but that is by no means a positive thing. It's more factual to say that Duke creates a problem, rather than highlights and mocks an existing one. We pretend Duke Nukem makes fun of action heroes, but action heroes don't inhabit titty bars and spend their time getting blowjobs from women in school uniforms. When Duke delivers cheesy one-liners, he's not making a joke, because the one-liners have been ripped verbatim from movies like Army of Darkness and robbed of their original context. Duke makes direct, sincere references or outright steals from action movies. He does nothing to make fun of them, he simply mimics them at best, and that's not enough.  For a parody to work, you have to have context. It can be from a comedian expressing an opinion in an overtly extreme manner that runs contradictory to what we actually know about his personality. It can be something like The Onion, that uses a straight-faced news presentation to describe fantastical and unbelievable events. What it can't be is a man who simply acts like a dick without consequence, irony, or comparative extremity. It can't be something that pretends to have a message while saying absolutely nothing.  The Police Squad series makes fun of detective stories by juxtaposing gritty murder mysteries and stereotypical noir characters against an absurdly ineffectual protagonist and a variety of ridiculous situations. Stephen Colbert makes fun of political pundits by taking their attitudes and applying them to nonsensical, sometimes abstract conclusions, presented by a character whose opinions are too extreme to take seriously. Duke Nukem "parodies" action films by ... doing what? Copying their dialog? That's not enough to qualify for parody status. It's more like plagiarism at best. I offer you The Simpsons' McBain character as an example of action hero parody done right. McBain is very clearly a spoof of Arnold Schwarzeneggar. His one-liners aren't just stolen from Arnold's movies, they're intentionally less clever and more convoluted, with quips such as, "Right now I'm thinking of holding another meeting ... in bed." His scenes in The Simpsons frequently show him doing outrageously heroic things, such as delivering Unicef pennies to starving children, jumping out of planes while on fire, and bursting out of ice statues with the power of his rippling biceps. The character is outrageously audacious, and that's why he's a successful parody.  Outrageous exaggeration is key to a good parody, and Duke has never really been outrageous. The flat delivery from Jon St. Jon, the fairly standard FPS combat situations he finds himself in, and the fact that he is presented -- both within the game and without by developers -- as a genuinely affable, cool, and witty individual, creates a character that comes across as grotesquely sincere in its rather disgusting commentary on females and the idea that Duke Nukem is what every man should try to be like.  Duke Nukem is not over-the-top. Compare his games to those such as Serious Sam or Bulletstorm. In those games, the action is relentless, the characters highly exaggerated, and the humor hard to miss. Sam "Serious" Stone sounds functionally retarded and fights with a handheld cannon against an overwhelming assortment of farcical and impractically designed enemies, while Bulletstorm's characters go out of their way to come up with nonsensically vulgar lines such as, "I will kill your dick." Again, take a look back to Duke, a character whose games are shockingly slow paced when compared to other shooters, and whose lackluster dialog is concerned more with aping smooth one-liners than trying to make anybody laugh. Duke is never allowed to be uncool. That's why his writers play it safe by refusing to let him have any self-deprecating lines or deliberately awful one-liners. You won't catch Duke Nukem making a lame pun like McBain -- unless it's a pun directly copied from an existing film, because heaven forbid Duke be allowed to sound stupid all on his own. Even then, when he does spout a lame quip, he doesn't do so in a comically awkward way like successful spoofs do -- it's always said with utter confidence, and nobody will ever call him out on it.  It's not enough to justify the Duke character by calling him a parody, because he has done nothing to earn that distinction. His character is not exaggerated, his games are fairly mundane, the majority of dialog is stolen from the genre that's meant to be parodied, and Duke as a character is presented as genuinely competent and beloved, the man we're supposed to look up to. These are not the ingredients for parody, regardless of what the developer intends -- or claims to intend.  This is not about whether or not Duke Nukem is funny. I don't say Duke Nukem isn't parody because he doesn't make me laugh (although obviously he doesn't). I'm saying the ingredients that make a comedy character into a comedy character simply are not there. Just listen to Randy speak -- he genuinely comes across as a guy who loves Duke and thinks he is awesome. Any successful parody would have turned Duke into something wretched and pitiful, not adored and envied. Any parody -- funny or not -- will be able to at least point to evidence of its intention. Duke Nukem cannot do this. You can easily tell me that my own dabbling in satire and parody isn't funny, but I can at least provide evidence in the extremity or redundancy of the opinions, and the deliberate contradictions in the writing, as evidence of intent. You're free to say it's unfunny (plenty do!) but only a dullard couldn't see the point.  Duke looks more like a celebration of the stupid, the hateful, and the psychopathic than a condemnation of it. His games carry a tone of sincerity to them due to unoriginal dialog, mundane performances, and bog-standard gameplay, and when challenged, Duke's supporters cannot provide evidence to the contrary. One fan hit me up on Twitter after my review of Duke Nukem Forever and said it was obvious that Duke Nukem was a parody. When I asked him what Duke did to qualify as a parody, rather than simply being an example of the thing it was supposed to parody, he just kept repeating -- "It's obvious. Just play the game. It's obvious." No, it isn't obvious, otherwise we wouldn't be having this conversation.  That is why Duke is not a parody, and the character we think he is qualifies as nothing more than a group-contrived delusion. 
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I used to love Duke Nukem. Rather, I loved the entity that I believed Duke Nukem to be. Like many of you, I once thought of him as a funny joke, an exaggeration of action videogames whose balls-to-the-wall attitude could only...

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PR firm threatens reviewers over Duke Nukem Forever


Jun 16
// Jim Sterling
PR firm The Redner Group has been fired by 2K Games after threatening to blacklist those reviewers deemed too "venomous" in their appraisal of Duke Nukem Forever. It later transpired that the threat was an unplanned and rash ...
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New Destructoid Episode: Duke Nukem, Catherine, and Wii U


Jun 15
// Max Scoville
Hey gang, long time no typing. In the wake of E3, I am suffering from what the experts are referring to as "nerd flu," but which is more likely a hybrid of the T-Virus, Captain Trips, and the Legacy Virus. In spite of Kinect...

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