Is There Really A Place For Duke Nukem Anymore?

I was semi pleased when the game was cancelled. Obviously, my thoughts went out to all those who had worked hard and were losing employment — but at the same time, I feel like we've moved on from the Duke Nukem character. Does he even matter anymore?

I vaguely remember my brother playing Duke Nukem on one of our first family computers. The game was not subtle, far from it in fact. I specifically remember one particular moment during the game where Duke throws some cash at a prostitute, imploring her to, "Shake it baby".

I don't find the subject particularly controversial. The depiction of women, nor Duke Nukem's character, does little to offend me. I simply find it all a bit childish. And in many ways, Duke Nukem epitomised the video game stereotype. Reference as many teen comedy movies as you like, Duke Nukem is embarassing. And that's why I wonder if there's truly a place for it anymore.

It feels like Forever's boat has sailed. If it came out in the very late 90s/early 00s it would have been fine. People would have played it and moved on. But the video game landscape has changed. Assuming Gearbox can bring 3D Realms' work in-line with the current first-person standard, the character basis still concerns me.

Flicking through some of the hands-on previews from yesterday's PAX announcement, I find myself somewhat bemused. The demo opens with Nukem taking a piss. You actually pull the trigger to unleash Duke's stream. Nothing sums up Duke Nukem better than an opening involving a steaming pool of tinkle, and admittedly it made me smile. But I don't think I'd ever want someone to see me playing it.

Later in the demo, the footage pans out to show Nukem playing a video game. Fine. The two ladies in dress-up though, move up from Duke's crotch area wiping their mouth. It's no more suggestive than, say, Grand Theft Auto, but it's done in such a crude manner. Again, I wouldn't want someone to see me playing it.

The franchise is clearly aimed at teenage boys, and that's fine. Honestly, I don't really have a problem with it. We all grow up and go through that phase right? But the phase has long passed for those who remember Duke Nukem. Long passed. And as such, I'm not sure who Duke Nukem Forever's aimed at. The impressionable teens of 2010 are all about the slang on Modern Warfare 2 and the tits on PinkWorld. They don't care about Duke Nukem.

If there's still a place for the franchise, then good luck to Gearbox. But I just can't see it. To me, the return of Duke Nukem is probably the least exciting thing in video games right now. I'm sure the game will be fine — in fact, I want it to be fine. But man... Duke Nukem. Really?

“Twiggy” is an anonymous PushSquare columnist who has been spotted in three major cities across the globe. It’s rumoured he’s on the run from the British monarchy who accused him of treason.