Monday, January 31, 2011

"What're you waitin' for, Christmas?"

During my childhood, my lack of athletic prowess wasn't as debilitating as it was to the other kids' social lives. When my feet touched a football during lunchbreak, it generally resulted in disaster. Countless break-times were lost to searching in ditches for elusive balls, or spent apologizing to the girl on the adjoining basketball court who took the brunt of my toepeg to the face.

These things mattered little, for I had a secret weapon. For you see, dear reader, I had Duke Nukem 3D, a game that stood out from the crowd by offering a protagonist was a pastiche of swear-happy action stars, spitting out countless hilarious (and context-sensitive!) one-liners as the bloodbath ensued on screen.

Classmates would call over to the house, demanding to see in person this wondrous game featuring scenes of ultra-violence, swearing, and nudity. I'd fire up Episode 1, Level 2, turn on the weapon cheats, and walk them through a well-rehearsed romp through the 'Red Light District', blowing up the enemies to prompt Duke's taunt of "Blow it out yer ass!", showing off the amount of in-game objects that could be fiddled with (flush toilets! flick light switches! play snooker!), and of course, spending plenty of time in the strip-club using up Duke's endless supply of scrunched up hundred-dollar bills.

It probably sounds a lot lewder than it was - the tone of the game was goofy - the graphics were cartoony, the violence was comically exaggerated, and the fidelity of the nudity would only titillate the type of person aroused by wood-grain patterns. The 'adult content' was the hook, but I played and replayed this game because it's a phenomenal one. When I revisited the game two years ago, it passed the test of time - a feat few other games and movies from my childhood have managed.

The wait for the sequel has been painful - for over 12 years a trickle of magazine articles and screenshots have kept me updated on the game I've waited half a lifetime for, and finally, the end of the wait is in sight.

When I consider the game from a rational point of view, I know that nothing could be worth that long of a wait, but emotionally, I'm preposterously excited to play this game. The trailer came out a week ago, and I've watched it at least a dozen times - this is the same obsessive behaviour I engaged in back in the day with promotional VHS cassettes that came with gaming magazines. Looking at the trailer critically, I don't find it entirely compelling, but then I feel those old irrational feelings of excitement stirring up:

Hail to the king, baby.

1 comment:

Gammagoblin said...

They've pushed the release date back again!! It's gone to May 2011 now. I don't think it will ever be released.

Duke Nukem 3D was the first game I designed levels for. Oh mighty they were: 2 mile long corridors with 20 degree bends. Corners so tight that if you walked into them you'd never get out again. What a mighty game it was.