Most of the hubbub about Duke Nukem’ Forever has come and gone. We shared some laughs, shed some tears, dug out Gamestop receipts for preorders that were practically disintegrating.
Well, not me, I haven’t actually played the game, and don’t have much interest in doing so anyways.
“Now, hold on just one cotton picking second, Grahf.” I hear you say (although if you’re the average member of my audience thus far feel free to replace cotton picking with whatever string of random expletives you desire) “If you haven’t played the game then what right do you have to talk about it?”
Well, you’re right, or at least you would be if I were going to review the game or trash or praise it. But I’m not going to do any of that. Instead, I’m going to talk about what surrounded the game, and today specifically, I’m going to get a little meta, because honestly regardless of how the game itself actually was received, it marked the end of an era.
There’s way, way too much for me to talk about in this blog post, so I’ll only be covering a select few things, but for a mostly comprehensive listing, visit http://duke.a-13.net/ you’ll probably be surprised by some of the things that you’ll find in those annuls.
I believe that DNF will ultimately be remembered not for the culmination of the development into the game itself - a game whose only sin is what if review sites are to be trusted is being immediately average and mostly forgettable - it’s everything that was accomplished in the interim both for gaming and the world at large.
I mean, just consider this: when DNF was first announced, the Playstation was still going strong. No, I didn’t forget a number there, because it would be another three years before the Playstation 2 came onto the market much to the delight of Sony and the chagrin of any of their competitors (oh how times have changed…)
Think of how many franchises have come to fruition in the fourteen years. When DNF was first announced there was no such thing as Grand Theft Auto, or Assassin’s Creed, or Halo, or Super Smash Brothers. There was no Metal Gear Solid (although of course Metal Gear was around since the NES) no Call of Duty. And that’s a really, really short list.
Think of it another way. Anyone who picked up and played their first video game after 1997 and until about a month ago became a gamer in the time it took for DNF to launch. We’re talking hundreds of thousands if not millions of people discovering this hobby for the first time. We’ve seen the fall and rise of Nintendo, the rise and faltering of Sony, Sega bowing out of the console race, and the Xbox go from being a glimmer in Bill Gates’ eye to being a the solid competitor for Microsoft that few thought possible.
So, where am I going with this? Well, it’s all really just a matter of time. I mean sure, 14 years is stupidly long for any game to spend in development, but consider just how much things changed for the industry and the world as a whole in those 14 years. Back when DNF was first announced online gaming was something that few had the technology to seriously consider viable, the very video game blog you’re reading right now would have been a somewhat ludicrous concept all things considered. The idea that there would be live concerts featuring video game music would have probably gotten you laughed at, and gaming was still mostly considered something that only kids partake in.
I don’t really have a doubt that in another 14 years that there will have been changes just as ridiculous to us as they would appear to be to anyone that would be reading this in 97. But we’ll all still be here barring that 2012 nonsense or any other shit going down, and we’ll all pretty much be comfortable with it. But I think that without something to pin down and say “Wow, you know this was started in 2011, and now that it’s finally out look at all we’ve done in the meantime.” that all that progress might go sadly unnoticed for the most part.
Am I saying we need another vapourware giant? Truth be told I’m not quite sure myself. But let’s face it, if nothing else The Duke has put the world into some perspective. Kind of insightful for such a low brow guy, don’t you think?