In under a decade, I've graduated from high school, had two girlfriends, learned to play the guitar, gotten kicked out of Golden Corral for eating too much in one sitting, and tricked my French teacher into thinking I was colorblind. I accomplished all this for under a thousand bucks.
So I can see how sinking millions of dollars over ten years of development on a long-forgotten gaming series like Duke Nukem can seem kind of pathetic, if not laughable. Duke Nukem Forever has become irrelevant to a generation of gamers, and for most people, the financial troubles and the astounding development delays at developer 3D Realms were the nails in the coffin.
But I have a different take on this.
I consider myself a hardcore gamer, and I can safely say that Duke Nukem Forever was completely off my radar. It's not like I didn't know who Duke Nukem was; I knew he was like Guile from Street Fighter 2, except with firearms and a taste for sleazy women. But other than what I heard in passing from my PC-gaming uncle, I really didn't care about Duke or his legacy. That is, I read an article last year about the biggest video game disasters and the decade-long gaffe that was Duke Nukem Forever.
I was intrigued. I began to research the different entries in the Nukem series and their impact on the gaming world. And now I'm actually looking forward to Duke Nukem Forever's release in 2011.
Some people have argued that because the game spent so long in development, everyone will be too exasperated to give a rat's ass when it comes out. My counter to that is that very few people actually followed the Nukem fiasco all the way through.
Duke Nukem, even upon its initial release, had a much older audience than games like Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda. The series was already under fire for its stale, subpar sequels, and its few remaining fans (like my uncle) didn't have time to track Duke Nukem Forever's progress with jobs, families, and life in general to deal with.
As for my generation of gamers, now in college, I doubt many of us even knew about the game until a year ago — if that. I don't have 10-plus years of pent up frustration to make me skeptical of Duke Nukem Forever. All I have is a few months of speculation and intrigue.
And, while Duke Nukem's immaturity may turn some people off, I kind of welcome it. In a world full of gritty and predictable protagonists who are ruggedly handsome, I think the traditional chauvinist who intentionally delivers cheesy dialogue might be refreshing. It'll be like DeathSpank meets Halo.
By making fun of its setbacks and publicly joking about its development time, Duke Nukem Forever has intrigued a new generation of fans, and, while I seriously doubt it'll sell enough copies to recoup its financial hemorrhaging, I think the game may successfully reintroduce Duke to the gaming world.
And I'll be damned if I'm not waiting to pick up a copy.