On September 14th, after getting to the third campaign mission of Halo: Reach, my friend sent me a message. It read, “Halo sux. Play Duke Nukem.”
I thought he disliked Halo but was just having fun, so I replied with “Oh no. How can I refuse!?”
Then he replied with a message that went something around the words of “If you need regenerating shields then you are no longer bro tier. Play a real game like Duke Nukem or Doom.”
This is the point where I realized he wasn't just playing around. These were fanboy levels of hate.
Duke Nukem Forever is the long awaited prodigal son of 90s shooters. Halo has long been a divisive franchise between loyal fans and harsh critics.
So why have I given Halo another chance while Duke Nukem, even after PAX, is not on my radar?
The simple answer is that there's a generation gap. Halo picked me up where Duke Nukem could have but didn't.
Let me get this out of the way. I bought Reach on a whim when I got an Amazon gift card. I wanted to take advantage of Amazon's awesome $20 video game preorder promotion, so I decided on preordering Reach so that I could get $20 off Call of Duty: Black Ops.
My history with Halo isn't so deep. I played the first Halo and after beating it, I realized I didn't enjoy going through the campaign a whole lot. Halo 2 pretty much came and went for me. I had yet to have an Xbox Live account.
Then Halo 3 and the marketing blitz hit like a lead train with rockets attached to the caboose. I finally got to play online matchmaking and the the total mayhem was certainly fun. Am I going to justify Halo against Duke Nukem here? No.
Here's the big thing: I was completely taken in by Bungie's commitment to their fans. I visited Bungie.net because my statistics were constantly updating there for all to see. What I didn't expect to see was Bungie's total commitment to staying connected to their loyal fans.
New posts feeding information on new maps, screenshot highlights, Humpsday challenges against other organizations, and not to mention the seasonal playlist changes. I relished in the chance to play Infection on matchmaking whenever Halloween came around.
On the other hand, I'm just not interested in Duke Nukem. In the 90s, I was on consoles, not the pc. My idea of pc gaming in that time was that skiing game on Windows where the yeti comes out to eat you halfway down the slalom.
I'm sorry Duke, but Forever's been in development for upwards of ten years. Since 1997, I've gone from playing Mario Kart 64 with my middle school friends to Halo: Reach with fellow college graduates over Xbox Live.
During these ten years, Duke Nukem was the joke all the cool kids would crack when it came to delivering something late. I still have a chuckle at VGCats's goddamn comic of infamous characters in middle school. VG-freakin-Cats! If you frequent their website for updates, you'll see the irony of that. The artist has stopped advertising as updating weekly because he no longer pulls out comics that fast. And he's poking fun at Duke Nukem. The meta-ness is almost cosmic!
It's not Halo that's always been there for me. It's been Bungie. Bungie has been and looks to continue to be dedicated to their fanbase. Sorry Duke, but it's too little too late, at least for me.