the artistry and psychology of gaming


Duke Nukem Forever

Duke Nukem Forever

The very first thing that you do in Duke Nukem Forever is to urinate in a toilet, while Duke makes an unfunny joke about “getting his thing out”. You go out, get a gun, kill a huge monster and then you find out this is actually a game that Duke is playing about himself, a game for which he waited for 12 years. Duke has two annoying lesbian girlfriends who will enrage every feminists, and the game begins. The first impression that the game leaves in you is the lasting impression, and the game remains the same.

It is evident that the game tries to be a parody. Clearly the game tries to mock the portrait of American conservative hero; and the presence of the schoolgirl lesbians and the strippers in the game doesn’t mean to appeal to horny teenage audience but to criticize the sexism of Hollywood and video games, and it’s evident that the game tries to be relevant and meaningful. The sad news is that it fails, miserably. I’m a great fan of offensive humor and courageous narration, but it simply doesn’t work. The jokes are unfunny, and petite. No one likes cliche innuendos.Instead of a witty humorist, the game comes out as the foul-mouthed douchebag who thinks he’s funny but actually annoys everyone. In addition to that, the gameplay is conventional and uninspiring, and you won’t really enjoy playing the game. And nothing can save a game from mediocre and boring gameplay, especially juvenile and unfunny humor.

Bottom line is, we can not only say that this game wasn’t worth 12 years of waiting, but also say that it wasn’t worth 6 month of waiting either. The game is bad, simply bad.


An action oriented FPS, the gameplay is similar to tradition FPSs as you have to kill your way through the levels until you reach a boss. You can interact with various in-game objects, which helps you increase your overall health. Unlike its predecessors, Duke can only hold two weapons plus some bombs at once. There are some items which can affect the Duke. Steroids increase the impact of Duke’s melee attacks, beer makes him resistant to damage (hint: beer doesn’t do that in the real life) A holoduke  makes him invisible and the enemies can’t find him. The jetpack also returns, but only in multiplayer. Instead of the health system featured in the previous Duke Nukem games and other traditional games in which health would be gained through health packs, Duke Nukem Forever employs an automatic regenerating system similar to newer games involving an “ego bar”. The ego bar depletes when Nukem is injured but if the player avoids further damage it’s restored. The player can increase the size of the ego bar by interacting with objects and defeating bosses. The game employs a saving system that only relies on checkpoints, and you have no hope of saving the game manually. In addition to all of these, there are some instances where you can drive a monster truck or other things.

If you miss the traditional FPS games, go and play an older game, because those games are much superior to this one. The gameplay remains flat and boring throughout the game and it’s never a lot of fun. You just have to kill a lot of stupid aliens who simply attack at you and nothing else, and the non-combat levels are short and mediocre as well. There’s no strategy or challenge in this game. There’s nothing rewarding in the gameplay. There are no innovative weapons anymore, and Duke’s famous “Mighty Boots” are gone. The game is also very easy and very short. The game simply fails to be entertaining, and it’s not worthy of the time you would devote to playing it.


I have already complained a lot about the low quality of the humor of this game, but that’s not enough, as the humor of this game is really disastrous. The jokes are cheap and juvenile and unfunny. The only place I believe these jokes would be considered entertaining are the high school class rooms, and the game doesn’t help it by joking after joking. Most of the jokes of this game are unfunny sexual innuendos. When you interact with billiard balls a girl says “Duke, you don’t have time to play with your balls”. Or when you manage to turn on a computer it says “you know how to turn on a girl”. I’m not taking these jokes out of the context because there’s no context, and they are forced. Such jokes are truly an insult to the intelligence of the gamer.

The game also tries to be funny and witty about politics and at times it taunts the political scene. Again, these jokes are crude and juvenile. When the president is trying to persuade Duke not to attack aliens before the negotiations, he says “We can’t just attack them for suspecting they might still have WMDs”. Now, I’m sure the developers thought this was a witty criticism against the policies of former president Bush, but it’s not.

I vouch for the political and social intentions behind this game. The game clearly mocks the patriotic, paternalistic, sexist, homophobic culture of today’s world, making fun of the empty heroes of our time. I don’t think the game is sexist because of its portrayal of women, or it’s homophobic because of some crude jokes and slurs (there’s a cigar called FAGG in the game) as it clearly intends to ridicule such notions. But the game is a big failure not because of its intentions but its execution.


And now remains the technicalities. The game remains mediocre in this aspect as well, as the graphics  is without any artistic aspiration, lacks details, and suffers from poor framerate. The visuals are ugly, the load time is frustrating, and the sound is poor. The voice actors don’t do a good job, and even if they did, that couldn’t compensate for the lack of any real lines to speak.

So, I’d say don’t throw away your money buying this game. If you miss Duke, go ahead and play Duke Nukem 3D. The game might be 12 years old, but it’s funnier, more shocking, and even more innovative.

One Comment

  1. It sounds like it’s not worth playing even if it’s free…

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