Stir: Duke Nukem

It’s fair to say Duke Nukem can be labeled an anti-hero.  Brian Kinnaird, Ph.D. in his Psychology Today article entitled “The Hero In You” relates the following about the label anti-hero.

Ash - Evil Dead

“Scholarly definitions of anti-hero are few and far between. When listing it for the first time in 1940, Merriam-Webster’s New International Dictionary, Second Edition, the term “anti-hero” was printed without a definition. By 1992, the American Heritage Dictionary defined anti-hero only as “a character in a narrative work without heroic qualities.” The 11th Edition of Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary defined anti-hero as “a protagonist lacking in heroic qualities.” In each account, not much attention was given to the actual performance of heroic acts; anti-heroes were only portrayed as villainous.”

Kratos - God Of War

The real question is this; why do we love anti-heroes?  Our entertainment and pop culture is filled with anti-heroes, and we flock to them – more so than the old fashioned super-heroes.   Consider the characters pictured in this article – and what makes them as popular as they are.

Kinnaird goes on to state what I believe to be the key to our infatuation with anti-heroes.

“I’ve seen ordinary people take matters into their own hands and good cops do bad things when their morality is predicated on a broken system of law and justice. Replaced by the commandment of “an eye for an eye,” their moral perspective seeks harmony and restoration through vengeance and suffering.

Themes of retributive justice are widespread and carry the anti-hero traits that force us to personally examine our own ethical boundaries”

It all comes back to what we see in ourselves.  What we believe we would or would not be capable of justifying morally and ethically.  Perhaps clinging to heroes with such obvious flaws helps us to realize that each of us, with our own flaws, can also be a hero.


The Man With No Name

Scott diMonda | WCC5723 | ProfileTwitter | Hail to the King Baby!  I can’t wait. The little bit of time we had with the game (at PAX) had me wanting more.

Nathan Hardisty | Bananahs | ProfileTwitter | Duke Nukem 3D was the second ever first-person shooter I ever played, and the most blatant sexually exploitive game I had ever played at that time. I was around six years old. Yes. Strippers, one-liners and testosterone at six years old. I am so awesome. There was something to it that just got me all jitterbugging, and then it went away. I settled into chewing through consoles and games, until I caught whiff of Forever and it being a running joke in the medium. When 3D Realms died, I was saddened, I didn’t expect anything. Seeing Duke again has brought out little Nathan Hardisty, and I’m playing that Megadeath theme over and over.

Duke Nukem Forever is less about the game itself and more about the gamers and developers. It’s one of the biggest relationships between designers and gamers, going back and forth for over twelve years. When Duke returns, it shall be a celebration.

It’s time to kick ass and chew bubblegum.  And I’m all out of gum.

Dexter Morgan - Dexter

Andrew Hunt | Boss Kamikaze | ProfileTwitter | To be honest I don’t care for the game at all. With all the other great games coming out from now, until 2011. Duke Nukem Forever will have to do something… amazing. Just to get me interested in the franchise again.

William Johnson | StylelessKnave | ProfileTwitter | I dont believe Duke Nukem is worth the effort to develop, or the sixty dollars to buy. But this is from a person who didn’t find Duke’s type of humor funny nor interesting. At the time of it’s popularity, I had WWF Raw. And now that I’m of age and matured as a gamer some what, I dont really care for Duke’s hijinks and I still dont fit my humor with his. And while rumors of the game coming to the light have been a fun, common gaming myth of sorts, I honestly wish it would have stayed that way. I’ll be passing this game for something better next year.

Agent 47 - Hitman

Stewart Loosemore | Stigweird85 |  ProfileTwitter |

I missed the Duke, when I was younger my parents had a Macintosh and not a PC, and even if it was available on the Mac(I’m not sure) My parent would not have bought the game for me, or even let me play it.(I was restricted to age appropriate games) Consequently I am not really concerned or interested in this news, I sure that at one point the franchise meant something to people and maybe still does but personally I think that we have long since past the time for taking Duke behind the shed and putting him out his misery.

Mike Murphy | Chibi_Mike | Profile | Duke is obviously very much of a certain time period.

While much of what will be in this game is sure to make the too-cool-for-school politically correct hipsters in the room sneer and turn up Radiohead on their ipods, I’m looking forward to giving the title a fair shot.

While Duke at one time was the equivalent of a knowing wink and nod to players who grew up in the age of Rambo and Commando, I think Forever is going to be a much-needed middle finger to those of us who have forgotten how to take a joke.

That being said, the game itself could be horrible. Hopefully Gearbox can update that which needs updating, while retaining the spirit of the original project. It’d be a shame for this thing to finally get off the ground, only to have it play like a relic from before the days of the modern shooter.

Hold right trigger to piss. I think that says it all.

Vincent Vega & Jules Winnfield - Pulp Fiction

Rane Pollock | Gemini Ace | ProfileTwitter | I’m all for the resurrection of Duke Nukem.  I think it will be interesting to see if he can become relevant again in the gaming world.  Gaming has changed a lot since we last had a proper Duke game and I wonder if he’ll be able to grab the younger generation of gamers that never played his other games.

Honestly, if he is to come back with any success, I think it’ll have to be with his tongue planted firmly in his cheek.  Almost as a parody of himself.  There are so few games that come out that are funny without being junk.  Duke could really bust through that barrier if done right.  Otherwise I think we’ll get another Matt Hazard game and we all know how that turned out.

Gearbox should be looking at movies like The Expendables and Kick Ass for inspiration.  Not plot wise, but just stylistically.  Duke is over the top, big guns, and hot chicks.  They need to aim for a M rating and then blast it with a missile.  Nothing else will do in my opinion.

The Characters of Grand Theft Auto

Jordan Silverthorne | Silverthorne | Profile | As a Texas native, I’m damn proud of Gearbox for taking up the slack and secretly finishing off Duke Nukem Forever.  We’ve been seeing screenshots and footage of this game since… what, 1998?  All the project really needed was some good ol’ boys in Dallas to put their boots down and get to work.  Sure, Duke Nukem may not be the greatest role model ever, but the franchise represents some of the guiltiest forms of escapism, and I respect that.  Let’s just hope the game isn’t a huge letdown; maybe now Duke won’t be the biggest joke in gaming anymore.

D. Demitrius Smith | DDSmitty | Profile | I was lucky enough to play the Duke demo (at PAX), and it was a blast. After all this time, Duke is still Duke: the language, the nudity, the gore, the one-liners…everything Duke fans love. And therein lies my dilemma.

When I last played Duke, I was not married, had no kids, and lived alone. I played duke in my living room, and it was great.  Now, I’m married, have two 5 year olds, and there is no way I’ll be able to keep this game in my house, let alone play it. I might as well try to keep porn on the coffee table.

So, now I’m looking for contractors to build a secret room in my house where I will be able to play the game without any prying eyes…


Gregory House - House M.D.

Chris Forbis | MensaDad| ProfileTwitter | I used to play the Nukem games and enjoyed them.  The whole shock value of being so politically incorrect about everything was different and in many ways, entertaining.  Skip forward twelve years and much has changed.  What we find offensive, and what we find humorous has changed.  I hope that Duke has evolved to keep him fresh and witty instead of just being dumb.  Having the game in the hands of Gearbox Software and 2K Games gives me a good vibe – because they put out quality entertainment.  If anyone can bring the franchise up to date and recapture the fan-base – Gearbox can.

The rules for Stir are simple.  I pick a topic and ask the Platform Nation writers, editors and staff to send me their opinions.  Thanks go out to all the Platform Nation writers who contributed to Stir this week.  They are all part of the best writing team in the industry and I couldn’t do this without them.

Now, drop down into the comment box below and let us know what YOU think about Duke Nukem or your favorite anti-hero.

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  • i can’t wait for the Duke to return. I still have my pre-order from what must be 1 years ago and its still valid. I was gutted when it looked like the gae had been killed last year and I read all the leaked scripts and watched the leaked videos/screens etc.