Sequels to Old Games
LofL has made me promise not to play Alice: Madness Returns without him. So instead of my release-day review of Madness Returns as promised I (grr) have to wait for him to finish “werking” or whatever that word was.
So instead, as a preview to my EPIC Madness Returns review (available soon from femmegamer Enterprises, Inc., Corp., & Sons), I thought I’d write about something topical that’s been bugging the shit out of me.
Has everyone seen the reviews for Duke Nukem? Specifically the ones that are like, “this game was so misogynistic it made my girlfriend’s hoo-hoo spout wiccans with battle-axes that we had to fend off at night whilst I slept otherwise they’d sacrifice my dick to the Moon Goddess and so violent I would have felt cleaner bathing in the blood of a goat that had been left outside in the hot sun to rot for a week, and it’s just SHOOTING and PIXELLATED TITTY how BORING I’ve been waiting for this game for so many years and OH HOW I AM DISAPPOINT”?
I entirely agree with them. Duke Nukem Forever is absolutely appalling. Where previous Duke Nukem games subtly discussed the tensions between the established Caucasian population and the influx of immigrants that the United States has, since its inception, welcomed and refused by turn depending upon the good graces of the voting pool, all while bearing in mind the trials foisted upon the waning, underprivileged indigenous population of the Americas, Duke Nukem Forever is a vulgar bloodbath.
Previous Duke Nukem games, through their subtle portrayal of woman as an equal, though sexual, being, revolutionized the gaming industry’s attitude towards girls as gamers — and as colleagues. As Valve Software’s Gabriella Newell is often quoted saying, “Duke Nukem paved the way for women in the gaming industry, and the world at large.”
Duke Nukem Forever, by contrast, focuses on women as faceless bodies, free of personality, or even any capacity at all beyond that of lurid glimpses of flesh that might only titillate the most desperate teenage boy.
There is even a section of the game wherein these women are carrying alien babies, which Duke aborts — a disgusting, shocking scene which crosses any sensible human being’s boundary of good taste.
Not only that, but given the undertones present elsewhere in the game, one is led to believe that these “alien abortions” are direct allusions to the interbreeding of Caucasian incumbents with immigrants — unwillingly on the part of Whites, who are portrayed as victims.
But the prejudice in Duke Nukem Forever is not merely aimed at perceived “invaders” — no, the Duke’s surroundings poke arrogant fun at everything that is not white nor its own backward assumption of “male”. I was most offended by a brand of cigarettes with the brand-name “Faggs” accompanied by a picture of what ignorant Americans would assume is the typical English dandy.
While it is true that the word “fag” in the U.K. does not signify a gay man, but rather, a cigarette, this not-so-clever pun is certainly not enough to save the game from offending much of its target audience.
Much of the game’s cleverness is of this shallow, at most one-chuckle humour — the kind of humour that appeals to twelve-year-old boys and their nyuk-nyuks and poop jokes.
Can we not look to the past for inspiration? Sequels to older series are supposed to be both the technological and spiritual successors to their prior iterations, but Duke Nukem Forever seems to be not a step forwards, but a step backwards from its complex, subtle, and genteel predecessors.
Similarly, the reviews for Alice: Madness Returns have exactly captured my impression of the game so far. I am midway through Chapter Two, and, as a die-hard American McGee’s Alice fan, I am sick to death of platforms!
– Alice M.