There's going to be a Duke Nukem movie

Originally published at: There's going to be a Duke Nukem movie | Boing Boing


Speaking as someone whose first FPS was Duke Nukem 3D… this is going to be so cringeworthy.


Nah fam



For the life me I’ll never understand the obsession with Duke Nukem within the gaming community. Yes, I’ve played it - it was an OK Doom wannabe distinguished only by the 90’s extreme aesthetic and lots of misogyny, but the gameplay was completely forgettable. What’s the appeal? Or did I just answer my own question?


This neatly demonstrates the insanity of Hollywood right now. I mean, what is this actually based on? The 26 year old video game known for being “edgy” (in an extremely dated '90s video game kind of way) and its liberal use of '80s movie catchphrases? (And which was, if we’re being extremely charitable and casting it in the best possible light, a weak attempt at satire, but more just an exaggerated version of '80s movie action heroes and plots.) The earlier platformers that were completely unremarkable and now completely forgotten? The also forgettable, critically panned 11 year old game with weak sales (and, as far as I know, no devoted fan base either)? None of these are a good basis for a movie.

I’d argue that what “Duke Nukem” is, in fact, best known for is… not the games. Its real claim to fame is that 15 year period where a sequel was promised but not delivered - the hype/expectations, jokes about same, and general disappointment together became a palpable phenomenon whose cultural importance eclipsed that of any of the actual games. And that really isn’t the basis for a movie. (At least, not the kind of movie being discussed.)

I argue it’s not any of the actual games, but the sequel that never happened. Not the one that was (eventually) released, but the imaginary one that was in people’s heads for 15 years, that was both perfect and a joke. I’d argue that phenomenon also retroactively made Duke Nukem 3D more memorable, too - I suspect few would remember the original game if they never planned a sequel, or managed to release one on the original timeframe, a year or two later (which would have been mediocre and forgettable). Some of the people who played it at the time would remember a quirky - but embarrassing - game, at best.


Maybe it’s going to be a “woke” Nukem… :man_shrugging:


I don’t even know how that would work. If you want to do a satire about hyper-macho '80s action movie characters, Duke Nukem seems like a poor entry to doing that.


Only way I could see this could work is if it was a Paul Verhoeven-style satire of the toxic masculinity and misogyny that was peak 1990s gamer culture.


Sadly toxic masculinity and misogyny still seem to be a large part of gamer culture.


Truth Agree GIF by Much


Hopefully the movie will ship with a really great level editor, since that was the only good thing about Duke Nukem


I was about to say something similar–it all depends on the execution.

I don’t like the odds, though.

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Ugh, kill it with fire. I had a lot of early gamer fun, but that stuff’s old already


For sure, but it was arguably even worse then.


I enjoyed the game. The topical gags, like the bar’s TV showing a police chase of a white Bronco, made me laugh.

However, Doom was the defining game of the era. And even then, the movie they made with big name stars like Karl Urban, Rosamund Pike, and The Rock, and featuring a FPS-view rampage, turned out to be not good. Trying again with a second rate game doesn’t make much sense.

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I was young then and didn’t play many video games, so I don’t have much of a reference for gamer culture during that time. I just know that Gamergate made me not even want to be associated with gamers anymore.

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I don’t blame you. There’s more than enough misogyny in contemporary gamer culture to imagine things probably couldn’t be much worse than they are now.

Then you learn about stuff like the rape simulator made for Atari back in the early 80s.


D3d was less Doom wanna be than the next peg on the tech advancement.

It had big outdoor areas, closer to 3d environments , and good level designs with a lot of verticality too them. The gimmick weapons, alternate fire modes.

Even very early (not good) mouse controls.

Together with the related 3d Realms games from the same time. Like Rise of the Triad and the even hoarier Shadow Warrior. That was the first time a lot of that had been done, or been done all together in a game that size.

So it was influential, and in the context of early fps games the mechanics hold up.

But the rest of it is just nostalgia, memes and discussion in a bubble. There’s no deep well of lore people are obsessed with. There’s not super fans of the Duke character and settings. The “humor” was barely funny at the time unless you were 12. Most of the references you can make are just one liners pulled directly from other things.

I’d be willing to bet most of the people obsessed with it only remember the 20 years of jokes about Forever.

Supposedly one of the discarded versions of the sequel involved an aging, pathetic Duke coming out of retirement and realizing everyone had actually hated him all along.


It was also one of the first games of its kind that let the player interact with the environment in ways that had no direct bearing on the gameplay. You could knock some pool balls around or blow up furniture or flush a toilet or wave a wad of bills at an exotic dancer. (Yes—you could interact with the women NPCs via sexual exploitation or deadly violence! The possibilities were endless!)


Uwe Boll does not appear to be part of the production team. Their argument is invalid