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    jp's Duke Nukem Forever (PS3)

    [May 20, 2014 11:02:29 AM]
    Is this perhaps the most infamous videogame ever? (ET for the Atari 2600 might be up there as well).

    I guess I had to play it solely for that reason (and the right price, of course).

    I never played much of the original Duke Nukem, so the nostalgia factor was never an issue, and moreso I'm sure the game has a lot of nods and recognition to the original. It's definitely a no-nonsense and all-nonsense kind of game. And my experience was marginally entertaining. In an odd way.

    So, playing Duke Nukem felt both old and familiar as well as current. I've been thinking about why that is in terms of the design of the game. I'm also reflecting on my experience playing Doom at GDC after many years. It was quite amazing to see how different things were back then, how much has changed, and how early FPS game design focused on things that now seem kind of silly.

    Duke Nukem is surprisingly focused on "interaction". The designers have clearly gone out of their way to figure out how many things they can make interactive: toilets, sinks, weight machines, vending machines, etc. It's quite amazing. And something of a throwback to early FPS design when more interaction was equated to greater immersion and realism. The problem is that it's really hard to make everything interactive and invariably players run into things that aren't interactive. Furthermore, there's an issue of expectations that are upset - if I can push buttons on the vending machine and gets soda cans to roll onto the floor, why can't I also pick them up and throw them at monsters? So, FPS design has evolved in such a way that interactions are minimized (limited to very few items/things) and more heavily signposted - things that are interactive get a special glow, for example. DN is a throwback in that sense.

    However, they've also integrated some more "modern" FPS elements such as character progression. Duke Nukem's health bar (called an ego bar) can be increased by interacting with elements in the world. So, the player is encouraged to fiddle around with things in order to hopefully increase their ego bar. Some of these interactions are actually multi-step! For instance there's a moment when you visit a gym area that has a bench. You can bench press at the bench AND also add more weight. If you pick up all the weights, and add them to the bar, you can gain a decent ego boost when you bench press the bar with the heaviest weight. It sounds stupid, I guess, but it was kind of interesting!
    As expected, there's even an ego-boosting FAQ online. It turns out you can increase your ego from 40 pts all the way up to 100 if you do/find all the ego-boosting things. So, pretty significant, no?

    At this point I have almost finished the "Lady Killer" section. I suspect there's still a lot to see, but I'm not all that excited about spending the time, to be honest.
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    jp's Duke Nukem Forever (PS3)

    Current Status: Stopped playing - Something better came along

    GameLog started on: Tuesday 6 May, 2014

    GameLog closed on: Tuesday 20 May, 2014

    jp's opinion and rating for this game

    Not that great, to be honest. Interesting for a few hours.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstar

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