You are supposed to be here! 22 years of the release of the legendary game Duke Nukem 3D

    “The texture of Dolph Lundgren, Schwarzenegger's charisma and the sense of humor of Bruce Willis.” The combination, of course, is killer. You could even say nuclear. However, our hero’s name is Nuclear Duke. He is Duke Nyukem. Brutal blond with powerful fists, regularly saving the Earth from various evil creatures, a great connoisseur of female beauty and the author of "boyish" sayings, appropriate in almost any life situation. Especially critical. In general, the person is remarkable.

    It is not surprising that the computer game of the same name dedicated to Duke is one of the iconic in the industry. This is not just a classic and a legend, it is a whole cultural layer. The Duke Nukem game is spread over images and quotes that “sprouted” in the most unexpected places - from popular songs (remember at least Spleen's Orbits Without Sugar) to fashion catwalks (where do you think the trend for perhydrol blonde comes from?). Well, you can’t even talk about popularity among gamers separately: everything is clear.

    In anticipation of the DukeCon, a one-day Duke Nukem festival, we recall how steel was tempered. More precisely - how this game series developed and changed over time and what it gave to the world.

    Part 1

    It all started with a simple two-dimensional arcade: in July 1991, Apogee Software released a fun game called Duke Nukum . Apogee Software was at that time a little-known, modest developer with headquarters in a suburb of Dallas, Texas. No one (including the company itself) especially believed that a small game developer, located at the back of the gaming industry, would make a breakthrough in it, or at least remember the public with something interesting. But the stars came together differently.

    It would seem that the new game did not pretend to be very original: Duke Nukem demanded that the player jump on numerous platforms and turn countless monsters into piles of meat. The brutal blond Duke cheerfully moved from level to level, each time meeting more and more dangerous enemies. However, from other similar games, “Duke” was distinguished by a fair amount of self-irony: the main character drenched monsters with an inimitable grin (as far as it could be represented in a two-dimensional arcade) and jokes-jokes. In general, Duke’s behavior was far more memorable than the plot of the game.

    But not only this was remarkable (and important for the success of the game). The first Duke was distributed using the Shareware method. This means that the full passage of the game Duke Nukem immediately was not necessary, the players could download one episode for free and try it out. If you liked the game, you could purchase the full version of your favorite creation. As you understand, Apogee essentially created the concept of a “demo” game, which has become one of the main process of introducing a new product to the public. In general, the charismatic character, the game itself and the method of its distribution have become a winning combination. The birth of Duke Nukem could be considered valid.

    Part 2

    Between 1991 and 1996, Apogee continued to innovate and promote products using the shareware distribution method. In 1993, the second part of Duke Nukem was released: visually the image of the hero changed a bit (the dubious pink T-shirt was replaced by a red shirt), the scenery of the game changed - from urban to space ones, and the gameplay was enriched with new characters. Despite the fact that the gameplay has not changed much, a few new “chips” have been added: now Duke could crouch, hang on objects, shoot up. Even weapons had several types of ammunition. Enemies, unlike the first part, became more aggressive and more difficult to kill.

    But the main thing is not this: realizing that the future of the gaming industry will be in 3D games, the company has formed a division of 3D Realms, all of whose efforts were logically aimed at developing the best in the field of 3D. And, of course, the brutal funky guy Duke Nyukem was the first in line who was supposed to be in the brave new - three-dimensional! - the world. So in 1994, 3D Realms began work on Duke Nukem 3D , which undoubtedly became one of the best games ever created.

    The new game was based on a powerful graphics engine developed by 3D Realms. Duke Nukem 3D significantly increased the bar in the field of graphics, sound and gameplay. But the most important thing is that the three-dimensional image made it possible not only to depict and detail the game world, but also to provide the player with the opportunity to interact with any objects surrounding him. 3D Realms referred to this as “interactive interaction,” and this format has changed not only one single game, but the industry as a whole. Now, after the conditional RDR, where you can hunt deer, aimlessly go around the surroundings or just watch the squirrels in the forest, it is hard to imagine that everything was different in games once. However, it was, and because Duke Nukem 3D for 1996 was a revolution.

    But besides technical innovations, there was something else in the game. Actually, Duke himself was in it - not just an impersonal hero with a gun in his hand, but a character with his own unique character, recognizable manners and bright speech. Duke is the best and only special agent of the near future, famously moving between planets and eras. Of course, saving the world from vile invaders from outer space, who either want to steal all the women of the Earth for vile experiments, they threaten humanity with new space weapons.

    In Duke Nukem 3D, the visual appearance of the main character was supplemented by black glasses, which, as it turned out, are appropriate to wear even at night or in dark catacombs. Duke has developed habits - for example, smoking thick, self-rolled cigars or visiting a strip club to unwind after another successful mission. But most importantly, the Arsenal of the Nuclear Duke was significantly enriched by flowery phrases and jokes on the verge of a foul, which turned the killing of monsters into a matter even less remarkable than Duke commenting on this process.

    Well, the last thing that cannot be said about is the abundance in the game of Easter eggs and explicit or hidden quotes from well-known works of popular culture, which Duke performed gained a new interpretation.

    All together: progressive graphics on a three-dimensional engine, freedom of action in the game world, gameplay that turns passing levels into one fascinating story, and an ingeniously invented hero - turned Duke Nukem 3D into a game that is not just talentedly made, but cult.

    Part 3

    The stunning success of the 1996 game, of course, had a logical continuation. In the next five years, Duke Nukem 3D was ported to many consoles, from the PlayStation to the Sega Saturn. Even Nintendo could not resist - although for the sake of release on the family console I had to cut out some particularly piquant details. The game also appeared on the ancients, like mammoths, and backward consoles: craftsmen made a “downgrade” project for Sega Genesis and a portable black and white platform

    In addition, original products featuring Nukem in the lead role appeared on various consoles: Duke Nukem: Time to Kill, Duke Nukem: Land of the Babes (PlayStation), Duke Nukem: Zero Hour (Nintendo 64), and even Duke Nukem Advance on Gameboy Advance

    Duke Nukem: Land of the Babes (2000)

    All this brought 3D Realms millions, and they all went, of course, to develop a new original game about Duke: in the same 1996, the company announced the release of the game Duke Nukem Forever.

    However, the conditions for creating a new product were not very favorable. The team lost several key employees at once. Almost immediately after the release of Duke Nukem 3D, Duke's “father”, Todd Replow, actually left the team. He generally withdrew from game development and focused on buying real estate in a small Oregon town, without even thinking about returning.

    Richard Gray third left

    Another loss was Richard Gray, the designer of key levels of the game. However, he did not “tie up” at all, but only changed his place of work. His new registration was Ritual Entertainment, which was later noted for several hits - SiN and Heavy Metal: FAKK2 - where he still played the role of a level designer and came up with a number of outstanding cards.

    Left the ship and Ken Silverman. For some time he brought to mind the rest of the company's projects on Build, but in the future a new engine was expected from him. Ken had nothing to offer his colleagues, so he preferred to leave and focus on education, while age allowed.

    Another surprisingly unfavorable factor was just the financial success of the game, which allowed 3D Realms to relax and delay the development of the game in search of "better" solutions.

    The result of this turned out to be very sad: in total, work on the Duke Nukem forever continued for 15 years, and he himself became an example of vaporware - that is, a project that flashes in the press for a long time and is constantly being announced as it is about to be released , but more often than not appearing on the market. And although the game was finally made, the general precipitate from the prolonged waiting remained.

    Part 4

    The release of Duke Nukem Forever took place in 2011. The game was waited so long that its appearance caused a wide resonance, and not all reviews were positive. In 1997, when the game was just announced, its first screenshots were striking in their cinematography and advanced graphics. After almost 15 years, all that “innovation” was significantly lost in price: what was amazing in Duke Nukem 3D was no longer a surprise for a modern player.

    Even Duke himself has changed. He was accused of openly bending his stick in many places and simply exudes rudeness. “We used Duke's street habits as a kind of seasoning for steak. Enough, but not too much. I pay tribute to the executive producer of the game, George Broussard, for finding this balance, ”says Duke Nukem 3D Creative Director Greg Malone. - But it seems that in the new part, Duke is clearly overdoing it with “manhood”, the topic of exploitation of women, teenage toilet humor, and so on. I am sure that a wonderful group of people worked on the project, but at some point they decided that making the character deliberately defiant would be the easiest way to success. "

    Many rightly believe that it would be better if Duke Nukem Forever remained vaporware. It was a beautiful story, which had a halo of ideality around it, the feeling that 3D Realms was making a dream shooter - not only ours, but ours too. Duke seemed omnipotent, Duke seemed eternal, Duke seemed the best - but after the 2011 release, many realized that it would be better if Duke remained in 1996.

    Part 5

    With all this in mind, it’s logical that the next release in this series of games was the re-release of the famous Duke Nukem 3D, dedicated to its 20th anniversary, - Duke Nukem 3D: 20th Anniversary World Tour. Some technical features of the original Duke Nukem 3D caused difficulties with launching on modern computers. Therefore, it was decided to make a reprint, which was released in October 2016. In addition to the PC, the game also appeared on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. It included an additional fifth episode (four in the original), added new enemies, redid some visual effects, added new music and re-recorded the replicas of the protagonist.

    As you can see, the cult Duke Nukem 3D and now does not lose its position and serves as a source of inspiration for gamers and game developers. That is why RUVDSTogether with colleagues from the Museum of Soviet Slot Machines , the Retro Tech Squot and Legacy Z associations decided to hold the first Duke-con in Russia - a one-day festival in honor of the 22nd anniversary of the first release of Duke Nukem 3D. We, as lovers of retro games and new ventures, strongly support such initiatives!

    The festival will be held on June 1 in the St. Petersburg Museum of Soviet slot machines. The program includes tournaments for the cult game with and without a mouse, a retro exhibition with Duke Nukem on different platforms and consoles, a live performance of GearX2 and a lecture by legendary game designer Richard Levelord Gray, who created the best levels of the game Duke Nukem 3D. Free admission. Read tips from Richard here.You can watch and read the interview here .

    Registration for Richard Gray's lecture has already been closed, but it will be possible to watch it live on our VK page .

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