Monday, March 21, 2011

To Chew Gum and Slap Asses

An interesting bit of news came out today regarding a previously unannounced multi-player mode for the upcoming (and long awaited) Duke Nukem Forever. It would appear that the developers have taken a new spin on the classic "capture the flag" and replaced it with "capture the babe".

Players will run around and attempt to capture a woman who "will sometimes freak out while you’re carrying her (somewhat understandable we’d say) at which point you have to hit a button to gently give her a reassuring slap.”

That didn't go over too well.

So the game's PR reps clarified toady that Duke wouldn't be slapping the women in the face. Oh, good. Rather, he'd be hitting them in the ass to get them to calm down, presumably as they're being carried over his shoulder. Now, when I first read this I literally rolled my eyes and said a few choice words outloud. Then I remembered what game I was reading about:

If any game on the face of this earth could get away with something like this, it's Duke Nukem. I've never played any of the games in the series but I know enough about the franchise to understand it was originally created as a satire to the action movie heros of the late 80s and early 90s. I also think it's incredibly obvious that it remains a gargantuan parody of hyper masculinity and machoism. Whether it's effective or not (read stupid) is a matter of personal opinion.

Does that make this any less in poor taste? No, not really.

To be honest, I'm really not sure how I feel about this. It reminded me of the Bioshock 2 multi-player "capture the sister" mode where you ran around trying to grab screaming little girls. More specifically, I remember thinking that it was funny but that an outsider would probably think I was playing a seriously sick and demented game.

Is that applicable with our buddy, Duke? Did the developers cross a line or is it all the name of parody? Just because a game like this can get away with it, should it?


  1. There's been a thread coming up a lot lately in places I hang out online: after a point, you are what you pretend to be.

    Dues DNF think its satire, mocking, ironic, and therefore funny? Maybe. But it is what it pretends to mock, flat-out. Pure misogynistic, worn-out tripe. At least as far as I can tell.

  2. I certainly agree with you there. Perhaps the biggest reason why this doesn't sit well with me is that, well, it's not funny.

    It just seems dumb.

  3. How did you feel about the number of spankings dished out in God Hand?

  4. Anthony - I think my original reaction to God Hand when I first saw it was a sarcastic, "Oh, that's nice" but the fighting genre is full of women whose jiggly breasts cannot be contained by the strips of clothing they wear and whose panties are constantly being flashed. That kind of thing is expected just like with Duke Nukem. Again, I think this whole thing really just comes down to "just because you can, should you?" What's the point?

    To be fair, I suppose we all should wait and actually see the footage before ripping it apart too much.

  5. I don't think there is anything wrong with this. Duke Nukem is pure exploitation gaming. It's exploiting over the top action, blood, guts, babes, big guns, bad language and bad attitudes. The developer knows this. Thats why they are promoting (or exploiting) the ass slappin' aspect of their game. It's fine. No one should take it anymore serious than a 70's exploitation movie. Stuff like this isn't about changing the world, it's about appealing to an audience who, like it or not, eat this stuff up.

    On the other hand, I don't know about slapping girls on the ass to calm them down. Ass slapping is for giving my wife some wordless prompting. A cup of tea and some chocolate biscuits are for calming her down.

  6. I wonder if the reason the Duke Nukem gameplay weirds me out and God Hand didn't was that in God Hand, the same women were punching you in the face moments before. Maybe the answer is to give her a shotgun, like Submission mode in Gears.

    Then again, maybe that just makes the dynamic even weirder and creepier. I agree that gameplay video is probably required here.