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Editor's Message: The Great Duke Nukem Forever Debate

June 19, 2011


I concede that the life of a videogame developer must suck this generation. Publishers are pushing short development times, the Big 3 aren't doing anything notable to help them bring forth any noteworthy innovation, and every pundit out there wants your title to play either like GTA -- COD -- or Uncharted.  In generation’s past, you had a reasonable amount of development time to create a game that was full of immense gameplay and innovation. Those that did, were embraced with open arms.. However the issues listed above aren't the biggest threat to developers nowadays. The biggest threat is mistakenly not recognized, and unbeknownst to them when making a title. The threat are  gamers themselves. Now, I don't mean all gamers. But, there is a new breed of gamers that are pushing the face of the developer' s purpose for entering this community right into the mud. I like to call them “Neo-gamers”. Let me explain.

Over the past few generations (particularly with the inception of the PlayStation into the gaming community) you have seen the lines blurred between immense and fun gameplay, and visual adaptation. No longer was the definition of a good title something that skillfully put together challenging gameplay, unique level design, and scenarios that routinely tested the players gaming IQ in order to reach success. Now the definition is measured by: when I press this button what follows that is aesthetically and visually pleasing, the familiarity of this title in comparison to other ones that I like, and how engaging is the story with the overall theme. Looking at these two measures of success; one can easily see that the "litmus" for a good game has drastically changed. Unfortunately so bogged down by super-tight development schedules, and selling thresholds, developers are losing sight of this changing trend. These game developers are old. I myself am no strapping young buck. My gaming roots go as far back as the Colecovision and primarily the Atari 2600. These developer’s experience begun even before that.  The lack of technology back then forced developers to place most of their focus on the original measures mentioned above in order to keep the gamer’s attention. As time went on, the technology changed.  Visuals and story may have increased, but developers never diverted from the core of what they thought made a good game.

Nobody has taken that old-school approach  into account more than Gearbox -- and right now, no one is suffering more than them because of it. With the release of Duke Nukem Forever in June of 2011, Gearbox knowingly took a risk in cementing this title's style of play in its roots. The game plays like a classic Duke Nukem, with the misogynistic Duke back to his old tricks. But his classic one-liners were never the most important thing in the series. They were just a means to distinguish the protagonist from others in different titles. The biggest role was always the dungeon crawling FPS shoot ‘em up  raucous fun the game always had in store. Gearbox thought it was no better way to pay tribute to the faithful fans of the series by bringing back that classic feel. It wasn't so much that they were wrong;  I think they were just oblivious to the commercial reception that it would receive because of it. They also were oblivious to how many were actually fans of this genre oppose to who where just jumping the bandwagon,  wanting Duke’s image in a 7th gen-style FPS clone.



That reception in the punditry world has been less than flattering. At the time of this writing the average meta-critic score was 55/100. Reviewers all over the gaming stratosphere were saying unflattering things about this game's release. Now we here at the faction know better than to take any credence to anything these puke-pundits have to say about any title. However with so much unwavering criticism, one would reasonably believe that it is not just a bad game, but a horrible one. We are coming out with our own review, so I don't want to expose  too many spoilers here. Nevertheless I will say that this is not a horrible game. With our opinions aside, many critics are saying that this is of the worst games this generation; and that pretty much every gamer will find this game atrocious – and those that don't "need to have their head checked". Now our problem with this synopsis isn't that these pundits opinion of the game differ from ours. It's their opinion and their right to express how they feel. Our issue is that basically all these review teams consider themselves reaching and relating to a broad audience. These recommendations are supposedly logical for all un-biased sectors of the gaming community. We here at the faction don't make such claims as to our reviews.  Our take on games is solely from a hard-core gamer's perspective; we have no shame in saying so, nor do we try anything to hide it. With that said, we know that there is a credible and substantially large sector of the community (hard-core gamers) that will appreciate this title. How much they will appreciate it is outlined in our review. Nevertheless, to discredit these gamers as fan boys of Duke, as been done on many forums and by other reviewers, does not logically fit the appeal that these puke-pundits claim they have. One review team in particular, in a rare act for them, actually tell you "... Do not buy this game..." and recommends several other titles to play in substitution. One of which is of the most gimmicky and poorly put together titles this generation. But this doesn't surprise us. "Broad appeal" to them means that they cater to the growing number of neo-gamers out there in the community.

The thing that truly troubles us is the number of gamers that have responded in favor of these reviews, placing themselves within the same fodder. This doesn't surprise us either, yet the means they will go to verbally backhand any remnants of classic gameplay are sad. It would be like rap music dissing James Brown,  rock 'n roll dissing the Beatles, or even the equivalent of the Lakers giving the finger to Jerry West. Though the works of the original contributors in these examples does not contain the nuance that is showcased today,  those that are fans of these genres pay respects to, see the importance of the foundation laid by, therefore finding satisfaction in the original experiences provided by each icon. Unfortunately the same can't be said about videogames. With this new breed of gamers the theory is "out with the old -  in with the new". That's because as stated before, the standards for making a good game have changed. No more immerse challenging and action-packed gameplay, but now more story-lines explosive visuals and recycled adaptations. This is a sad but growing reality; and one that those from previous generations are having a hard time to cope with.  As dedicated in preserving the basic foundations of gaming as Gearbox may be, they can't be taken off guard when there is this type of response. This type of anal perception to games, when proclaimed at this level, can chip at one's ego - and quite possibly have them doubt their own abilities. Nevertheless, as defenders of this approach to gaming, they must not waver. They must proclaim themselves why the classic core of game philosophy is relevant now and will lead to further innovation down the road. At the time of this writing, such hasn't been done by the development team. This unfortunately has left many gamers to rely on these ill-advised reviews for objective and logical input before purchasing the game. Fortunately those with a more well-rounded sense of objectivity have come through after the sh@# storm to denounce the claims of these pundits and neo-gamers. They assert that this game fits the mold well Gearbox said it would it was made for, and those familiar with that mold will have things to like about this game. Again, without giving out any spoilers for our review, with this sentiment we agree. 




So in closing, I have a message to all the participating parties in the Duke Nukem Forever debate. Pundits -- in general your reviews are not logical, hypocritical, and just plain pathetic. They are so because you decided to jump on the bandwagon with those trying to over saturate and oversimplify the community, by applying this anal litmus of what makes a good game to the masses. If you don't like Duke Nukem Forever then that's fine. But to assert that this style of game presented has no place in the community just shows how out of touch you are with the community abroad. To the neo-gamers -- hey, if you feel that every game needs to be a sandlot, a "screen-write" to the equivalent of saving Pvt. Ryan, and Michael Bay like explosions just for merely tapping a button, then that's your prerogative. Be mindful that the average age of a gamer is in the early to mid 30s. These gamers come from an era where gameplay focused a lot more on gamer skill, unique challenges, and different experiences to be considered good. As time went on, the increases in technology did expand things like visuals and story presentation. Yet they only served as a backdrop to the overall experience. They in no way shape or form were ever to serve as a replacement to the core fundamentals mentioned above. Understanding this and making this a standard for the games you want to play will only enhance your overall experience within the community.  And lastly but not least, the hard-core gamer -- good job in keeping up the good fight. In lieu of 2K Games firing PR firms, and Gearbox currently disappearing into the shadows in the wake of this debate, you've made the case for this foundation, and have taken over the airwaves to back-hand these misguided assertions. It is because of you there is now a cloud of skepticism cast on the more over-the-top reviews, therefore putting serious doubt on these pundits ability to give logical and objective reviews for the games you want to play.

I've said enough. Hard-core gamers - go right ahead and find whatever reasonable means you have  to try out this game yourself.  Also, feel free to read our review beforehand if you want to see if this game is for you -- for that's what they're there for. But whatever you do, stay away from the puke-pundits! As a hard-core gamer, they are out of touch with your needs, and should be simply out of mind.


~   MM2K


 

Message to Sony – Get with the f@#$’n program-“ers”

May 22, 2011


A few months after Sony announced 60 mil + users on the PSN,  online saves coming for subscribers, and the NGP’s hype reaches enormous proportions, the service was shut down by a hacker intrusion in late April 2011. After such, one would think that someone was hell bent on making sure the console didn’t make the Faction’s Hard-Knock console of the year by any means necessary! But as one looks at the current woes of the company, you have to throw away any sympathy you have for those who...


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Faction You Gave That What??!!??: God of War III

April 14, 2011

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Ahh… the curve.  The greatest point boosting academic tool for know-nothing degenerates like myself.  There’s nothing better than not studying for a test, failing it big time, and then relying on the other idiots in your class to do the same.  This leads to your teacher’s self conscious to break, believing THEY did something wrong – so they grade on the cur...


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You Gave That What??!!?? : Killzone 2

April 14, 2011

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You Gave That What??!!??: Left 4 'Dumb'

April 14, 2011

In the 70’s the horror craze was Dracula and vampires. In the 80’s it was ANYTHING that had Cyndi Lauper or some weird European band on the movie’s soundtrack.  In the 90’s it was mucus covered aliens. Now in the wind down of the new millennium, it’s zombies.  Over the last 30 years, people have went all ape-$#!^ over the goofiest unexplainable “coming to get you” human hating species.  The success of these phenomena’s in flicks just highlight how frickin’ gullible pop socie...


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Faction DAF Award: Microsoft/Kinect

April 14, 2011

"Mom, why did Microsoft cut-off Wall-E's head, dip it in tar, and send it to our house?...."

Hello, my name is the hard-core gamer. I've traveled to E3 2010 to see some of the coolest games out there.  After spending thousands of dollars on my ticket, I can't wait to see what the Big 3 have in store for me. Let's see. Well to start off, Sony shocked the crap out of me with all the exclusive content they have for some of the multi-platform games coming this year. Oh my gosh, I can't believe it...


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Faction DAF Award: Morgan Webb/Uncharted 2

April 14, 2011


Hey look – its good; this whole color-blind, gender-less approach everyone seems to be adopting now.  As gamers, we don’t have to pat ourselves on the back so late in the game – particularly when it comes to the lack of gender bias amongst hardcore gamers.  Though gaming is dominated by men, hardcore female gamers are not looked at less favorably.  We always said to ourselves “it’s a f@#%’n stick and a set of buttons…” anybody that puts enough time and focus into the craft can...


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Faction Daf Award: Sony & Dr. “Dilwad” Marks

April 14, 2011

Oh god, I tell you… I had the worst dream…. No, nightmare! I was on the net and I came across someone waving around this big blocky dildoid with a huge herpes blister on the top and….what?  It wasn’t a dream??!?? That was Sony’s new motion sensor “wand" ? Alrighty then... this should be easy…


Sony decided at E3 ‘09 they would unveil their answer to the whole motion sensor phenomenon in console gaming.  The problem is, Microsoft just dropped some jaws with their body motion ...


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Faction Underground: Asian Entertainment - Dattebayo vs. CrunchyRoll

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Faction Underground: Dear Singranee

April 14, 2011

Here’s a letter I recently received from some poor sap named Bartholomew.  Bartholomew, in what he feels is an ideal life, is oblivious to how his poor gaming decision will change his perfect little world forever.


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