Duke Nukem Forever, Windows ME, Google Wave, and more!
Predicting the next big thing is never easy, especially when it comes to technology. It's easy to lose count of the number of times Microsoft or Googlehave promised to create products that will revolutionize our lives. Granted, occasionally the corporate gurus are right – smartphones and wireless networks being two great examples. But for all the successful launches, there are as many products that don’t quite get it right. It could be a fantastic idea on paper, but when it comes to fulfilling the dream, they become nothing more than technology failures.
Yes, a year has passed since we last feted our favorite pastime—PC gaming. In some ways it feels like it’s been much longer, so rich was the quantity and quality of titles that PC gamers had to choose from. That abundance served to make our job as awarders especially challenging. Nevertheless, we holed up in an office as we do every year and collectively reviewed the highlights and lowlights of the last year in PC gaming. Now it’s time for you to kick back and enjoy the spectacle that is Maximum PC’s 2011 Gaming Awards!
Duke Nukem Forever was, er, not exactly The King's finest hour. After more than a decade out of the limelight, Duke's stitched-together Frankenstein monster mash of levels and ideas took a critical battering from just about every corner of the Internet – ours included. Gearbox co-founder Brian Martel, however, thinks reviewers failed to consider one key ingredient: context.
It's too bad for Take Two Interactive that Duke Nukem Forever couldn't live up to more than a decade of hype. Had the long awaited game been able to do so, Duke Nukem's lavish lifestyle, as portrayed by the first level of game play, would have been an extension of Take Two's financial success in the first quarter. Instead, DNF didn't become the best selling game of all time -- far from it -- and partially as a result, Take Two posted a net loss in its Q1 financial report.
Not even the completion of a game 14 years in the making was enough to stop both console and PC videogame sales from slipping in June. According to market research firm NPD Group, retail sales of videogame hardware, software, and accessories fell to $995 million in June 2011, down 10 percent from one year prior. Sales of just software tumbled 12 percent to $469.5 million, or 10 percent to $508.9 million when including PC games.
Nothing is less edgy than someone trying really, really hard to be edgy. I can imagine the Duke Nukem Forever team working late into the night in Red Bull–fuelled sessions trying to come up with lists: lists of offensive things, lists of gross things, lists of old action movie quotes, lists of ways to objectify and degrade women, lists of boob and penis jokes.
Near the beginning of Duke Nukem Forever, you make your way through a bona fide Duke Nukem museum. Statues, paintings, fourth-wall-shattering tributes to Duke’s greatest hits—the place nearly has it all. And we say “nearly” because one thing is missing from that perfume-scented love letter to Duke’s past: Duke Nukem Forever itself. Play for a bit longer, though, and it’s not hard to see why.
You've watched, you've waited, and – in likelihood – you've read some pretty damn grisly reviews. Even so, this is Duke Nukem Forever we're talking about. You ache to play this game – even if it is the interactive equivalent of a trainwreck that also enjoys, er, flinging human fecal matter. So, dilemma: How do you sate your primal gamer urge without spending a single cent and later shedding bitter tears of regret? Obvious answer: a demo! Previously, however, Duke's bite-sized taster was only available to First Access Club members. Now, though, anyone can have a go at it. Even children, assuming they can crack the labyrinthine code of an age gate. Good job on that one, Internet. Anyway, make with the downloading here.
Anyone in need of a lesson in how not to use Twitter or any Web 2.0 outlet to promote a product, here it is. Following the backlash of bad and sometimes venomous reviews of Duke Nukem Forever, the game that, in a sense, has been 14 years in the making, Duke's PR team responded with a knee-jerk Twitter post essentially threatening to blacklist reviewers who were overly critical of DNF from receiving future games.