Is Duke Nukem Sexist?
By Stephanie "Bobbi" Bergman
PMS-Jack: I think it's way cool, and funny. I think it is sexist, but I like that it doesn't try and hide. I don't think it would have sold without the chicks.
*Polish: It is. I think because of the chicks. They're cute though. I think that if you like the game because of the chicks that's pretty pathetic of you, but it adds a lot to the game.
*Paul Steed: Yeah. But, I think it's sexist in an attempt to be humorous, as opposed to being malicious. I'm probably the wrong person to ask about that, given the Crackwhore, but I think it's meant to be humorous to guys, I don't think they necessarily care if women think it's humorous. But they are including a woman character in DNF, so maybe they are trying to address that. George Broussard though,really doesn't care, if they're going to do it, they're just going to do it. If it's viewed as being sexist, than it's viewed as being sexist, it's not going to effect their design.
Squall: You know, a lot of us don't care how many vectors our plugin models have...we don't even check under the hood to see what game engine a game is using. (I know, "Blasphemy, blasphemy!") And sometimes it's pretty neat to have all those "gimmicks" in a game. Personally, I almost lost it when I took Duke into the movie theater and was able to make curtain moves, hop behind the counter, crawl through the air ducts...
I said once before that I didn't like having to "have a pair" to play a deathmatch game. In that regard, Quake 2 (and even Quake 1) has Duke beat all to heck and back. Of course. But you know what? Duke has its merits. I like secrets in a game. Duke has 'em. I like lots of action...Duke has that, too. And as far as it being sexist? Well, what do you expect from a game that's billed with a man as the main character? You wouldn't buy Leisure Suit Larry and expect a kinder, gentler, game of bridge now would you?
And since when are folks worried about being politically correct in a game where you're blowing people up? Bits flying everywhere, blood and gore on the walls, and it matters whether or not he's a jerk?
Seems to me that Duke isn't any worse than, say, the Lethal Weapon movies, just about any Stallone flick... pick a male action movie actor. Matter of fact, that's sort of what it was like walking into Duke's 3D world for the first time.
I LOVE my games...and I'm a Quake devotee...but I can't take it as seriously as some, not to the exclusion of all other games. But then, I bought my last car because it was a pretty color. Vroom vroom.
Mark "Bastard" Surfas: The reality is that games are an entertainment product and that sex sells products. As a somewhat immature male I found the strippers in Duke3D to be "fun" and "cool". Keep in mind that as a somewhat immature male I find real strippers to be "fun" and "cool". Even more shockingly, I'm looking forward to the strippers that George promises will be in Duke4.
I think the inclusion of the "chicks" added to the environment given the style of game. The build engine doesn't really allow me to suspend my disbelief so I can't say that I found the message in Duke3D to be anything other than somewhat cartoonish.
Darren "Dakota" Tabor: I believe that Duke Nukem 3D still retains its title as the most sexist game in the first-person shooter genre, even after the passage of several years since the initial release. Other games may contain certain sexist elements, but none are as pervasive as in Duke Nukem 3D.
It is virtually impossible to argue that Duke Nukem 3D is anything but sexist. The only women represented in the game are stripers, porn stars, and prostitutes. The only real interaction between the character and the women in the game occurs when they expose themselves for money. Otherwise, they just stand in place and dance, at least until they are killed by accident or design. This presents an extremely warped view of women and evidences some profound issues in personalities of it developers and/or its target audience.
These elements of the game, at least the most profoundly sexist elements, can be easily blocked out by the parental lock. The game still has some adult themes even with the parental lock engaged, but this does give parents a level of control over the game. It is my understanding that this feature was pioneered by Apogee. I am sure that many parents who pay attention to the games their children play appreciate the lock.
Despite the many concerns that people may have regarding the objectifying of women in video games, I doubt that anything will alter the development of Duke Nukem Forever. Most game designers have recognized that women are a growing segment of the target audience and have included a few "token females" in their games. It is hard to imagine that 3D Realms would follow this trend, at least for the Duke Nukem series. Love him or hate him, Duke Nukem is one of the most recognizable personalities in the world of gaming. The world that we inhabit when we play the game is Duke's world, and it is a world where women are objects. This is not a very enlightened view, but it does appeal to the tastes of a large segment of the target audience. I expect that setting DNF in Las Vegas will not lead to Duke showing deference and respect to female legislators or kindergarten teachers. Sex sells everything from toothpaste to fast food, and I am sure that it will help sell DNF.
As sexist as Duke Nukem 3D was, there are still plenty of other titles that present an equally distorted look at women. Is Lara Croft a better role model than Janet Reno? Would anyone want to see Janet Reno in a bikini? Of course, the buxom star of Tomb Raider is designed to appeal to adolescent boys, and men who still think like adolescents. But what about the latest craze to dress Barbie on your PC? I can't imagine that this trend is any more helpful towards promoting proper self image in young girls than a dozen levels of Space Bunnies Must Die. At least Lara Croft is a strong female character. Strong in a gun-slinging, non-speaking, bikini-wearing, sort of way.
* signifies the response was given in person.
|Credits: Illustration © 1998 Mike Sanzone. This article is © 1998 Stephanie Bergman. All other content is © 1998 loonyboi productions. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited...you sexist pig.|