Friday, May 22, 2020

Let's Play - Duke Nukem

In 1992, iD Software released Wolfenstein 3D, which set a new standard for DOS games. While primitive by today's standards, Wolfenstein 3D gave us the first popular first-person shooter. In 1993, DOOM set the bar again for DOS gaming. DOOM provided a first-person shooter experience that became the new standard for PC gaming.

Before DOOM and Wolfenstein 3D, sidescrollers were pretty popular. Think Super Mario Bros from the NES. And so games like 1990's Commander Keen: Invasion of the Vorticons became popular.

And a year later, Apogee Software released Duke Nukem. Set in the then-future 1997, Duke found himself opposite the eeevil Dr. Proton. Gameplay was pretty straightforward: make your way through each level to the exit door, and eventually you get an end-boss level.


Duke Nukem was a popular shareware game. You could play the first level as much as you wanted, but you had to pay a registration fee to get the rest of the game. Duke's registration fee was only $30 to get all 3 episodes mailed to you on floppy disks (each episode was a series of levels - the first episode took place in LA, the second on the Moon, the third in the future).

You may notice the game's startup screen says "Duke Nukum" instead of "Duke Nukem." That's because after the game's initial release, Apogee realized a cartoon already had a character called "Duke Nukem" so they hastily updated the name for version 2.0. Later, they realized the "Duke Nukem" name wasn't a registered trademark, so Apogee registered "Duke Nukem" and used that spelling for "Duke Nukem II" and "Duke Nukem 3D."

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