Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The disturbing adolescent world of Duke Nukem

Adland reports that this trailer for Duke Nukem Forever has been banned from British TV during primetime.

The ASA said, "In regard to the scenes of violence, the ASA admitted that the ad was not overly graphic for broadcast after 9pm. However, the ad watchdog said that the scenes showing "women's naked bodies and their very sexual movements and gyrations were overly sexually explicit" for airing at 9pm."

I'm not a gamer myself, but I try to keep up on pop culture. This game is a revival of the Duke Nukem character of the'90s, who was an over-the-top send up on action stars of the '80s, particularly Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone.

Whatever you think of the genre, as a teenage boy at that time it was lots of fun. The bad guys were cartoonish, and the good guys were tough and funny.

But the Nukem game added an extra pop culture element that was missing from those films: women as commoditized tits and ass as reward for the ero. For that, you had to go to sci fi fantasy sources like Heavy Metal.

It's hard to believe this guy was played by John Candy.

The game then combines two major instincts shared by many teenage boys — sex and violence. Nothing new there. The whole post-Vietnam war movie genre is based on the idea of bloodily annihilating scores of faceless, dehumanized foreigners. Sometimes that includes the real war activities of raping civilian women or else taking advantage of locals driven to prostitution.

"Me love you long time!" from Full Metal Jacket
The Duke Nukem world makes the awful human tragedy of warfare even more accessible to boys with somewhat of an undamaged moral compass. The dehumanized foreigners are truly inhuman—they're aliens. And instead of violating or paying women for sexual rewards, Duke enjoys free beer and shows from another professional class of sex worker — strippers.

One gamer has been helpful enough to record some of the "mature" highlights of the game and post them on YouTube:

In addition to the strippers, it has Duke getting hammered at the "club" and getting blown in a glory hole immediately after urinating (you actually thought that was a woman, Duke?) But don't worry, there's vicarious rape too, as the  lesbian incestuous twins kiss each other then get kidnapped, sexually assimilated, impregnated and exploded by the enemy.

Their last words? "We'll get the weight off, in like a week! We swear!"
Like I said before, I was a pubescent boy once too. And the over-the-top humour is obvious. But part of me hoped that the portrayals of men and women in popular youth media would get better, instead of worse, in 20 years. Fortunately, I believe most young het men are still capable of growing out of these ideas. Especially when they reach the maturity level where they are capable of interacting with real female humans.

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