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What's with the name?

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And That's Terrible

Duke Nukem Has Capture the Flag Where the Flag is a Woman

What do you do with a game like Duke Nukem? So over the top in every way, is there any real point to criticizing something that considers itself satire? Try to pin it down and it’ll just twist out of the way, spiraling its troll arms all over the place.

So we’ve been avoiding it except where it gets unusually weird and knotted (even for Duke Nukem) and just waiting for the long gestating Duke fanboy wave to crest over. But I guess my own personal threshold for when things stop being ignorable is when you put in a minigame where slapping women is encouraged.

From Eurogamer:

Apparently in Capture the Babe – DNF’s Capture the Flag mode – when you grab the other team’s babe, she sometimes “freaks out”. The solution? Give her a gentle smack.

I’m not really sure what else to say about this. That the idea of women as inherently irrational and impossible to reason with is too subtly mired in our culture to make jokes about that don’t make me uncomfortable? Using a woman as flags in capture the flag and being physically abusive towards them is comparatively clear in it’s wrongness. Satire ain’t carte blanche to do whatever without expecting criticism, but then Duke Nukem has never made any attempts to be serious.

Anyway, if this doesn’t offend you, I’m not sure I can convince you to be offended with rational argument, and if it does offend you, you already know why.

(via Joystiq.)


  • Nicole Hazen

    I wasn’t spending any money on this game to begin with. Now I’m proud I won’t be.

    Not cool, game developers. Not cool at all.

  • Kate Falanga

    I was all ready to come in here and defend the game since as the article states it is meant to be over the top however the whole slapping thing kinda of put a damper on my plan. I’m ok with boobs, strippers and raunchy humor but violence against women of the non-combatant variety just sticks in the craw a little too far. It’s the same reason I could never bring myself to play GTA.

    It’s just over the line. I had planned on picking this up. I won’t be now.

  • Anonymous

    I say a “Capture the Penis” mod is wayyyy overdue.

  • Lionmml


  • Lionmml

    Now this I would play.

  • Edcedc8

    sounds funny.

  • Shard Aerliss

    Quick question; how do you feel about violence against non-combatant men?

    Not a criticism of your ideals (or whatever… just woke up after a nap and my vocabulary code hasn’t fully loaded), just an honest question.

  • Kate Falanga

    A good question. I’m not sure how I feel to be honest. Probably differently as I am subject to the same social pressures as anyone else in my culture.

    However, unless torturing innocents was just part of the gameplay in general (which let’s face it is just fun sometimes in gameland) I don’t think I would enjoy it. I wouldn’t enjoy beating up a hooker or a junkie regardless of gender if that was a small side mission or extra as opposed to the whole point of the game.

    For Duke Nukem you are fighting aliens. Killing those guys is fun. They’re aliens. Who cares. However, slapping around people is not part of the main purpose to the game therefore it’s inclusion is more of an affront.

    Personally I play violent games that have a fantasy or sci-fi bent to them in order to avoid these moral quandaries. Curb stomp a zombie in L4D? Yes. please. Bitch slap a chick? No thanks.

  • Nicole Hazen

    You said it perfectly. I don’t play games where I’m killing “innocent, unarmed bystanders.” Blowing away someone else in a pixel war, no prob. Smacking a woman b/c she’s being too bitchy for me to pick her up to cart her off, no.

    Same reason I don’t play GTA also.

  • Jahz

    At the end of the day, it’s still just a game. A silly, over-the-top video game. If the woman-beating is the ultimate reason to turn you away from this game, then you definitely are too “mature” for the game.

  • Corey Waits

    I seem to remember that in the late 90s when Quake 2 was the go-to-game for modding there was a mod called Capture the Fag. The flag was changed to a naked man, otherwise gameplay was the same. Never played it myself, but had friends retelling me about a game amidst much laughter.

    Of course homophobia is as rampant in gaming as misogyny, but at least you didn’t have to slap the “fag” before picking him up.

    I don’t really know what the point of my comment is…

  • Rhahael

    I’m not actually english speaker, so please. Smack was meant as a kiss or as a slap?

  • NeverWanderer

    They should include a “Capture the Steve Buscemi” mode. Same basic gameplay, except men AND women can enjoy it.

    (disclaimer: I love steve buscemi)

  • JoAnna Luffman

    Considering the MA rating, and the franchise, I’m not getting my knickers in a twist. If at 18, you don’t have the sense to know it’s satire and over the top, then someone needs a clue-by-four.

    I am buying this game. It’s one of my must-buy games.

  • Edcedc8

    either a slap on the bum, or a slap to the face probably.

  • Edcedc8

    I’ve pretty much given up on violent videogames, but this get-carter style trope seems inconsequential compared to the killing of people.
    I don’t know, it does seem like an OTT cliche, just like all of DN.

  • Rightrhombus

    hasn’t anyone played fat princess? ’cause that’s totally already happening in that game.

  • bnz

    Can someone explain me what the pic stands for? It’s not the first time I see that. Lame question, I know and I apologize.

  • Eric

    Have you ever played video games online before?

    First: People younger than 18 play M rated games.
    Second: Just because someone is 18+ does not make them intelligent/reasonable. You can hear countless “go make me a sandwich” remarks over voice chat directed at female players, from people obviously older than 18, when playing online games.

    This game makes me embarrassed to be a gamer.

  • JoAnna Luffman

    Have I done online gaming? I’ve done it competitively. I also have 3 kids, 13, 7, and 5. Two of ‘em play games. My eldest was in the top 10 when he was 4 years old playing Quake. But they won’t be playing Duke. He also was the one who saved our bacon during a tourney.

    It’s the internet. Allow me to introdue you to it. The Greater internet F*ckwad theory, Penny Arcade applies to most everyone. The nicest guy become a raging moron when he (or she) gets to be a nobody. You don’t know me, so it’s a lot easier to tell me “make me a sammich!!” than it is your wife/sister/mother.

    If this game embarrasses you, then actually talking to me would make you curl up and gibber nonsense in a corner.

  • Edcedc8

    its an ‘unimpressed’ character.

  • JaneR

    I could play that.

    But if I capture the Penis and it freaks out, should I slap it as well (as per the advice mentioned in the article?)? Because if that was the case, I think I’d rather have a safe word me and Penis agreed on prior to slapping.

  • Shard Aerliss

    But the fluffy bunnies. Oh my god, the bunnies! Killing them is so hard, they’re so cute, but they give such great rewards!

    I’m talking about Final Fantasy 12… or pretty much any JRPG, RPG or MMO. Sometimes, the unarmed innocent and thoroughly adorable bystanders just need to hand over their pelts so I can go buy a new weapon and save the world.

  • Shard Aerliss

    Thanks for answering XD

    I’ll have to come back and comment when I’ve had some sleep though, just wanted to say I’d read it. As you might be able to tell from my reply to Nicole; sleep deprivation is making my head funny.

  • Nicole Hazen

    Hey, fuck those bunnies!

    I’m not saying they can’t make the game. Free speech. I just think it’s funny how if they had just replaced the woman with an African American, we’d all be having a different conversation.

  • Shard Aerliss

    Certainly different people would be taking umbrage if it were an African American… or African… or… actually I’m not sure what the PC term is in the UK besides ‘black person’. And an African American woman? Wouldn’t want to be the guy who comes up with that mod!

    I just think that the vast majority of computer games have some level of violence, and violence is always violence, no matter what form it takes. What makes killing defenceless, helpful and portrayed as partially sentient bunnies, for no other reason than I want to upgrade my gun, any different to killing defenceless people, because they’re in my way, in pixels?

    For that matter; there’s a whole grey area (and an area that can and has been explored in some games, i.e. Metal Gear Solid) on the matter of the rightness and wrongness of killing people during a battle.

    Not trying to be a picky bitch, I’m honestly just trying to discuss the issues being brought to light.

  • Nicole Hazen

    I didn’t see it as being picky. We are all sharing our views. I think it’s cool.

  • Shard Aerliss

    “For Duke Nukem you are fighting aliens. Killing those guys is fun. They’re aliens. Who cares.”

    I think the late, great Gene Roddenberry might have disagreed with you there.

    In another game, or another medium, this idea could be used to wonderful effect in a good, thought provoking story line. Fantasy and scifi story tellers have long used mythological creatures, robots or androids and aliens as a metaphor for the ‘other’ in society. Slaves, foreigners, ethnic minorities and immigrants, homosexuals, people with disabilities, and even different economic classes have all been represented by a made up group/species (I dare say in other cultures these metaphores have been used to represent different ‘others’).

    How much should it matter that the pixels you’re killing are representing an ‘other’?

    Again; not trying to be a moralistic bitch), just bringing up ideas… or at least trying to.