Randy Pitchford Compares Duke Nukem Forever to Junk Food and Ke$ha, Sort of Misses the Point

Michael McWhertor wrote up a post over at Kotaku pointing out a few of Gearbox Software head Randy Pitchford’s tweets in which he likens the recently released Duke Nukem Forever to junk food. He also relayed a comment comparing a deeper reading of the game to a music critic analyzing Kesha.

“With sales data, It seems like *customers* love Duke,” Pitchford said on Twitter. “I guess sometimes we want greasy hamburgers instead of caviar.”

I’m not sure of the source of this second message (it seems to be a comment tweeted to him): “looking at DNF for narrative depth: ‘It’s like Rolling Stone magazine trying to find a deep meaningful message in a Ke$ha song.'”

The implication here is that critics, who have universally panned the game, are looking at Duke the wrong way. It’s not a serious game and doesn’t deserve to be poured over with serious attention and criticism.

If that’s the case, than it also doesn’t deserve a $60 price tag.

Caviar and greasy hamburgers do not cost the same amount of money. Sure, I enjoy the simple pleasure of a mechanically flawed or low-budget production like Earth Defense Force or Deadly Premonition on occasion, but their price is only a third of the caviar.

Also, to say that the near-apocalyptic critical response to the game is over a lack of narrative depth is ridiculous and troubling.

No one is dinging the game for a lack of narrative depth and I’m sure no one expected it to deliver such a thing. The critical vitriol that is coming Duke’s way is based mostly on its lack of modern or interesting design and its abhorrent sense of humor. It’s not a greasy hamburger. It’s more like a festering pile of chopped meat served on two pieces of moldy bread and being called “gourmet.”

It seems to me that Gearbox knew they had a real dudon their hands. They knew, but there was nothing they could do but attempt to polish it up and accomplish the unthinkable task of shipping this game to stores. At the least couldn’t they have taken out some of the  rape, abortion, gay and generally unfunny jokes?

The real sin is selling it for $60 along side modern games. Games that don’t feel and look like they should have been released a decade ago. But Take Two dumped 14 years worth of funding into this thing and they’ve got to try and recoup some sort of investment, right?

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About Matt Gerardi
Matt Gerardi is a journalist and musician. He also happens to write about video games.

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