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Why did Duke Nukem 3D get all of the attention?

User is offline   Kerr Avon 

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#1

Looking back, it seems to me that during the commercial lifetime of the Build games (mid to late 1990s), it was the game Duke Nukem 3D that got almost all of the attention from gamers and magazines, and the other build games were mentioned much less often (it seems to me) in print, on the 'net, and amongst us gamers. All of my PC gaming mates knew and had played DN3D, and speaking as someone who did short term contract agency I.T. support (and so who worked from place to place every few weeks/months) it wasn't at all uncommon to find DN3D installed on a PC or two in the office. But I don't think I ever saw Blood!, or Shadow Warrior 3D, or Redneck Rampage, or Powerslave/Exhumed on any office PC. I could be wrong, but even if any of them did appear on a PC or two, Duke Nukem 3D was much more regular, along with the usual favourites such as Quake, Tomb Raider, Fifa whatever, Unreal, Command Conquer, the popular games of the time.

Blood! was mildly popular with a few of my mates, but nothing like as popular as DN3D was. And of course DN3D was ported to various consoles of the day (N64, Playstation, Sega Saturn), but I don't recall hearing, let alone seeing, any console ports of Blood!, Shadow Warrior, or Redneck Rampage. I know that Powerslave/Exhumed was on the Sega Saturn, and Playstation, but apparently the PC version is rather different from the console versions, and if I recall correctly (from a Youtube video comparing the three versions of PS/Exhumed), wasn't the PC version the last to be released, and since it was the only version of the three to be running in the Build engine, then the Build engine game was never ported to anything else?

I don't know anything about the sales figures of the Build games, but I'd not be at all surprised to learn that DN3D massively outsold the other games, even if, of course, you don't count the sales figures of the console versions of DN3D.

So why was DN3D so much more successful than the other Build games? It is my favourite of the Build games, but I can understand anyone who says that Blood! is better. Maybe it's partly because by the time Blood! came out, the PC magazines were all pushing Quake (and they were!), and so maybe lots of gamers thought that Build games' graphics with their 2D pixelated art, were too primitve when compared to Quake's genuine 3D levels and polygon NPCs (even though personally, I prefer the detail and various colours of the build engine, over Quakes brown, brown, and more brown levels and their near total lack of interactive but unimportant objects that could make a Build level seem more immersive. And maybe the Build games other than DN3D didn't get much advertising (it's a sad fact that advertising plays a major part in the success or failure of a game, commercially speaking), but I don't remember DN3D being swamped with magazine/TV advertsm either.

Blood! should definitely have been ported to the consoles of the day, though. And Shadow Warrior 3D would have been great too.
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User is offline   thricecursed 

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#2

My question is - Why do you keep adding an exclamation mark after Blood every time?
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User is online   Radar 

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#3

What's wrong with that? After all, it's Blood!
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User is offline   MusicallyInspired 

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#4

You're right, nothing's wrong with that. Let's all add a '^' at the end of Duke3D^ too!

I don't know why Duke3D^ is more popular. Maybe it was just a culmination of the sum of all its parts in various subtle ways. *shrug*

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User is offline   Phredreeke 

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#5

In regard to Blood on consoles, the leaked alpha has a file which mentions it

Quote

* Promises about ports to consoles

* "Nick met with people from several console platforms - Atari, Goldstar,
Sony"

* AWD was supposed to receive 70% of console


In case you wonder about Goldstar, they were one of the licensees to manufacture 3DO consoles.

Back to the original topic, as for Duke Nukem 3D getting the attention. Timing. It wasn't the first Build game, but it was far more accessible than Tek War or Witchaven. And the same year, Quake came out. While IMO the big three Build games have more memorable levels, they were overshadowed by the true 3D of Quake.
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User is online   Ninety-Six 

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#6

View PostKerr Avon, on 15 February 2019 - 09:40 AM, said:

So why was DN3D so much more successful than the other Build games? It is my favourite of the Build games, but I can understand anyone who says that Blood! is better. Maybe it's partly because by the time Blood! came out, the PC magazines were all pushing Quake (and they were!), and so maybe lots of gamers thought that Build games' graphics with their 2D pixelated art, were too primitve when compared to Quake's genuine 3D levels and polygon NPCs (even though personally, I prefer the detail and various colours of the build engine, over Quakes brown, brown, and more brown levels and their near total lack of interactive but unimportant objects that could make a Build level seem more immersive.


I think this is pretty much it, really. Duke managed to nail a huge release just before true polygonal FPS gaming hit. After that, Shadow Warrior and Blood seemed like a step backwards (to outsiders, anyway. I enjoy Quake but personally I'd pick any of the Build trinity over Quake).
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User is offline   oasiz 

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#7

Simply because DN3D was a big next step from Doom rather than being just a conceptually ambitious 3D shooter that was bound by old tech. Not just in game play but also modding and MP. Duke simply embraced everything out of the tech that it could.
In many ways Duke3D was a kitchensink of different things that just happened to miraclously work together to provide an experience that is still quite unique in many ways.

Other shooters on Build were maybe technically better executed in some ways but when you have the option of porting a bigger name with bigger audience, why bother?
Ultimately they will be seen as "Duke clones" even if they had completely different codebase (blood).
Plus titties sell.
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User is offline   Nancsi 

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#8

Oops, a wrong downvote was sent to the opening post. Sorry.
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User is offline   High Treason 

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#9

I thought Duke 3D out-sold Quake? The internet at large returns mixed results which contradict each other, so who knows.

That aside, Duke also had the backing of an already well known shareware publisher, so magazines and such were probably much faster to stuff the shareware on their cover discs or talk about it in general than they were with games like Blood. Shadow Warrior was most likely too late to the party and would have been overshadowed by the Duke hype of the time. Duke also had the console ports to keep it going by then, it surprises me how many people first discovered him on the Nintendo 64 or PlayStation, their release would have kept the talk about Duke ticking over coupled with the promises of DNF being soon to follow.

Might also be worth considering that action movies were still quite big in Duke's time. They were pumping them out one after another whilst re-running older ones on the TV practically every night. Evidently this must have been what people wanted and Duke essentially personified them in video game form.

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This post has been edited by High Treason: 15 February 2019 - 01:18 PM

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User is offline   Forge 

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#10

The games themselves aren't the only thing that has be taken into account.

Duke3d was released around the same time as the nintento 64, playstation, sega saturn & 32x, VooDoo 1, 3dFx, 133MHz - 166 MHz processors

By the time Blood, Shadow Warrior, and RR hit the market over the following couple of years, the technology in consoles and computer hardware had advanced: Dreamcast, Playstation 2, VooDoo 2, GeForce 256, 366 - 400 MHz pocessors.
The attitude was that Quake was a forward looking advance (regardless of how mundane the game was), and build was a step back.


It was all about being the kid on the block with the newest and shiniest toys.

This post has been edited by Forge: 15 February 2019 - 01:56 PM

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User is offline   Phredreeke 

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#11

Blood, SW and RR were released in 1997, just a year after Duke3D and Quake. You're making it sound like there were several years between those games and Duke3D :P
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User is offline   Forge 

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#12

"over the following couple of years" is not written in cloudy language.

Duke3D - 1996
The following couple of years - 1997-1998

And it changes nothing about how fast technology was advancing with computers, software, game engines, and console games.
Technically I don't think the PS2 was officially released world-wide until 1999, but it was in development for several years and the writing was on the wall.


Implying that I'm trying to be deceptive over something that anybody can easily look up is an interesting hot-take. When you discover what my end-game in this is, and what I plan on gaining, let me know so we're both in on it.
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User is offline   TerminX 

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  #13

PS1 was 1995 in North America, Dreamcast was 1999 and PS2 was 2000. GeForce 256 was also 1999 I think.

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User is offline   leilei 

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#14

E1L2.

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User is offline   Kerr Avon 

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#15

I suppose it's doubtful if Nintendo would have allowed Blood to appear on the N64, what with the undead, decapitations, setting enemies on fire, the Lovecraft/Cthulhu nature of the game, etc. Well, maybe they would towards 2000/2001, when they lessened their 'family console' stance (as show by N64 games like Conker's Bad Fur Day, and Resident Evil 2), but in the late 1990s, it's much more unlikely, I would have thought.



Forge, I agree that the 2D-ish aspects of the Build games might well have seemed, to the more casual gamers, or to those who judge games primarily on their looks, to show that Build was the past, and true 3D engines were the future. And that was certainly true to a degree. But to me, Quake felt barren, boring and the levels were tedious and tended to look too similar to one another. I've *never* understood why Quake received, and still receives so much attention, adulation, and playing time. To me, Turok: Dinosaur hunter on the N64 was a much better game (albeit that Turok had no multiplayer, and of course didn't support fan-made mods), and Doom 1 and 2 were, again to me, much, much better than Quake.

Aside from Quake's true 3D nature (both the level design, and the polygon instead of sprite NPC design), Quakes ease of modding, and Quake's console command system (just press the "`" key and you have access to games inner workings - genius!), I thought that everything else was a step back from Doom. And even with the 3D polygon NPCs, I prefer the 2D sprites from other games, as they were more detailed and colourful than Quake's enemies. I loved the idea of the new polygon tech., but not Quake's implementation of it.






View Postthricecursed, on 15 February 2019 - 09:46 AM, said:

My question is - Why do you keep adding an exclamation mark after Blood every time?


To be honest, it was lodged into my head that that was how the game was officially named. I've just checked and it isn't, which makes me either stupid or just forgetful (and still stupid :blink: ).
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User is offline   Kerr Avon 

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#16

View PostPhredreeke, on 15 February 2019 - 11:11 AM, said:

In regard to Blood on consoles, the leaked alpha has a file which mentions itIn case you wonder about Goldstar, they were one of the licensees to manufacture 3DO consoles.Back to the original topic, as for Duke Nukem 3D getting the attention. Timing. It wasn't the first Build game, but it was far more accessible than Tek War or Witchaven. And the same year, Quake came out. While IMO the big three Build games have more memorable levels, they were overshadowed by the true 3D of Quake.


I'm a bit surprised that Atari was on the list, surely the Jaguar couldn't have run Blood, at least not without totally butchering it? Though isn't it true that Atari (such as they are now) currently own the copyright to Blood?

What does "AWD was supposed to receive 70% of console" mean, please?




View Postoasiz, on 15 February 2019 - 11:54 AM, said:

Simply because DN3D was a big next step from Doom rather than being just a conceptually ambitious 3D shooter that was bound by old tech. Not just in game play but also modding and MP. Duke simply embraced everything out of the tech that it could.In many ways Duke3D was a kitchensink of different things that just happened to miraclously work together to provide an experience that is still quite unique in many ways.Other shooters on Build were maybe technically better executed in some ways but when you have the option of porting a bigger name with bigger audience, why bother?Ultimately they will be seen as "Duke clones" even if they had completely different codebase (blood).Plus titties sell.


I personally agree that DN3D was very innovative, both in what it introduced and how well it used the more traditional first person shooter ideas and systems. But for some reason, DN3D doesn't seem to get many mentions when the history of first person shooters is discussed. Doom, yes. Quake yes. Unreal yes. Goldeneye yes. Half-Life, of course. But not Duke Nukem 3D, and that baffles me.

High Treason might have a point, too. DN3D was based around action films and a lone hero saving the day against alien invasion movie tropes, and it's themes and scenarios might well have been much more attractive to gamers than the horror setting of Blood, or the martial arts (sort of) setting of Shadow Warrior 3D, or the Egyptian/mythological setting of Powerslave/Exhumed.
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User is offline   Kerr Avon 

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#17

View PostForge, on 15 February 2019 - 02:27 PM, said:

....Implying that I'm trying to be deceptive over something that anybody can easily look up is an interesting hot-take. When you discover what my end-game in this is, and what I plan on gaining, let me know so we're both in on it.


I don't think Phredreeke was implying anything bad about you, certainly not that you were lying or trying to deliberately misrepresent anything. I think (s)he just meant that you might have been perhaps reading too much into too little a time-frame. And I think the smiley in Phredreeke's post makes it clear that no offence was intended.
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User is offline   Forge 

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#18

View PostKerr Avon, on 15 February 2019 - 02:46 PM, said:

I've *never* understood why Quake received, and still receives so much attention,

It's not the game, it's the engine & the advance it represented at the time

same with the consoles and hardware - my shotgun blast of a general list may not have been as perfectly accurate as some may have wanted - (giving people something to troubleshoot makes them happy), but like I said, the writing was on the wall - cartridge consoles were on their way out, old video cards and processors were on their way out, older software engines were on their way out, Internet connections were speeding up and becoming more reliable.
Having the latest and greatest was a status symbol for the tech-nerds.
Still is.
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User is offline   Forge 

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#19

View PostForge, on 15 February 2019 - 01:54 PM, said:

Duke3d was released around the same time as.the nintento 64, playstation, sega saturn & 32x, VooDoo 1, 3dFx, 133MHz - 166 MHz processors


View PostTerminX, on 15 February 2019 - 02:34 PM, said:

PS1 was 1995 in North America, Dreamcast was 1999 and PS2 was 2000. GeForce 256 was also 1999 I think.


View PostTerminX, on 15 February 2019 - 02:34 PM, said:

Dreamcast was 1999 and PS2 was 2000. GeForce 256 was also 1999 I think.

November 27, 1998 in Japan, September 9, 1999 in North America, and October 14, 1999 in Europe.

View PostTerminX, on 15 February 2019 - 02:34 PM, said:

PS2 was 2000. GeForce 256 was also 1999 I think.

Sony announced the PlayStation 2 (PS2) on March 1, 1999. Reased on March 4, 2000, in Japan; October 26, 2000, in North America; November 24, 2000, in Europe; and November 17, 2000

View PostTerminX, on 15 February 2019 - 02:34 PM, said:

GeForce 256 was also 1999 I think.

Announced on August 31, 1999 and released on October 11, 1999


Redneck Rampage: April 30, 1997
Blood: May 31, 1997
Shadow Warrior: August 31, 1997


There. Feel better?
I was wrong. Completely inaccurate. Please disregard my previous posts.

This post has been edited by Forge: 15 February 2019 - 03:30 PM

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User is offline   axl 

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#20

I would pinpoint several reasons:

1. Duke Nukem 3D was the first build engine game of the big 4 (or big 3);

2. Blood and Shadow Warrior are more or less copies of Duke Nukem 3D. They followed the exact same formula. One could say Blood and Shadow Warrior are just Duke gone Horror and Duke gone Asian; Whereas Duke Nukem 3D was truely seen as a revolutionary game in the FPS genre: the focus on interactivity, a badass protagonist that would sprout oneliners, the cultural references, ...

3. By the time Blood and Shadow Warrior were released, the FPS genre had already evolved towards true 3D with the likes of Quake. Shadow Warrior and Blood were often regarded as "obsolete" from a technical point of view. They didn't bring anything extra to the FPS genre.

4. Duke Nukem 3D has a more "mainstream" approach than the 2 others. Level variety is much more diverse. One would visit cities, restaurants, flooded cities, space stations, canyons, prisons, rocket facilities, theme parks, ... Even nowadays it's hard to find a FPS game that has more variety in its levels than Duke Nukem 3D. Blood and Shadow Warrior on the other hand, are, given their theme, much more limited in that regard.

5. As a whole, Duke Nukem 3D is a more refined game than the other build engine games. Blood was at its release state (version 1.0) filled with bugs. Both Blood and Shadow Warrior are also a lot harder and therefore less accessible towards (new) gamers. And finally weapon balance was better in Duke 3D : every weapon has its use whereas in Blood the Life Leech or voodoo doll are rather useless.

But, don't get me wrong, I love Blood (shadow warrior is easily the least of the trio) to the death and I would place it in my top 5 games of all time. But it just isn't as good as Duke Nukem 3D. Duke Nukem 3D is the only game that I would acknowledge as a true Doom competitor.
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User is offline   Fox 

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#21

Duke 3D was revolutionary when it was released, and was also a solid game.

- Unlike Doom which used abstract settings, Duke 3D had realistic levels. This includes real-life landmarks and pop-culture references.

- The main character had personality, and the game used a lot of humor.

- Evolving scenarios and interactive objects.

- Erotic elements.

- The 3 episodes play very smoothly, something that's very underestimated. This is also the case for Doom shareware episode, but definitely not the case for the rest of the game, or for the other Build titles. For example, Shadow Warrior progression can be very obtuse at times.

This post has been edited by Fox: 15 February 2019 - 03:35 PM

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User is offline   TerminX 

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View PostForge, on 15 February 2019 - 03:18 PM, said:

There. Feel better?
I was wrong. Completely inaccurate. Please disregard my previous posts.

Calm down buddy. Your overall point isn't wrong, just the dates of the things you gave as examples. Jeez.

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User is offline   Phredreeke 

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#23

View PostKerr Avon, on 15 February 2019 - 03:01 PM, said:

I'm a bit surprised that Atari was on the list, surely the Jaguar couldn't have run Blood, at least not without totally butchering it? Though isn't it true that Atari (such as they are now) currently own the copyright to Blood?


I suppose they could have planned a separate console game like Lobotomy did with Powerslave.

Atari as it exists now is really a French company previously known as Infogrames.
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User is online   Ninety-Six 

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#24

View PostKerr Avon, on 15 February 2019 - 03:01 PM, said:

I personally agree that DN3D was very innovative, both in what it introduced and how well it used the more traditional first person shooter ideas and systems. But for some reason, DN3D doesn't seem to get many mentions when the history of first person shooters is discussed. Doom, yes. Quake yes. Unreal yes. Goldeneye yes. Half-Life, of course. But not Duke Nukem 3D, and that baffles me.


This has annoyed me to no end, honestly. To make it worse, Half-Life is often credited for being the first to do some things that Duke 3D, in fact, did first. HL did a lot of things first, but people give it more credit than it's due. And I'm saying this as someone who likes HL1 more than 2 and counts it among my favorite games of all time.


Honestly I think culturally people look at the game's extreme attitude and erotic elements and assume without actually looking deeper that it was just a superficial doom clone with attitude and not as the landmark title in the evolution of the genre that it is.
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User is offline   Forge 

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#25

View PostTerminX, on 15 February 2019 - 03:40 PM, said:

Calm down buddy. Your overall point isn't wrong, just the dates of the things you gave as examples. Jeez.

That's not it.
I don't mind being wrong, and being corrected.

I don't like that it was taken as being intentionally deceptive.

I'd rather be dumb, than a liar.
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User is online   Trooper Dan 

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#26

View PostFox, on 15 February 2019 - 03:34 PM, said:

- The 3 episodes play very smoothly, something that's very underestimated. This is also the case for Doom shareware episode, but definitely not the case for the rest of the game, or for the other Build titles. For example, Shadow Warrior progression can be very obtuse at times.


Amplifying on that point, in my opinion the level design in Duke 3D is overall better than in any other shooter in its era.
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User is offline   Tea Monster 

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#27

View PostRadar, on 15 February 2019 - 10:12 AM, said:

What's wrong with that? After all, it's Blood!

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User is online   Maisth 

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#28

To add to the reasons of why Duke succeeded, I believe another one would be that Duke also had a character that people "kinda" knew about, considering 3D wasn't the first Duke Nukem game, people who played the first and second duke would know the character well and by the time of 3D fans would buy the game without hesitation.

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User is online   Ninety-Six 

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#29

View PostMaisth, on 15 February 2019 - 04:51 PM, said:

To add to the reasons of why Duke succeeded, I believe another one would be that Duke also had a character that people "kinda" knew about, considering 3D wasn't the first Duke Nukem game, people who played the first and second duke would know the character well and by the time of 3D fans would buy the game without hesitation.


I'm not as sure about that. Duke's character in 3D was pretty signifcantly different from his first two installments. Plus Duke 3D put him on the map for a lot of people, who probably didn't even know the previous two games existed.
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User is offline   TerminX 

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  #30

View PostForge, on 15 February 2019 - 03:59 PM, said:

That's not it.
I don't mind being wrong, and being corrected.

I don't like that it was taken as being intentionally deceptive.

I'd rather be dumb, than a liar.

Oh. That's not what I got out of it, but the posts you're referring to weren't written by or addressed to me so I didn't really pay a lot of attention to them. This doesn't really seem like something someone would ever be deceptive about so that's not really an angle I'm seeing. I don't think that was what Phredreeke was saying at all.

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