Crap Shoot: Duke Nukem

Richard Cobbett at

Richard Cobbett steps back for time in this special Before They Were Infamous edition of Crap Shoot, returning to the dark days when nobody really took the PC seriously as a gaming platform.

Looking back, it's almost impossible to comprehend just how fast PC games moved in the early 90s. The original Duke Nukem came out in 1991. Duke Nukem 3D came out in 1996. That's five years to go from a simple 2D side-scroller to full, multilevel 3D worlds that at least took a crack at recreating the real world. It's five years in which Duke went from a generic platform game character who almost got renamed over fears that he might be mistaken for a Captain Planet villain into the poster-boy for adolescent power fantasies. It's safe to say that when the first game came out, nobody would have predicted the world would still be on tenterhooks, waiting for his next adventure. After all, when's the last time you heard anyone talk about the far more popular Commander Keen, or other contemporary characters like Johnny Dash, Major Stryker, Snake Logan or Mylo Steamwitz? Come on, you know Mylo! From Crystal Caves?

The original Duke Nukem definitely isn't an obscure game as such. Most people are at least dimly aware that the series didn't start with Duke Nukem 3D, and that game originally shipped with both the original and its sequel (the unsurprisingly named Duke Nukem II) on the CD. However, chances are most people haven't played it. This week then, we're going back to before anyone knew to bet on Duke.

Crap Shoot: Traffic Department 2192

Richard Cobbett at

Richard Cobbett digs into the archives to bring obscure, interesting and forgotten games back into the light, starting with a shareware shooter about drawing double yellow lines in the sand.