There’s a feeling among some fans of Duke Nukem that anyone who dares to give a bad review to a Duke title simply doesn’t understand what the game is trying to do. We need to relax, goes the argument, relax enough to laugh at the rampant misogyny and hateful stereotypes on display throughout the game. (…) The fans are wrong. One can laugh at jokes about men and women, and there’s nothing wrong with being risque, but Duke is thoughtless, backwards, and belligerent. (…) At some point, matters of personal taste become simple questions of basic decency.
Ben Kuchera’s review of Duke Nukem Forever, emphasis mine.
When a reviewer in a mainstream gaming publication is willing to call out a big name title on its misogyny, it’s a hopefully sign that the video game world is moving forward. Unfortunately most of the game designers aren’t moving forward at the same pace as the game consumers. They still design games and advertise games to an imaginary ideal gamer, a teenage, or possibly college-aged man, and calibrate maturity levels accordingly. Gamers are more diverse than that. When will the designers get the memo?
Hard to say, but the PR team for Duke Nukem Forever, despite the game’s fuck ‘em if they can’t take a joke attitude, is apparently too sensitive themselves to take criticism of their game:
(T)he Redner Group’s official Twitter account posted something you almost never see: an open threat stating that outlets who reviewed Duke Nukem Forever poorly may not receive review copies of games in the future. Anyone who has done this job for any amount of time has suffered through a dry spell after giving a publisher a bad review, but this is the first time the threat of a blacklist has been made public.
After Ben Kuchera (who, if I had gold stars to give away, would get this week’s gold star of spinster gamer approval) called them out on this shit, the 2K games sacked The Redner Group and publicly apologized.
Edit: It’s been pointed out to me that the PR group was going after anyone who gave the game a negative review, so the crap Mr. Kuchera got wasn’t just because he pointed out the game was hateful. He panned the game all around.