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FOX News tears into Duke Nukem Forever over Capture the Babe

Saturday, 26th March 2011 17:02 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

Some things in life are inevitable. Death, taxes, not getting along with your mother-in-law, FOX News being fair and balanced. Wait. Scratch that last bit.

In the most obvious news of the day, FOX News is insulted by Duke Nukem Forver’s content. While it was only a matter of time before the network set its sights on the game’s violence and tongue-in-cheek sexual nature, what’s surprising is the fact it seems to have taken umbrage the most with the game’s multiplayer mode: Capture the Babe.

Smack my bitch up

“Brace yourself for the awfully sexist world of Duke Nukem Forever,” reads the post. “The game’s 1996 precursor Duke Nukem 3D… depicted women as strippers and prostitutes. The new iteration of the game, set for release this spring, takes sexism to a new level — starting with Duke receiving implied oral sex from twins in school uniforms.”

“It was offensive then and it’s even more offensive now,” Jamia Wilson, vice president of the Women’s Media Center, told FoxNews.com. “These depictions of women are extremely harmful, especially to young women.”

The post on FOX’s website doesn’t point out the sexual nature of the game itself in the headline, but instead focuses on the multiplayer mode Capture the Babe, citing the fact that you “slap women” but never mentioning once in the entire post that the “smack” you provide to the women is on the ass. Someone unfamiliar with the game would automatically assume the slap would be in the face.

Capture the Babe is a variation on the popular multiplayer mode Capture the Flag. Instead of rushing into another group’s base to steal their flag, you will instead steal their “babe” and toss her over your shoulder. As her hands are bound, she will be squirming a bit on your shoulder and in order to calm her down, you will give her a slap on the buttocks. Not a punch, not a hard smack, and certainly, not in the face.

Duke Nukem has always been a cheeky series, and while it does objectify women, it have never taken itself seriously and plays up the whole 80s action movie themes: one-liners, sexy scantily clad women, and over-the-top enemies and guns. One thing it has never done, and still doesn’t do, is suggest that violence against women is okay and smacking a woman on the ass is not a violent act in this situation. It is part of the tongue-in-cheek nature of the game, and all part of poking fun at the American-style steroid pumping action hero.

The women in Duke’s fictional world are strippers and prostitutes. There are no Donna Reed’s or I Dream of Jeanie, thus to include a woman of a background such as this would not fit with the whole hedonistic world in which Duke resides -just like in the action films it parodies.

Won’t someone think of the children

Duke Nukem Forever, is obviously, an M rating game and was created with the mature audience in mind, despite the fact it is full of juvenile humor.

According to the ESRB listing, a couple different missions require players to find “sex toys and pictures of topless women.” Some scenes in the game imply sexual acts such “two women [appearing] to perform fellatio on [Duke] (e.g., raising their heads from his lap).” The ESRB listing notes that there is “no actual depiction of the sex act,” meaning it is only implied. Duke will also enter strip clubs and receive lap dances from topless and thong clad women. Sounds like a normal strip club, one that we’re sure many FOX pundits have visited on occasion.

“Our job is to provide consumers with information and guidance that helps them choose games they deem suitable for themselves and their families,” ESRB spokesman Eliot Mizrachi told FOX. “This game carries a Mature rating indicating that it’s intended for ages 17 and up, and retailers overwhelmingly enforce their store policies requiring that M-rated games not be sold to a customer under that age without a parent’s consent.”

Still, FOX notes that “the game will be available in stores and online, where customers must click a button stating they are 17 years of age or older — the only barrier to children buying such a game.”

Forget parental responsibility. Self-policing in FOX’s eyes does not work. However, adolescents and children for that matter, have always found a way to get around the rules, and find the key to Daddy’s liquor cabinet or porn stash. Buying a Mature game is no different, and game developers should not be held anymore responsible for the games they create  than movie directors, or music producers. This fact gets lost to those with such a “the sky is falling” mentality.

A woman’s perspective

Tarryn van der Byl, over on South African gaming site My Gaming has responded to the blatant sexism in Duke Nukem Forever with a well written and intelligent editorial on why she won’t be playing Duke.

Her problem with Capture the Babe mode is thus: “Would we still be okay with it, if the bound, defenceless, terrified woman in the Capture the Babe multiplayer mode were swapped out for a kid, perhaps, or a black guy, or Jesus? It seems to me that, all too often, women are soft, inculpable targets – and not least because even the most polite, tentative criticism of this is almost certain to prompt its own veritable cataclysm of sneering derision.

“It’s almost impossible to open anything like an intelligent, constructive debate on the subject, because it’s invariably and instantly engulfed by hostile disregard and/or condemnation and/or exhortations to STFU and get back in the kitchen. I mean, video games aren’t for chicks, anyway, and vindication is just a random and meaningless accumulation of syllables.”

One look at the website Fat, Ugly or Slutty give credences to Tarryn’s argument, that a game like Duke Nukem Forever “might be funnier if hateful, misogynistic attitudes and casual objectification of women like those ‘parodied’ in the game weren’t actually so shamefully prevalent in reality.”

While one cannot really call her opinion on the matter wrong – because opinions are neither right or wrong – so, kudos to her for sticking up for her beliefs and opinions.

However, some women find the Duke rather funny, just for the shear fact it is absurd and not based in reality what-so-ever. Some women, the writer of this post in particular, is one of the later on the matter.

Gearbox president Randy Pitchford said it best when describing the content in DNF to Xbox Magazine: “”Our goal isn’t to shock people, but I think there’s some stuff that’ll be just a bit uncomfortable,” he said. “We try to get right up to that edge and then relax enough so people don’t reject it.”

Which is exactly the point of videogames in general. The fine line. With Duke, you get to that line and if you were to cross it, it would no longer be fun. It would be nasty, horrible, and go way beyond ridiculous, macho, sexist, eye-rolling humor to something more masochistic, ugly and just plain hateful.

Duke Nukem Forever is supposed to be entertainment, and escapism. Just like all other forms of videogames, films, music and art. If you want serious, intelligent, and artistic entertainment, just look elsewhere.

Duke Nukem Forever is out on PC, PS3, and Xbox 360 in June.

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20 Comments

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  1. renegadegd

    I’m now much more interested in Duke Nukem after reading this and the fox news article? sounds like a fun little variation on an overused game type. You have successfully sold me a copy fox news! hooray for free publicity!

    #1 3 years ago
  2. Ireland Michael

    Steph, you give the Fox News people far too much credit.

    They *know* their news is billshit. The network’s mandate is to intentionally sensationalise the news. People have even been fired from there for refusing to over hype certain stories.

    They’re nowhere near as stupid as people think they are? They’re doing it on purpose to appeal to the viewer stupid enough to believe them.

    #2 3 years ago
  3. DSB

    As if Fox News doesn’t directly advocate far worse measures than slapping women on a daily basis.

    Not to use an overhyped internet fad-word, but they’ve really turned trolling into the main tool of their propaganda network. Arguably they’re just copying the style of replubican party itself, but ultimately their stories are 90% posturing over 10% actual story.

    They’re also quite arguably the most latently chauvanistic news organisation around. How many porno peroxide blondes are they up to now?

    No good black anchorwomen? No latinos? Okay then!

    Personally I think we need more bitchslapping gamemodes. And so do the bitches. They love that shit.

    #3 3 years ago
  4. Stephany Nunneley

    @2 Michael, I could write all day about how FOX is a chauvinistic, racists, fascist network, but it’s so obviously already. They have been caught numerous times clipping a video segment so that it sounds and looks like someone was saying or meaning something different entirely. Just to scare the Midwesterners and get the recknecks all in a uproar thinking the liberals want to take their guns and bibles away. It’s just too easy to mention it. But MSNBC and CNN do it too for the left.

    @3 “Personally I think we need more bitchslapping gamemodes. And so do the bitches. They love that shit.” – :D :D :D

    #4 3 years ago
  5. Aimless

    Pssh, no one complained about slapping women in GoldenEye!

    #5 3 years ago
  6. Crysis

    Wonder if Fox news would be complaining as much if there was a choice to play as a hulking, muscular female version of Duke with a mullet, playing capture the babe. Could call her Dyke Nukem :P
    Hail To The KingQueen.

    #6 3 years ago
  7. DSB

    @5 That was Famke Jansen, she obviously knew more than a bit of selfdefence, and she totally had it coming.

    (Mmmm, Famke Jansen, even the name sounds like something extremely dirty that you can do to someone)

    The only woman Fox News recognizes is the “Murcan Woman” who is,

    - 35
    - unemployed (excluding bakesales at church, y’all)
    - doesn’t live further north than Ohio, no further east than Virginia and no further west than Utah
    - has no education beyond highschool
    - has a kid roughly every 5 years
    - knows how to cook steak
    - drives a 4×4, because other cars are scary!
    - knows how to look purdy

    So they probably think that it’s this kind of woman that is depicted in the game, instead of the actual shameless sluts, who probably love every minute of it.

    To understand how Fox sees the world, you just have to turn time back 50 years or so.

    #7 3 years ago
  8. Crysis

    @7, Would be easier to just say redneck :|

    #8 3 years ago
  9. LOLshock94

    womans version of capture the babe would be capture the kitchen

    #9 3 years ago
  10. DSB

    @7 Having just stayed in Alabama and Mississippi for a few months recently, there are definitely too many different kinds of rednecks to just slap that onto them.

    And really there’s no reason why she wouldn’t live in a perfectly affluent neighbourhood, which would just make her white trash, more than a redneck.

    If you really wanna go there, there’s no reason why she wouldn’t live in Italy, Greece, Portugal or Spain :P

    #10 3 years ago
  11. Ireland Michael

    @9 That made my laugh my ass off.

    #11 3 years ago
  12. OrbitMonkey

    http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2011/3/23/

    I think this nails it.

    #12 3 years ago
  13. tmac2011

    Fox news stop advertising for games lol , everytime you say somkething that you dont like about it, i wanna buy it even more, lol @ capture the kitchen. there only doing this to build up more hype. yes im getting this game! if i see a mom buying it for a 12 or under kid i might say something. 15 and up should be able to understand its just a GAME and now we all loose the game now

    #13 3 years ago
  14. xino

    instead of called Capture the Babe, it should be called Capture the Hoe

    :/

    #14 3 years ago
  15. Stephany Nunneley

    @11 me too :D

    #15 3 years ago
  16. TheWulf

    @12

    The weird thing about that is that I said exactly the same thing on another site a number of days before that comic went up, and that wasn’t the first time either. I think that I must be somehow channeling Tycho, or vice versa, it’s creepy for it to have it happen a few times in a row.

    The thing is is that we commit virtual atrocities in the name of entertainment all the time. People kill, murder, slaughter, and torture. And it’s not reality, it’s virtual, and people should be able to distinguish the difference. The only thing that ever irritates me is if someone tries to justify any of this as ‘okay.’

    We humans are predators, big, nasty ones, and sometimes we need an outlet for that in this civilised world. We become monsters in a virtual world so that we don’t have to become monsters in the real one. And that’s fine. But that’s not a justification, it’s just something about who we are as a species. We’re not the highly evolved, enlightened peoples that we might like to think we are.

    All around the world, there are still huge problems for real people with misogyny, racism, homophobia, xenophobia, and so on. As someone with a mental disability, I’ve seen this all my life, and I can tell you that people can be unusually uncaring and lacking in empathy when they think of you as a lesser form of life. My life’s experiences have taught me that the Nazi regime didn’t have a monopoly on that sort of thinking.

    And it’s better to keep these things to a virtual world, really. Until we find real solutions to these problems, it’s definitely better to siphon them off into a game. If one is having real world frustrations, then it’s better to go and run over a bunch of people in GTA than to let that desire build and build until it happens in reality. Which it sometimes does, as we’ve seen.

    There’s a bloody nasty monstrous side to all people, even those who think of htemselves as the best and most ethical of people, and as I pointed out, I’ve seen even saints become demons behind locked doors. It’s just a part of who we are as a race, where we came from, our evolution, and what we had to do to get here. It was a struggle for us to reach this point, and the human psyche has not left behind the mechanisms that it had in place to deal with the struggle.

    I’m hoping one day that humanity will be better than that as a whole, but until then, I think it’s fine that people siphon this all off into games. Atrocities happen in games, as Tycho pointed out, virtual but symbolic atrocities. So long as it’s kept to games and people understand why it shouldn’t pour over into reality, then that’s fine.

    #16 3 years ago
  17. Lounds

    Women

    #17 3 years ago
  18. Callum

    Bitches be crazy

    #18 3 years ago
  19. DaMan

    there really is nothing better in being a rapist or homicidal maniac in videogames, it’s the same as dreaming but you can control all the actions.. if anything it just further fucks you up.. worth noting is that you aren’t born a rapist, you might become that if you try dropping those native parts of yourself which later become twisted and altered..

    anyway hardly any of that is related to DN though to begin with, since it ‘s always been a parody on asinine american action movies.

    #19 3 years ago
  20. Dr.Ghettoblaster

    blah blah blah

    I don’t remember any complaints about all the Leisure Suit Larry games which imply just as much as this if not even more.

    I don’t hear complaints about all the swearing and implied sex on network TV these days……….including FOX.

    I like the variation of CTF though….and the spanking…….sounds fun!

    #20 3 years ago