A new online petition asking Wal-Mart not to sell Duke Nukem Forever has over 5,000 names on it. In its protest against the game’s sexist content, the petition seems especially irritated by Forever‘s “Capture the Babe” multiplayer mode.
In this game variant, players have to carry a squirming ‘babe’ over their shoulder and slap her on the backside to calm her down if she ‘freaks out’. Yeah … I know. Petitioner Shelby Knox writes:
“To be clear, Duke Nukem Forever makes a game out of physical and sexual violence against women … the Capture the Babe mode of the Duke Nukem game, which will be played primarily by young people, sends the message that physical and sexual violence against women is normal, acceptable, and even funny. It’s not — and we have to say so.”
It’s not an entirely accurate claim (Duke Nukem Forever is rated ‘Mature’ so ‘young people’ shouldn’t be playing it), but it’s pretty obvious that Forever is going to be the most misogynistic mainstream game for some years. Its defenders say the game is ‘tongue-in-cheek’, and fair enough: I see that also.
In fact, I’m not really offended by Duke Nukem Forever. More than anything, I just see it as a sort of embarrassing relic that has bizarrely been revived for 2011. It’s tasteless, tacky, and not smart or witty in the slightest. However, I’m also unconvinced this will spawn a generation of men who beat women. It’s just too silly and deeply embedded in the realms of fantasy and satire to be taken seriously.