If you had a computer that could play games in 1996, chances are you downloaded the shareware of Duke Nukem 3D in early 1996. I certainly did and while some people can wax poetic about the triforce and zelda, (Writers note: I have never cared enough to play a legend of Zelda game for more than 5 or 10 minutes) I will never forget the Duke Nukem 3D experience. Playing with other people inside this world was addictive and fun, and caused me to play endless nights into the wee hours of the morning.
Little did I know, a few months later I would be in a strip club in Hollywood with the games creator George Broussard and his team after the 2nd night of E3.
The only reason I went to E3 is because of the advice I got from the first guy to interview game developers and post them on the internet. Mark Shandler. He was involved in promoting Duke Nukem and other games from that era. He would do great interviews with developers that took you inside the process like nobody had done before. He said to me, if you really want your show and website to be successful, you need to go to E3. That's where the whole industry gathers to see what everyone is working on.
He invited me to his hotel to sit in on one of his show tapings. I couldn't believe how lucky I was. I can't remember who his guest was that night, but I remembered the mixer and microphones he brought. I remember how professional it all was compared to my shitty radio shack microphone.
After we finished the show he told me we were going to meet up with George Broussard and some of his team. I had no idea what to expect, I hadn't heard anything about George. I only knew him as the genius behind this amazing game that had everyone playing. That's when we rolled up to "The Seventh Veil"
We were going to a strip club, just like Duke Nukem does in the game. We had all been having a few cocktails but nobody got very rowdy. They did get lap dances, a lot of them. In fact I don't think George was seen again as long as I was there. He was either in the champagne room or simply re-loading lap dances from the back room because I never saw him again. He did seem very happy that night as did all the guys who were getting rave reviews from the gaming community.
It's almost mind boggling that the journey from Duke Nukem 3D to Duke Nukem Forever went the way it did. It was like seeing a glimpse of greatness only to have it disappear like some kind of Bigfoot or Alien creature. Making 3D games during that era was fascinating because the technology was constantly evolving. Imagine if filmmakers had to invent the camera every time they wanted to make a movie. I still don't understand the whole story behind Duke Nukem Forever but I know that the character and world of Duke Nukem 3D will stay with me forever.
Of course, years later Duke Nukem would entertain me in a way I never expected when the Vent Hacker used a Duke Nukem sound board to torture a woman on Ventrillo.