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Leaving The Realm of the Third Dimension

May 7, 2009

3D Realms was an industry innovator. THE industry innovator I should say. Without them, the idea of episodic gaming and downloadable content wouldn’t even exist. There would be no Wolfenstein, no Duke Nukem… no Dopefish. The games that Apogee/3D Realms published in the early-mid 1990’s is responsible for a period I refer to as the “gaming renaissance.” Some may disagree with me on the term, but this was a period after the PC started to become more than a viable option for gaming; it became a gaming POWERHOUSE. This was the period when graphics, sound and gameplay all started blending together to create the truly immersive experiences that today allow us to classify videogames as a legitimate artform. The PC had sidescrollers, RPGs, First Person Shooters (DOOM clones in those days), adventure games… you name it, the PC had it, and thanks to the technology it looked and sounded better than anything the SNES or Genesis could ever offer. So while the two sides feuded over who had a better console, I went with the only console that still remains a powerhouse of gaming capabilities to this day. I’ve always been and always will be a PC gamer and developer.

And so was 3D Realms. They hung in there as a PC publisher in their later days, giving us games like Max Payne and Prey, not to mention a handful of Duke titles for consoles and PC. However, when you think of 3D Realms, you think of the most ironic title ever given to a game.

Duke Nukem Forever.

It’s a shame, really, because if they had made the game using Quake I or II like was the original plan, it’d probably be out. Would it be great? Who knows, but we certainly still wouldn’t be talking about it. We would have moved on to bigger and better games instead of being stuck on this for 12, nearly 13 years, all culminating in the end of one of the greatest game studios ever known to mankind.

Luckily, the Apogee name was renewed a few months ago and it is unaffected by the closure. Unfortunately, they are working on the Duke Nukem Trilogy, once again a project that is destined to end in failure. Three games based on a gaming icon of old that everybody sees as a joke. If Eat Lead: The Return of Matt Hazard had done what it was supposed to do and parodied Duke directly, it could have ended the misery and we’d see some awesome, original IPs or revival of other, old IPs coming out of Apogee. Games like Raptor/Stargunner, Hocus Pocus, Rise of the Triad, and Commander Keen. Or hell, stop beating around the bush and give the Dopefish his own damn game. In these rough economic times, I wouldn’t doubt that the guys at id would love to get in on some small, cheap games to help keep cash flowing around the office.

We’re losing great studios on a near daily basis. Big Huge, Black Isle, NCSoft, 3D Realms, etc. Yet, each of these studios has spun off multiple, smaller indie studios. That’s what Apogee was in the first place. Now that it has spun back off from 3D Realms, let’s see them do what they do best.

In closing, it’s time to kick ass and chew gum. And guess what? I’m all out of ass.


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