How Duke Nukem changed gaming forever

The first person shooting genre goes all the way back to 1979 when Atari launched an 8-bit game called ‘Combat’. It was later followed by other titles such as ‘Asteroids’, ‘Space Invaders’, ‘Galaga’ and ‘1942’. However, the genre really came into its own in the 1980s, when games such as ‘Pilot’, ‘Berzerk’ and ‘Robotron 2084’ began to appear. 1982 was an important year for the genre because it was when the first ever first person shooting game ‘MIDI Maze’ was released. 1982 was also the year when the term ‘first person’ was first used in relation to video games.

A Brief History of Shooters in the 80s and 90s

The early 80s saw a lot of different types of shooters being developed, including the ‘fantasy’ shooter, ‘sci-fi’ shooter and ‘horror’ shooter. In the mid to late 80s, the genre became much more ‘realistic’. Games such as ‘Wolfenstein 3D’ and ‘Shadow Warrior’ were huge hits. The 90s saw a huge increase in the popularity of first person shooters. Games such as ‘Doom’, ‘Quake’ and ‘Half-Life’ were massive hits. By the end of the 90s, first person shooters were a multi-million pound industry.

1991: The Birth of Duke Nukem

Guns, women and aliens are a winning combination, and they’ve been around since the 80s. ‘Duke Nukem’ first appeared in 1991 on the PC as a pixelated, 8-bit pixelated sprite. The game was designed by 3D Realms and published by GT Interactive. It was a great little game and spawned a sequel in 1993 called ‘Duke Nukem II’. But Duke Nukem was about to be reborn. In 1996, GT Interactive was bought out by Infogrames, and the ‘Duke Nukem’ series was put to rest.

1994: The Rise and Fall of Duke Nukem 3D

The game that revolutionized shooters was released in 1996 and was called ‘Duke Nukem 3D’. The game was a huge hit, and Duke Nukem became a household name. The game was first released on the PC, but it was later ported to the PlayStation, Sega Saturn and the Nintendo 64. This game was unique in that it was the first ever PC game to use the Quake engine, meaning it was also the first ever first person shooter to use the Quake engine. It was also the first ever 3D game to use the Unreal engine. It was a huge breakthrough for first person shooters in general.

1998-2002: Duke Stands Tall Again, But Only for a Moment

In 1998, the game ‘Duke Nukem Forever’ was announced and was due to be released in 2001. However, the game was put on hold by the developers due to financial problems. The game was put on hold for so long that people began to start believing that it would never be released. In 2002, 3D Realms went into administration due to financial difficulties and was bought out by Take-Two Interactive. They finally managed to release Duke Nukem Forever in 2011.

2002-2011: Duke Takes a Bow—For Now

In 2002, a compilation of the first two Duke Nukem games was released on the PC, Xbox and the PlayStation 2. Also in 2002, a PC game called ‘Duke Caribbean’ was released. It was an adventure game with a very strange storyline. In 2003, another PC game called ‘Duke Nukem: Total Meltdown’ was released. In 2004, ‘Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project’ was released as a PC game and was a very impressive first person shooter. In 2005, ‘Duke Nukem: Endangered Species’ was released as a PC game, and it was a LOT more interesting story-wise than ‘Duke Caribbean’. The last game to be released with the ‘Duke Nukem’ name was a PS2 game in 2011 called ‘Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project’.


Duke Nukem has always been a controversial character, and he has always been a massive hit with gamers who have enjoyed playing his games throughout the years. Duke Nukem Forever was a game that had been talked about for a very long time and a lot of people thought that it would never be released. When it was, it didn’t disappoint and will go down as one of the most important shooters of all time.