Duke Nuk'em: Hope For American Youth

The Sole Proprietor is an uncle, his sister having a son named Christopher, age 12.

An uncle has responsibilities. The Sole Proprietor isn't exactly sure what they are, but he thinks they have to do with encouraging the young man in his endeavors and providing him with the things a mother would never allow.

Therefor, visiting his sister and brother-in-law some time back, Christopher talked about his interest in games and the Sole Proprietor naturally asked if he had ever heard of DOOM (The game moms least like to see on their children's computer screens). Er, no was the response. Well, it can be downloaded over the Internet for free. Say, why don't we do that right now?

The Sole Proprietor is not and was not a DOOM enthusiast. Well, that's not accurate. He likes the game, he likes a lot of games, he just doesn't much like playing them. His introduction to DOOM was in a group environment, teams with each member on a computer navigating their character through a common alien laboratory (It was something like that, a laboratory on an alien world destroyed by bad guys, many of whom remained on site, heavily armed and in need of extermination.). You had to be careful while hosing down the surroundings with automatic everything fire, careful to kill the other guys without killing your own.

Christopher, however, liked DOOM. He like to play DOOM. He liked it a whole lot and when he met Duke Nuk'em, successor to DOOM, he liked it even better. Evidently the Duke (the Sole Proprietor isn't quite clear on this) begins were DOOM leaves off. Where DOOM had been the game moms least liked to see on their children's computer screens, Duke Nuk'em made them wistful over a calm and peaceful past. Where the Sole Proprietor may have lacked game player genes, all of the game player genes in the family tree seem to have been vested in Christopher who bounced Duke Nuk'em around, armed and on full automatic, across the pixilated stage.

Now, true absorbtion requires research. You read magazines about it, if they exist (and they do exist), you talk about it with like minded friends, and, if you really get under the hood you start making changes to the game itself. There seems to be a Duke Nuk'em development kit or something like it that allows you to create your own environment, exploding walls and the like, and Christopher has entered that door, busy learning the skills necessary to make his own violent universe.

And, the Sole Proprietor thinks, that's probably good. Because his nephew will go on to be an game developer or some other variety of computer freak? Maybe, there are worse things in life. More to the point, it will teach Christopher the process of setting a goal and working toward that goal, something the Sole Proprietor never really learned himself, and that will serve him well in life.

Are we experiencing less guilt yet, Sole Proprietor? Is the preaching over? Are you really ready to recommend the Duke Nuk'em development kit to the world as something that will "serve them well in life"? Calm down Prop, the world can take care of itself and that especially includes your nephew.


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