Good evening! … or afternoon… or morning… what time is it for you right now? Oh, it doesn’t matter, because we’re about to go in a TIME MACHINE. Right this way, have a seat in my Delorean. Pretty comfy seats, right? It’s a bitch to park, though. Okay, let’s get out of this Delorean and hop on inside of my time machine. Oh–did you think this was the time machine? Haha, you’re silly.
The year is 1996. Or something. Something like that. It’s the summer before my freshman year of high school. The future is nothing but opportunity! Well, opportunity to be picked on and belittled by my peers, but I don’t know that yet. Right now, everything is awesome, because I’m at some friend’s house, and I’ve just seen Duke Nukem 3D for the first time.
The graphics are amazing! I’ve never seen anything like this before! When I shoot the wall (or my friend shoots the wall, because he won’t let me play), it leaves bullet holes! You can shoot pig cops! There are strippers! You can give the strippers money and see boobs! That might be the first boob I’ve ever seen!
Duke Nukem is such a badass! It’s time to kick ass and do other stuff! He’s all tired of doing other stuff! Yeah!
When I get back home from my friend’s house, I decide I have to have Duke Nukem 3D. But these are the days of shareware! Real demos! I sign into AOL. CHFDSGFFSK! KRAMPLESHCITICK! SHXHGDSISXIIII! My 2400 baud modem squeals and screeches. “You’ve got mail!” it yells out to me. Thanks computer. Man, this really is the future. I go up to the keyword button and click it. I type in “Download.” I search for Duke Nukem. And I find it! Yes! It will be mine. Oh. But wait. It’s such a big file. Look at it! That’s almost 6 megabytes. That’ll take forever.
I do the math, and based on AOL’s estimates of how long it’ll take to download it, and factoring in how much they charge by the hour for their internet service, I’ll end up paying thirty dollars for this shareware demo. I think about scrounging the money up to pay my parents. I think about not telling my parents and just suffering the consequences. But what if my sister picks up the phone midway through the download? We only have one line! It’ll disconnect and I’ll have to start all over.
(Pst… should we tell Past Me not to worry about it, that in a few months we’ll get it on an awesome PC Gamer disc? Nah… Let’s just go back to the present).
It’s the present! That was a trip, right? MODEMS! Life was crazy back then.
Oh? What’s this? Duke Nukem 3D is on the xbox 360 and it’s on sale for only $5? That’s a sixth of what I would have paid in bandwidth costs for the demo in ’96. GIMME GIMME GIMME!
Wait. What’s wrong with my TV? This isn’t how the graphics looked. These graphics are… ugly. I can barely see this stripper’s boobs. And Duke sounds… like a lame version of Kurt Russell. What’s happening here?
Oh. Nostalgia. What do you say we play two levels, get one ten-point achievement, and then never touch it again? Yeah? Cool.