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Old January 20th, 2011, 12:22 PM   Click here to go to the next staff post in this thread.   #1
Joe Siegler
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Default The DNF Atari 2600 Joke

Someone asked me in another thread this question:

Quote:
Originally Posted by zavage300 View Post
What was that DNF Atari 2600 cartrage all about, Can you explain that to me please?
I've answered this many times before (mostly on the old 3DR forums), but since DNF talk isn't over there anymore, I figure it's probably not a bad idea to tell the story again.

In early 2003, 3DR was getting ready to release the source code for Duke Nukem 3D. As was my custom back then, if we had something set up for a spring release, I tried to get it released on April 1st, for the "April' Fools Joke" release. I successfully lobbied to get the Duke3D source code released on April 1, 2003.

However that year, I was talking about engines, and consoles and stuff, and at the time I was big into collecting Atari 2600 cartridges. I joked with someone about doing a DNF Atari 2600 cart - what could we conceivably put in that - for real?

Obviously that wasn't happening, but what came out of that discussion was a desire by me to do a page to go with the Duke3D source code release. What I came up with was this. If I released an April Fool's joke page about a Duke Nukem Forever Atari 2600 game, and then followed it with the source code release, it would make the impact of the source code being there THAT much bigger. Thie idea being to generate a reaction like this.. "Oh that Atari 2600 thing was funny, and they're releasing the source code too? Very funny.. Wait - they really DID release it - holy ****!" That's what I was going for. The idea was approved, so I set about doing the page.

http://www.3drealms.com/duke4/dnf2600.html

The page itself was written by me, and I played a bit off of then (even then) long DNF game development and a few old Atari jokes. Even referencing the created, but abandoned and not released "Atari Mindlink" controller. Text was easy, and having someone photoshop the "Drew Carey" Duke art onto a catridge label was easy. I wanted to go further.

I looked around online, and found a piece of software that would take any JPG you fed it, and convert it to a 4K Atari 2600 rom. Given that again there was no "programming" for this gag, having a cartridge that displayed ANYTHING was an achievement, IMO. I chose the "Drew Carey" art, as at the time it was what 3DR had last used as official DNF art when it was used (which would have been the promo DVD given away at E3 2001). So I had to get the carts actually made. A friend of my brother's who is the biggest 2600 nerd I knew actually had hardware to burn these images onto an actual cartridge. As I write this eight years later, I can't recall if he had blank roms, or was able to overwrite one. Probably had blanks, since they're not rewritable. Anyway, the same guy also made up the label art and printed them out on stickers, which were put on cartridges.

In all I believe six of these were made, a couple of the silver labels, and a couple of the red label variants (see the link above for pictures). Two of them really did work. That video of me on the DNF 2600 page was not a fake or anything. It honestly did what I said it did. Granted, that's *ALL* it did, but it really did work. The other four were just common 2600 games (Combat, Donkey Kong) with DNF labels slapped on them. I kept one of the real ones for myself, and gave the other one to George as a momento.

So I released it on April 1, 2003, and it got a lot of laughs, which was the intent. It's one of the things I did on my own back in the 3DR days for DNF, since so much of my time was spent not talking about the project online.

A couple of amusing points after the fact.
  1. I got a few emails from customers quite ANGRY that we were wasting our time trying to program for that console. They were GENUINELY mad that the reason the game was "so late" was because of that. At the time, I really didn't know how to answer those. So I went with just "it was an April Fools' Joke".
  2. I got a second kind of insult - from people who wanted to know why we were wasting our time creating jokes like that. Not that they thought the 2600 game was real, but that we weren't posting "real" news and posting goofy stuff like that. My job as web guy WAS creating content, so the time I spent on that didn't impact the game's development one bit.
  3. I was contacted not too long after that by someone at Activision about putting the DNF rom on the Activision Anthology package. If you look at this picture, you'll see the interface. The idea was that the Duke Nukem Forever rom would be an easter egg. You did "something" (that something was never decided on), and you'd get the DNF rom with the cartridge images. You'd be able to get the CareyDuke image like the real game. However, due to all the legal stuff involved, it didn't happen. Because the person who created the software that created the rom had to be consulted, and he had a beef with the company putting the package together and denied permission. Oh well.
  4. On the 2600 page, the "stripper" images are from a real 2600 game. It was taken (amusingly enough) from one of the "porn" games produced back in the day (by a company called Mystique). Thought that was an amusing uh, "touch".
But yeah, that cartridge was a fun memory for me for sure.

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Old January 20th, 2011, 12:57 PM   #2
zavage300
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Default Re: The DNF Atari 2600 Joke

Thanks for the answer
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Old January 20th, 2011, 01:02 PM   #3
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Default Re: The DNF Atari 2600 Joke

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Siegler View Post
[*]I got a second kind of insult - from people who wanted to know why we were wasting our time creating jokes like that. Not that they thought the 2600 game was real, but that we weren't posting "real" news and posting goofy stuff like that.
Exactly the same happens now, a *couple" of years later, minus (good) joke(s).
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Old January 20th, 2011, 01:12 PM   #4
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Default Re: The DNF Atari 2600 Joke

I remember something about this years ago, memories flooding back. Great April Fools joke.
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Old January 20th, 2011, 01:49 PM   #5
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Default Re: The DNF Atari 2600 Joke

Hilarious.
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Old January 20th, 2011, 02:08 PM   #6
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Default Re: The DNF Atari 2600 Joke

Comedy goldmine right there.
I am still chuckling as I write this.
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Old January 20th, 2011, 03:30 PM   #7
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Default Re: The DNF Atari 2600 Joke

good times
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Old January 20th, 2011, 03:37 PM   #8
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Default Re: The DNF Atari 2600 Joke

Yes, I remember when this was first posted on the forums.... it was hilarious. Possibly one of my favorite things 3DR did. Very good times.
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Old January 20th, 2011, 04:34 PM   #9
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Default Re: The DNF Atari 2600 Joke

Quote:
"In addition, we spent a lot of time simplifying the game interface so it works with just the Atari 2600 joystick and a single fire button. You'll be amazed at how cool the new interface is - and you'll wonder why you ever bothered to play with a keyboard/mouse combo - the PC port of the Atari 2600 version will also feature this new interface."
Oh my... this sounds awfully familiar to something that is happening now
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Old January 20th, 2011, 06:31 PM   #10
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Default Re: The DNF Atari 2600 Joke

LMAO! Duke for Atari ha..
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