Duke Nukem Forever Wins The True Lifetime Achievement Award For Vaporware: Coming Out Never

from the duke-nukem-for-never dept

As plenty of folks know, the video game Duke Nukem Forever has long topped Wired's annual vaporware list. It's been promised for over a decade, and has always been a work in progress. Wired actually got so sick of having it at the top of the vaporware awards that it tried to push it off the list by giving it a "lifetime achievement award." But that was way back in 2003... and the fact that it stayed vaporware for a while meant that it came back on the list. However, it appears the game has now transcended all vaporware and officially become permanent vaporware as the developer working on it has shut down. At this point, it's hardly a surprise, but it does sorta make you wonder what they were working on for the past twelve years...


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  1.  
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    SteveD, May 8th, 2009 @ 3:53am

    Gamers are always complaining about publishers forcing titles out before they are 'complete', requiring technical fixes and gameplay patches over the following months.

    But Duke Nukem Forever demonstrates the danger of a 'Its done when its done' attitude in the creative industry; a lack of enforced deadlines can mean something is never really finished.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 8th, 2009 @ 4:00am

    looks like ars will be the only website to review it. I was kind of hoping it would revolutionize gaming because its meant to be played within a browser and can play with no problems on linux, mac, and windows.

    link to the review:
    http://arstechnica.com/gaming/reviews/2006/04/forever.ars

     

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  3.  
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    Dan, May 8th, 2009 @ 4:11am

    title

    Maybe you meant to say "Vaporware" in the title too!?

    "what they were working on for the past twelve years..."
    I think they were playing the latest release yes, the old one) to see what needs to be improved...

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Poster, May 8th, 2009 @ 4:18am

    At this point, it's hardly a surprise, but it does sorta make you wonder what they were working on for the past twelve years...

    Nothing, really. The last game 3D Realms developed internally was released in 1997; since then, they've mainly been publishing others' games.

    3D Realms deserved to die.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 8th, 2009 @ 4:18am

    I've heard that the rights have been acquired by someone else. So this thing isn't entirely dead.

     

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  6.  
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    AdrianS, May 8th, 2009 @ 4:23am

    The joke is on you.

    I think the joke is on websites that continue to report on this game.

    Congratulations Techdirt, you're in good company.

     

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  7.  
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    Eclecticdave (profile), May 8th, 2009 @ 4:24am

    Ars

    I can't figure out if AC#2 knows that the Ars review was an April Fools joke...

     

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  8.  
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    yozoo, May 8th, 2009 @ 4:30am

    Hmm seems to me

    This is about the 3rd developer to go under while "working" on Duke Nukem Forever. I think this is likely only a temporary setback, someone else will be "working" on it soon . . . there is just too much free buzz that comes with it

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 8th, 2009 @ 4:30am

    Re:

    Check the date on that ARS "review"...

     

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  10.  
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    Peet McKimmie, May 8th, 2009 @ 4:32am

    Re: Hmm seems to me

    So, what you're saying is that developing DNF is a bit like drumming for Spinal Tap...

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 8th, 2009 @ 4:37am

    I think that people are missing part of the reason this game and similar games get pushed back so often. They start by being ambitious and trying to be the top of the line ground breaking game, but then get behind schedule. Which means that by their release date the game will be a dud, so they then need to entirely redesign large portions of the game either to stay up to date with graphics, or to add new features or to make the game play longer or deeper, or the level design more complex. But then since the management is clearly the issue, those features only push the game further behind schedule, until everything for the game except for potentially the script is reset, and they start from scratch.

    It isnt hard to see how this could happen, its just unfortunate that it does.

     

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  12.  
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    Matt, May 8th, 2009 @ 4:47am

    Re:

    please. There's a thing called balance. We want a game to be complete (and more importantly, well tested) when it's ready for release, and not rushed out.

    Duke Nukem Forever is the extreme scenario, not the norm.

    Sometimes a game takes forever to come out and is still broken such as Darkfall.

     

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  13.  
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    Haywood, May 8th, 2009 @ 5:06am

    Re: Re: Hmm seems to me

    "Duke Nukem Forever" and "did not finish" have the same acronym, (DNF) coincidence? I think not.

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 8th, 2009 @ 5:17am

    its time to kick ass and chew bubble gum, I am all out of gum

     

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  15.  
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    SteveD, May 8th, 2009 @ 5:18am

    Re: Re: Balance

    And finding balance is part of the art of project management . But how complete is 'complete'? As the saying goes, most projects spend 95% of their time being 95% complete.

    So how do you define 'rushed' and how do you define 'complete'?

    A gamer who finds a bug that causes a fatal crash might complain the game wasn't complete or well tested, but consider this; you could put 1'000 man-hours of testing into a game and have it exceeded by 10'000 hours of play-time by your customers in the first week of release (what's more customers with a far more varied combination of technology then you had available to test with).

    So you run beta's and you squash what bugs you can, but there's really no such thing as perfect code even if your engineers will happily waste months of time trying to create it.

    But these are simply technical challenges. There are artistic challenges in coming up with an idea but not releasing a game around it for years; what seemed innovative originally becomes dated by release. That's what happened to the infamous Daikatana. This is also what has happened to Duke Nukem Forever; they kept 'updating' the graphics engine to keep it looking modern, in the process throwing away years of work.

    If you listen to the developer commentary of the Half Life 2 games the developers mention a bunch of features they'd originally intended to be in a title but (due to un-realistic expectations of development time or complexity) had to shelve for future titles. A fan might consider this evidence of an uncompleted game, but good managers know better.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 8th, 2009 @ 5:31am

    "I don't have time to play with myself" Geez I think 12 years was plent of time

     

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  17.  
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    Ima Fish, May 8th, 2009 @ 5:32am

    Re:

    I think you hit the nail on the head. That's exactly what happened.

    However, there was a certain amount of laziness you forgot to factor in. DNF started out with a Quake2 engine, if my memory serves me. Because the engine and physics were already set, there was simply no reason DNF could not have been released within a year.

    Sure when the Quake3 engine was released, they decided to change gears and start all over again. However, once again, DNF could have been released a year later.

    And when it switched to the Unreal engine, once again, it could have been released a year later.

    Sure their drive for perfection was a huge problem, but clearly their completely lack of actual work on the game led to its downfall too.

     

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  18.  
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    JohnForDummies (profile), May 8th, 2009 @ 5:41am

    It's a hard thing to balance... to have a franchise as popular as Duke Nukem (esp. with the hype behind Duke Nukem Fornever), which direction do you go? On the one hand, it has to be GOOD or you risk disappointing your legion of fans, on the other hand, it has so many fans, the game coulda been "Duke fartin' on a snare drum" and it would have made millions. Had the developers not started over every time a new 3D engine came out, maybe they could have released SOMETHING.

     

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  19.  
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    WarOtter (profile), May 8th, 2009 @ 5:46am

    Re:

    Man it takes a special kind of dumb to be fooled by a 3 year old April Fools Day prank... Congrats AC!

     

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  20.  
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    WarOtter (profile), May 8th, 2009 @ 5:47am

    Re:

    It's time to kick ass and chew bubblegum, and I'm all out of ass.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 8th, 2009 @ 5:51am

    Wut have I missed guise?

    I still have a 3DFX Voodoo 3500.

    But recently, I've been eyeballing this $399 iMac Mini tho. Her OS will shut up in 10 seconds when I tell her to, and warm up in 27 seconds flat.

    These things will put a warm spot in you too, guaranteed.

    She's super cute too. I'll get her all the perephials she wants.

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 8th, 2009 @ 6:05am

    "Did Not Finish" now became "Did NEVER Finish"

     

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  23.  
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    Evan, May 8th, 2009 @ 6:38am

    Ironically,

    Duke Nukem Forever's initials are DNF, the same acronym used in racing to mean, 'Did Not Finish.'

     

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  24.  
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    Tgeigs, May 8th, 2009 @ 6:43am

    Re: Wut have I missed guise?

    First of all, Spamalot, outstanding spelling in the title there. Which desolate country are you the prince of again?

    Secondly, I don't want your warms spots in me, thank you very much.

     

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  25.  
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    Tgeigs, May 8th, 2009 @ 6:45am

    I'm fairly certain that w/all the hype this shutdown of 3Drealms is creating, SOMEONE will pick up "Forever", throw some polish on the turd sandwich of whatever they'd already developed, and release it for consumption.

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 8th, 2009 @ 6:51am

    Why doesn't Obama give a tax credit to the folks who can bring it to market?

    $3T was found elsewhere. If he's such a geek as the media makes him out to be, he'd understand...

    Then again, he still hasn't showed up to get his Stan Lee signed copy of Spiderman at Colbert yet either.

    Hmm. Priorities... Yes, let's spend $3T on whatever the hell sounds good. Has anyone torn apart the new budget yet?

     

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  27.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger, May 8th, 2009 @ 6:52am

    Re:

    Yeah, when I was reading the articles on Google news yesterday I kept hearing the quote about the Duck Nukem trilogy was still in production and work on DNF was on schedule. I started laughing when I read that last part.

    "Deep Silver and Apogee Software are not affected by the situation at 3D Realms" and that "Development on the Duke Nukem Trilogy is continuing as planned."

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 8th, 2009 @ 6:56am

    some times good things come to those who wait. The new Team Fortress is a perfect example

     

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  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 8th, 2009 @ 6:58am

    Re: Re: Wut have I missed guise?

    Well, Mr. Navy Special Services Intelligence Officer in Chicago with a DJ company, sir,

    I appreciate your warm response and will keep it in mind going forward.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 8th, 2009 @ 7:50am

    Re:

    Looks like hes all out of kick arse too

     

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  31.  
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    Ryan, May 8th, 2009 @ 7:53am

    Re:

    Actually, that sounds like it would fit in absolutely perfectly with Obama's current strategy; provide 3D Realms with a $10-20 billion bailout, ostensibly so that they retain their jobs and the nation is not critically damaged by the cancellation of Duke Nukem Forever. Given that they never actually do anything, the administration would likely see this as an ideal project since it would "require" more billions every six months or so to stay afloat, although I doubt 3D Realms has expended much of their capital on lobbying bribes--which could hurt them if they attempt to pursue this course of action. I really would not be the least bit surprised...

     

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  32.  
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    chris (profile), May 8th, 2009 @ 7:59am

    Re: Re: Hmm seems to me

    So, what you're saying is that developing DNF is a bit like drumming for Spinal Tap...

    or that the DNF source code is like the hope diamond.

     

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  33.  
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    Matt, May 8th, 2009 @ 8:00am

    Re: Re: Re: Balance

    no game has an equal level of rushed vs complete. That is absolutely something on a case by case scenario.

    What kinds of things mean rushed? Failing to acknowledge flaws when they are found, insufficient periods of beta testing (and insufficient periods of open beta testing) are certainly 2 things that are extreme indicators of this. Doing short open/closed betas is not only bad for development but bad for marketing as well.

    Other things: making sure things are consistent, having games tested by testers internally (not by employees, but tested at the company by external individuals) are all extremely important facets.

    Other things: How about proper hardware support/keeping a as trim/optimized as possible (demigod is an example of releasing too early with that). People recognize it's not going to be perfect out the door but "not horrible" is expected if not required.

    When a game has huge gamebreaking inherent flaws, that would be rushing to production. When you pull a game at the last minute and say "we're releasing it next month instead", that shows that you're not rushing. So it is just as much people's perspective as it is legitimate issues.

    I myself have done gaming beta testing hired by companies, volunteer, open beta, and other forms for 13 years, and I'm only 26 (I started with Konami/Virgin). There are ways to do this well, and of course larger companies have easier resources to do so.

     

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  34.  
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    chris (profile), May 8th, 2009 @ 8:02am

    Re: Re:

    It's time to kick bubblegum and chew ass, and I'm all out of time.

     

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  35.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 8th, 2009 @ 8:11am

    Its time to kick ass and chew bubblegum, and I'm all out of funding.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
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    Yakko Warner, May 8th, 2009 @ 8:16am

    Working on the engine

    There's a theory that they were just working on the engine, and that the "DNF project" was really just a research project for technology used in the Unreal engine. It helps to explain how they stayed in business, throwing resources into a project that never got finished, if they sold the tech for things like Unreal and Gears of War.

    I don't know how much stock I put in it, but it's a nice theory... ;)

     

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  37.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 8th, 2009 @ 9:16am

    I have seen spinets of Duke Nukem ForNever over the years.
    It always looked impressive so it lead me to ask what else needs to be done to release to market? Just release the whole thing as open source and let the community finish it.
    Enough is enough I want to play it now while I am still young enough.

     

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  38.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 8th, 2009 @ 9:18am

    Re: Re:

    I would support Bush's policy here, go in, blow the whole thing up, let the next guy clean the mess.

     

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  39.  
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    Adam, May 8th, 2009 @ 9:38am

    Re: Re: Re: Balance

    They obviously got way too stuck in waterfall mode on DNF. But look at a game like Too Human. That was originally set to be on the Gamecube, and ended up releasing on the Xbox 360. It was so badly balanced in terms of play that, for example, your character could be poisoned, and you would watch your health drain all the way to the point where it killed you without any way of healing yourself. Unless you picked the ONE character version with a healing ability to play as. Encounters were far apart, with little points of interest in between. It was one of the most downloaded demos on Xbox Live, and sales tanked. Clearly, more dev time was needed, even after all the years they put into it. I could see DNF happening the same way. Everybody stuck dithering over something, and nobody in a leadership position strong enough to say, "This is what we're doing, now stop talking about it and get to work!"

     

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  40.  
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    Tgeigs, May 8th, 2009 @ 9:39am

    Re: Re: Re: Wut have I missed guise?

    Yeah, I definitely wasn't Special Services, nor do I own a DJ company. But I'm glad you've taken a Navy Scout/Recon E6 that runs trivia nights at a few Chicago bars and turned him into a special forces DJ! Please tell me you work in PR.

     

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  41.  
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    Lucretious, May 8th, 2009 @ 11:02am

    George Broussard always said that we'd know "in a big way" when Duke was ready.

    Part of me wants to beleive its all a PR stunt.....

    dammit, I really wanted to play this thing :(

     

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  42.  
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    Thomo, May 8th, 2009 @ 11:08am

    Meet techdirt's stds

    At least the company wasn't clogging up the competitive landscape with copyrights or patents. But then, maybe it was their 'freeware' business model that was not commercially viable.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
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    Anonymous12, May 8th, 2009 @ 11:14am

    its time to kick ass and chew bubble gum, AND I'M all out of gum...

    If you're going to quote Duke, do it right..

     

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  44.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 8th, 2009 @ 2:02pm

    The mythical release

    One wonders how many times they did the old "add more manpower to a late project" thing along the way...

     

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  45.  
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    Mike (profile), May 8th, 2009 @ 2:27pm

    Re: title

    Maybe you meant to say "Vaporware" in the title too!?

    Oops. Yes. Fixed. Thanks.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
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    Azrael, May 9th, 2009 @ 1:01am

    Re:

    Probably they were suffering from upgadeitis.

     

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  47.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 9th, 2009 @ 11:00am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Wut have I missed guise?

    PR? I've done some of that too. Right now, I'm working as a Sanitation Engineer.

     

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  48.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 9th, 2009 @ 7:40pm

    It's time to kick ass and chew bubble gum; and i'm all outta gum.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
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    Steve, May 10th, 2009 @ 1:16am

    Re:

    Please. This thing was entirely dead in 2001.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50.  
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    Lucretious, May 10th, 2009 @ 2:41pm

    Re:

    and out of money obviously.....

     

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  51.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 3rd, 2011 @ 9:14am

    It's amazing what can happen in two years...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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