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Trivia / Shadowrun

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  • Author Existence Failure: Nigel D. Findley, R.I.P. 1995.
  • Creator's Pet: Bull has been accused of this, much to the annoyance of Steven Ratokovich, who actually has little influence on the in-game fiction. Despite his complaints, the writers keep the "Bull" character prominent because writing for him is so much fun.
  • Dueling Works:
    • The first editions of this game and Cyberpunk were released at about the same time. Sci-fi purists pretty much stuck with Cyberpunk, but there was some degree of crossover appeal between the two. It can be argued that Shadowrun eventually won out (due to its books being a far more common sight on store shelves, and the near-total consensus of "it doesn't exist" from Cyberpunk fans regarding that game's Third Edition), but both games enjoy dedicated fanbases to this day. However, since Cyberpunk is getting a big-budget video game adaptation with creator involvement, as well as a new edition, Cyberpunk Red, that disregards the much-maligned 3E and has elements from the video-game adaptation, it seems that the duel may be entering a second round (as Shadowrun also had several new CRPG campaigns released in the half-decade leading up to Cyberpunk 2077 along with a fifth edition supplement for the biggest of them and a whole sixth edition intended to capitalize on the love for those titles, and while they weren't nearly as "big-budget" they were put together with obvious love and care and became tentpole success stories for Kickstarter).
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    • Two Action RPGs are based on Shadowrun. In both cases, the open-ended city forces you to explore, think, and proceed without 100% assurance on what to do. (Getting stuck in Redmond long enough to cough up a few hundred Nuyen is little better than being stuck in a literal dump long enough to farm the Karma needed to beat the drek out of that stupid molotov chuckin' ganger.) Combat isn't complex, but it keeps you involved and doesn't break immersion into the world. And like any good RPG, they dole out rewards and keep the player's power curve increasing at a good pace, so you can feel a little bit of progression addiction. Almost no one played the Sega one until years later via emulation; SNES Shadowrun crushed the number of copies sold and rented vs. Genesis/Mega Drive Shadowrun. Sega Shadowrun apparently was a North American-only release, and whenever you look on eBay, it's often listed as 'Rare' and commands a fair price for a Genesis cart. Shadowrun for SNES got releases in North America, Japan, and Europe, and there seem to be more hard copies floating around; prices tend to be lower and more copies are CIB. More people know and remember the SNES version, so that's the nostalgia that's going to get mined in future endeavors.
      1. The SNES version is very dialogue-heavy in terms of figuring out what you're supposed to do next by finding Keywords. The mysterious You wake up in a morgue with amnesia plot is an effective hook, but this game is more linear. Mechanically, the SNES version is nothing like the base game. The only similarities are Karma and the names of things (assault cannons, manaballs, etc.) It's a bit of an in-joke how overpowered Jake Armitage is in relation to the wider Shadowrun world. (This is obliquely addressed in the Shadowrun Returns Anthology book, and he's much weaker when he reappears as a Guest-Star Party Member.) It's far more accessible for the average player, and it's generally-accepted that the SNES version has the better graphics of the two: You see your character more clearly (isometric versus top down), your ability to shoot and cast spells is more clearly-defined (aim the cursor over the bad guy), and there is a better contrast to the districts in general. (Genesis/Mega Drive is mostly the same palette in each area, sometimes clashing with your character.) It was also likely the first exposure many people had to Shadowrun as an IP. The Sega version was aimed more at people who were familiar with the pen-and-paper game.
      2. The Sega version is an adapted version of the base rules, even down to the L/M/S/D damage codes (for the most part). Ammo is finite, and spells "drain" you if over-cast. By early-90s standards, it was one of the most open world games on the market. The Sega version has a balanced, Second Edition feel with its random side-jobs, though they can get repetitive: sneaking through corporation buildings to open all those safes and steal data to sell, hoping those contacts were telling the truth about the effectiveness of corp badges and maglock keys. The Matrix sections are especially faithful and blow Nintendo's glorified Pipe Dream implementation out of the water. Like the SNES version, you're almost immediately set upon by hit men and gangers, but this version has a somewhat-disjointed story by comparison. There's more grinding involved, since the big-time "Johnsons" won't waste time talking to some newbie, so you have to put in some time to earn their trust or collect enough Nuyen to buy it. The Sega version's inescapable combat system (even when the only living enemy is clear across the map) probably caused plenty of people to ragequit (e.g. those random encounters in Puyallup). The other problem is that once you get deep into a playthrough, the progression curve vs. Nuyen reward structure isn't balanced very well.
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  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: A Night's Work, the original Shadowrun promo from FASA.
  • Promoted Fanboy: Many current and recent writers played earlier versions of the game growing up, such as Adam Jury, Steven "Bull" Ratokovich, Amy "Respec" Veeres, and Bobby "Ancient History" Derie.
  • Screwed by the Network: At one point, it looked like Catalyst Game Labs was going to lose the license due to an executive embezzling $850,000 from the company.. Several authors left the line and books were delayed, but the game itself continues.
  • Shrug of God: Reading between the lines in the JackPoint parts of the books seems like this. At one point, the JackPointers are wondering if an EMP would trigger a cortex bomb or permanently disable it. We never get a clear answer, so it's up to the GM to decide.
  • Technology Marches On: Updates retconned in advancements in Real Life technology which hadn't been foreseen in previous editions, such as computers going wireless. They did get the increased use of RFID tags right though.
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  • Trope Namer: Chunky Salsa Rule.
  • Vaporware: Equinox, a proposed Space Opera sequel set in the Eighth World. Equinox was eventually released 2014, but due to rights issues is no longer officially connected to Shadowrun or Earthdawn, and in fact was split into two separate projects, Equinox and Eclipse Phase. Equinox does, at least, have a supplement that includes the Shadowrun playable races.
  • The Wiki Rule: The Shadowrun Wiki.


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