Where the shadows lie run

If this episode of Bonus Stage seems a little weird, it’s because:

1. There was a horrible tape glitch that caused a lot of the live footage to become unusable. So a pair of pretty good conversations was whittled down to a jumpy mess out of necessity.

2. I decided to try a cold reading of sorts by not doing any serious research into the topic or refreshing my memory on the SNES game so that the burden of clarity would be on the other guys’ shoulders. (They acquitted themselves quite well!)

Anyway, this and the ol’ Retro Roundup are up. And stuff.

Meanwhile, you should take part in this week’s 1 Credit Challenge. It’s Elevator Action, so it’s not like we’re talking a major time commitment, you know? Play it for five minutes and post with your score. Pretty easy, folks.

25 thoughts on “Where the shadows lie run

  1. The video just stopped playing right when you were about to talk about the SNES version… my favorite… T_T

  2. NOTE: for good info on the “in-game” history, style, and “mood” of the Shadowrun universe, I highly recommend the following resources and articles:

    http://www.shadowrunrpg.com/resources/timeline.shtml — A bare-bones history of the Sixth World from the 3rd Edition of the RPG.

    http://timeline.dumpshock.com/default.aspx –Set “all years” and “canon” for a more detailed break-out of the events summarized in the narrative above.

    http://www.shadowrunrpg.com/fiction/fiction3.shtml –An article about Dunkelzahn (a Great Dragon and major NPC in the Shadowrun setting) written prior to his presidential bid and assassination. This article in Dragon was actually my introduction to the Shadowrun setting.

    Speaking as a long-time fan of both the Shadowrun (hereafter ‘SR’) setting and the pen and paper game as a whole, I feel there’s one aspect of the controversy this new game has created that you failed to touch on. I can’t really blame you for it since none of you were deeply into the original RPG, but it’s worth bringing up here:

    One of the reasons that Shadowrun has lasted as long as it has and has maintained such a strong fan community is that it has one of the most cohesive and well thought-out settings that’s ever been developed for a pen and paper RPG. The timeline (including alternate history at this point as well as a divergent future) is extremely detailed, and instead of simply saying “Gee, look guys, Fantasy Races With Guns!!” the writers tried whenever possible to examine the sort of political, economic, and social consequences arising from the reintroduction of magic into an otherwise undistinguished cyberpunk future.

    In addition to the attention on the physical world, Shadowrun has always strived (and has mostly succeeded) in grounding the rules for magic in a consistent metaphysical framework instead of simply saying “Well, it’s magic, we don’t know why it works this way” (translation: Well, game balance required that magic work this way).

    So what does this have to do with the new game? Almost nothing, and that’s the problem. Daunted by the level of backstory present in Shadowrun (and hell, who wouldn’t be?) the solution of the new team was to simply say “Aw, well, forget about all that, we’ll just start all over”. Which led to decisions like including spell effects like teleportation and resurrection…great gameplay, I’m sure. Very fun…the only problem is that both those effects are impossible to achieve in the Shadowrun setting as of the early 2070s (with this new game supposedly taking place in the late ’20s or early ’30s), and magic was actually rarer and less powerful earlier in the 21st century in the Shadowrun setting.

    I could go on describing the problems with the “racial abilities” or many other facets of the gameplay, but simply stated the development team designed a “Science Fantasy” MP-only shooter, and slapped “Shadowrun” on the box as an afterthought, and that’s somewhat galling when it’s the richness of the setting that made Shadowrun an IP worth picking up in the first place.

  3. No, they just get confused when you use arrow brackets that aren’t part of an HTML tag.

  4. I wish I hadn’t read this before I watched the video. Then I would have been stuck wondering “Why does Parish act like he gave me a bunch of information about the games when there was so little content?” It was still entertaining and maybe now I’ll try out one of the Shadowrun games, both of which I picked up at about the same time a couple years back.

  5. There are more people playing RPGs with dice today then ever before, if D&D sales figures are any indication. The number of people that enjoy both also seems higher, if what I see at GenCon is any indication. ;)

  6. I need to track down the Genesis Shadowrun someday, if only because it is (to my knowledge) the only videogame ever to feature my hometown. The fact that it places said hometown in the magic cyber future is all the sweeter.

  7. In spite of the technical difficulties, it was pretty good, I thought. One of the things about the setting that didn’t really get touched on was that it wasn’t just magic + technology, WHOA! This is probably for good reason, but common sense has little to do with anything I do.

    One of the neat things about that careful world design was that the one thing you couldn’t do was be a mage of supreme bad-assery and me a nearly machine battle demon. Because your pool for magic (or specialized superpowers) was determined by the same pool that you expended to get new upgrades (like wired reflexes (UP TO III!), datajacks, and wolverine’s claws!) A more powerful (and by extension, invasive) cybernetic doodad took up more of that pool, and limited how much you could be an ultra-mage.

    Also, the character creation system was completely diceless. To me, this particular FASA property would do better as a Bioware-esque game.

    Well, stay sunny chummer.

  8. Nope I didn’t use Firefox. I sadly use IE most of the time.

    Also, was the SNES Shadowrun really successful?
    I’m now hearing on a lot of places what a success the SNES Shadowrun was for FASA, but back in the days I never actually saw anyone talking about that game.
    On a Next Generation mag interview, FASA directors credited the SNES Shadowrun for the creation of their video game company.
    Also, if I remember correctly, the game didn’t even get that good of a score on EGM and from the comments in magazines kinda seemed like people liked the Genesis version instead.

    BTW, I got scans of a 1998 never released Shadowrun Assassins if you plan on talking more about the games.
    Or if you’d rather wait for Kurt to finish his Shadowrun article, the pics will be there too.
    If people are complaining about the PC/360 Shadowrun then they better not see these images :P

    You know, for the new game getting so much hate, a lot of sites and fans have all of the sudden started the whole Shadowrun retrospective thing at the same time.

  9. Awww, I’m a little disappointed all the shadowrun clips were from the first 30 seconds of the game. Nothing on youtube or deep in the IGN Central Computer Core?

    I used to watch my older brother play that game for hours and hours. It was my first introduction to an RPG system that really allowed you to customize your character, and as such, has enshrined a place in my malleable memory as one of the best games of all time.

  10. Yes, that was a very strange episode. I’m really not used to seeing you not acting like a VG guru. You kept, like, asking questions. It was so creepy; almost pod-person-ish.

  11. In my experience, Firefox likes the GameVideos player a whole lot more than Safari does. It still acts pretty funky, but at least Firefox will play the videos at all.

  12. I like to download the videos in .mov format and watch them fullscreen, so whenever a Bonus Stage is posted, I click to start it, click the vid to get to the gamevideos page, reload the page I started at so the video stops loading, then download the video from the gamevideos page. Phew.

    The credits always feel a bit awkward, not having any sound while running. I wish you’d add the Bonus Stage theme there. Even though the episodes are short, we don’t mind hearing the theme again, as it is awesome.

  13. Re: Dice: In D&D, you generally need one die of each shape, and maybe a few extra d6 or d4 if you’re a spellcaster. Hell, if you’re not a Barbarian you can ignore the d12, since Barbarian hit points and greataxe damage are about all it’s good for.

    Shadowrun only needs six-siders, but you need about twenty bazillion of them to play. Unless you raid the family Yahtzee box, you’re going to be spending more on tubes and boxes of dee-sixes than a single set of dice.

  14. I’d gladly trade in handfuls of Dx dice for a double-handful of the things I already have lying around. There’s something deeply hilarious about a GM saying, “Okay, the dragon breathes on you. Uh, everyone give me your dice, I need to roll his damage.”

  15. Really? I consider it a bad thing when the DM checks a monster sheet and mutters “I gotta get more dice.”

  16. no, no.. it’s when he rolls a handful of dice six or seven times, then laughs to himself manically that you know things are bad.

  17. there’s a reason we call shadowrun a “bucket o’dice game”. that said, my monofilament whip carrying decker will kick your ass.

  18. That blue font on black for the title card is nice. It reminds me of Star Wars.

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