Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Shadowrun Returns (2013) Harebrained Schemes: Pre-release jitters and nostalgia

Once upon a time, there was a young man growing up in a small town on the New York State edge of the Berkshires who loved few things in his world: his Sony Walkman, the "Back to the Future" soundtrack, Nintendo, military modelling, film noir, Max Headroom, Games Workshop, action movies, sci-fi, and cyberpunk.  He had been introduced to Warhammer 40,000 in 1988 and cyberpunk very soon there after, in the form of Blade Runner (the version with the narration and no stupid unicorn dream sequence).  He spent many hours reading and rereading what little he could get his hands on from the hobby shops or going through catalogs and writing dream lists of miniatures and modelling terrain.  He read Dungeon and White Dwarf religiously (when he could find copies or have enough allowance to buy one).

Then one day he saw a poster in a hobby shop, done by an artist the young man was proud to easily recognize - Larry Elmore:

It broke his fragile little mind.  Was that elf hacking a computer, via wetware?  Shotgun and magic (tee hee boobies) and DUAL WIELDING UZIS!?!  Battling in a big city, not some stupid fantasy realm.  And it was called Shadowrun.  It made perfect sense to him, the way Lionel Ritchie's "Running Through the Night" made sense.

Sadly the young man never got the opportunity to play the pen and paper version of Shaowrun.  Then when he was in high school, tearing through dystopian fiction in all its forms, learning about new music from friends a game was released for the Super Nintendo.  A Shadowrun game.  And he played the wheels off the game. Over and over again (when he wasn't making mixtapes or painting miniatures or getting into trouble) he would run through the game, experimenting, perfecting, obsessing.

Then, for a time (after the young man graduated high school and moved to a big city) he focused on various forms of bad behavior and debauchery.  While he didn't forget that which he had loved so dearly, he was distracted by wine, women, and song (to put it as politely and mildly as possible).

Following another move, this time to the Lone Star State, he slowly began to paint miniatures again, start playing more video games and visit hobby shops.  In the early 00s he was working at a bookstore and a co-worker was playing a game on his laptop in the breakroom.  The young man heard a very familiar piece of music, a cut from the SNES Shadowrun score.  It was a bizarre moment and the young man and the co-worker were soon completely nerding out about the game.

Fast forward over a decade and that young man ended up as me: 36, living in East Texas, trying to re-boot my life again.  Correction, I'm trying to re-boot my adult life.  My desktop is a HD screen cap from Blade Runner.  I've been rereading the cyberpunk classics (or in some cases re-rereading) over the last year.  I've even busted out my paints and a mini or two when the light is good.  Last year (April 2012) Jordan Weisman, the man behind the original Shadowrun released this Kickstarter video:

"Maybe you've heard of these games, or maybe your Dad has..."  sigh

Yeah, I didn't pee myself.  It was more of like when Gollum gets the Ring again and capers to his doom in...uh...Mount Doom.

Fast forward to today (07/24/2013)

If I hadn't replaced my eyes with mirrorshades I might get all misty.  

Really, a game company releases this kind of video the day before release.  A release date that was delayed because they wanted to release a quality product for their fans and supporters (and themselves).  This is the first game that I have preordered in a long time.

Almost twenty years, I've been waiting for this game.

Now if only the could be a proper Warhammer 40K movie that centered on Imperial Guard and not the damned Ultramarines.

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