Friday, June 28, 2013

"Shadowrun", 1993, SNES.

FASA's "Shadowrun" pen-and-paper RPG was an odd duck. "Hey, you got your dragon in my cyberpunk!" "Hey, you got your street samurai in my elfin fantasie!" "Hm... NOT BAD... BUT DIFFICULT TO MARKET EFFECTIVELY!" It earned Pacific Northwest points by making Seattle the most interesting milieu of its genre-hybrid future, territory also explored (hybrid that is, not Seattle specifically) by Torg with lesser success and Rifts likely with greater.

SHADOWRUN

Watch your back... shoot straight... and never, ever, cut a deal with a dragon.

Not a lot to run with: there are unexpected dangers, you want accuracy (and, arguably, forthrightness), plus -- here's the name of a Shadowrun novel whose plot this game borrows a great deal from! The overall slogan appears to derive from a canonical SR source, but is missing the third axiom: "conserve ammo." Nintendo of America bowdlerizing things for more perceived overall family-friendliness again?

The artwork is evocative -- impressively so, considering how little there is going on: a goat skull (like, as The Maxx famously opined, an Eagles album cover) and the Shadowrun logo whose S contains both Celtic knotwork and Pacific Northwest First Nations style, on a scroll with circuit diagrams, all above an obscured man's face against a backdrop of cyberspace circuitry and a city skyline. Plus, three screen shots, letting you know this outstanding game includes a boat, a waterfront area, and, excitingly, a crypt door.

There were three entirely different Shadowrun games released in the early '90s for the SNES, Genesis and Sega CD, plus of course another one a few years ago for the Xbox 360 that decided the best way to showcase the deep and unique setting was to present a generic deathmatch FPS. This one was made by our friends in Beam, taking adventure-game lessons to heart that they'd recently learned from the making of Nightshade, which you may recall. I haven't played any of them through, so can't comment extensively.

But wait, there's more! There was a Shadowrun sweepstakes! It manages to engage a great deal more of the game and setting than the game's own ad does. Go figure. Either the folks behind the sweepstakes ad were working harder than they needed to, or the folks behind the game's ad weren't working hard enough.

SWEEP THROUGH THE SHADOWS...
And Go Wild In The Aisle.

Win a $500 Electronics Boutique Shopping Spree
or one of over 2,000 other prizes.

You could find yourself in the year 2050, running for your life in a race against time, technology and termination... or you could enter Data East's Shadowrun Sweepstakes and find yourself going wild in the aisles of Electronics Boutique. That's right, cruise the store and load up on all the stuff you gotta have. And when you get to the check-out stand, tell the cashier...
"Put away that scanner, Pal... IT'S ALL FREE!"

On top of the shopping spree, Data East will fork over more than 2,000 prizes -- from Shadowrun T-shirts and satin jackets to limited-edition Shadowrun prints by the original Shadowrun artists -- in a random drawing of sweepstakes entrants. And don't forget to play Shadowrun -- the hottest strategy-adventure cart of 1993 -- and shatter the megaplexes before your friends.
For info on getting an official sweepstakes entry form just check out any package of Shadowrun for the Super NES
... and get ready to go wild!

I always like to analyse the contents of shopping-spree baskets in these sweepstakes ads. I see a copy of the Shadowrun RPG, some video gaming gloves, a Super NES Super Scope 6, a Game Genie, the SNES Congo's Caper box (also published, like Shadowrun SNES, by Data East), along with another unidentified SNES game box behind it (probably the Data East Dragon's Lair for SNES, that could be Dirk the Daring waving his sword.) There are not one but two Turbo Touch 360° joysticks, plus bizarrely a copy of the Shadowrun SNES cart -- which the sweepstakes winner must have had to begin with in order to enter the sweepstakes! Of course, the way it's presented makes it look kind of like this Shadowrunnian character is winning the EB basket -- but of course if you live in Shadowrun, why would you want to play Shadowrun?

The source of the sweepstakes poster artwork is a bit of a mystery -- it's head and shoulders over the box art, and appears to have been used in an overall better ad I only just discovered now over at Theodor Lauppert's tremendous game resource website, emblazoned with a motto no publisher would dare today: "Download or Die".

That's all for now. Catch you on the Matrix, deckers!