I read an article on Shadowrun the other day and it reminded me how much I really enjoyed playing that game. I also had a lot of fun reading the short stories and novels that went along with the setting. I’ve still got a pile of game materials and even a few miniatures laying about patiently awaiting my return.
I haven’t played in years. I would love to play again. It’s a really neat, interesting setting. Set in the near future it had combined fantasy and cyberpunk and I loved it. There could be a troll riding a motorcycle wearing a sword! There could be a kid plugged into a computer helping his team get the doors open to rescue some hostage… and then I remember the computer ideas and graphics I was thinking of just then. I fear the author of the article is correct in that time has passed the technology of the game by.
When I played it was a hybrid game system that the game master made up. I don’t have any idea what parts of the rules we did or didn’t actually use. In that respect I think the article is correct – I don’t think the rules did the game justice. I’m not going to spend a ton of time on the rules.
The rules could be changed or tweaked or tossed out as you pleased. It was always about the story to me. That’s the part of role playing that really made it work. At the end of the day you had this shared experience, probably with really funny stories that made the time spent worth while. To this day I remember the time I invited a girlfriend to join the game I was playing in. The GM allowed it and gave her a ‘rock-star’ character. We played and did a run and all the things we would normally do on a game night. The girlfriend was quiet and I don’t really know if she was having a good time or not – I was into the game. The best part of the whole night for me was when the GM decided to take matters into his own hands. He turned and addressed the girlfriend directly with a question. She stopped, looked back at everyone staring at her waiting for a response and broke out her best dingy-girl voice and said, “Um, you should like talk to my manager.”
That was it – the whole extent of her role playing and it floored us all. We howled with laughter because it was such a perfect response, perfectly timed. It is a fun story. And that’s where I think the focus of role playing games should be. It should be about social interaction within your group. It should be about having fun and making stories and creating the kind of memories that make you look fondly at the things you did and the games you played. I have no idea if Shadowrun will survive or not. I can’t imagine trying to keep a near future game just far enough ahead of technology that it makes sense while mixing in game rules and fantasy world aspects. I hope the game survives and I hope I get the chance to play again someday soon.
Until then, maybe I’ll watch that promo video one more time…