Shadowrun Genesis

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Hello and welcome! My name is Katosepe and I’ll be your host for today’s Video Game of the Day.

Cyberpunk means a lot of things to a lot of people. To some, it represents the ultimate end of capitalism run rampant. To some, it’s just a world where your power is only limited by your skill with computers. Whatever your feelings towards the genre, cyberpunk has had few settings more engrossing and long-lasting as Shadowrun. Originally a tabletop RPG, Shadowrun fuses cyberpunk mainstays with fantasy elements so that megacorporation may just be run by a dragon disguised in human form. Shadowrun has had a number of video game adaptations, most recently the strategy-RPGs by Harebrained Studios but today, let’s go back and talk about the second. Today’s game is Shadowrun, developed by BlueSky Software and released on the Sega Genesis in 1994.

Shadowrun takes place in the 2050’s, a time when megacorporations have taken control of most of the globalized world and cybernetic implants have become the norm for humans to gain abilities beyond the natural. After an event called The Awakening, magic has also begun to return to the world and people have begun to mesh the two in varying ways. Shadowrun on the Genesis has you play as Joshua, who can start the game as either a samurai, a decker, or a gator shaman. A video has gone viral showing the massacre of several shadowrunners, including Joshua’s brother, Michael. So, Joshua flies into Seattle to gather his brother’s things but quickly becomes involved in discovering what happened to Michael.

Shadowrun is an action-RPG and your initial class is only a base starting point. Shadowrun allows players to gather karma and money by completing Shadowruns. Karma can then be used to upgrade Joshua’s various skills while money can buy weapons or cybernetic implants. Jobs are called Shadowruns and while Joshua is a lone wolf for much of the game, he can hire other shadowrunners for backup. Combat is all in real-time, with firearms being the primary weapon of choice. Joshua can also enter the Matrix, a representation of the internet where the camera shifts from a top-down view to a third-person view. This is often done to hack security systems or steal files from megacorps.

Shadowrun received mixed reviews with many praising the setting and storyline while criticising the clunky control scheme. Still, fans have appreciated the game’s more open, RPG elements compared to Shadowrun on the Super Nintendo, which despite having the same name, is a completely different game in the same setting. Shadowrun would go on to receive a number of other video game adaptations including a Japanese-exclusive visual novel on the Sega CD, a shooter on the 360 and most recently, the return to RPGs by Harebrained Studios.

Thank you very much for listening and thanks to Fyrebug for requesting today’s episode! If you are a fan of classic games like Shadowrun, you should consider checking out today’s sponsor, Old School Gamer Magazine. They have a completely free digital magazine that you can subscribe to with just your email! There’s nothing to lose, they won’t spam you, just some high-quality retro gaming information sent straight to your inbox six times a year. You can go subscribe and support this show by heading over to That’s Don’t forget to check back here tomorrow for another Video Game of the Day!

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Devin "Katosepe" Sloane is a long time gamer and host of the show Video Game of the Day. He firmly believes Darklands is the pinnacle of gaming achievement and this is a hill he will die upon. Where his nickname came from is a secret to everybody.