In the early 1990s, Nintendo didn’t allow sex, drugs and alcohol to appear on its consoles. Games also couldn’t show blood or graphic violence. This presented a challenge for Australian developers Beam Software, who were turning the gritty pen-and-paper roleplaying game Shadowrun into a future classic.
So while the protagonist Jake can only order a ‘warm glass of milk’ in a sleazy ‘club’ (‘bars’ weren’t allowed), Beam still managed to deliver a dark neo-noir story true to the original RPG’s seedy cyberpunk world. That world was realised through Beam’s technical innovations, including character masking, an isometric view and a keyword dialogue system previously only seen on PCs.
But it was lead designer Pauli Kidd’s wry and atmospheric writing that ensured the beloved tabletop RPG became one of the most critically acclaimed games of the 1990s.
In ACMI's collection
Cartidge videogame. Cartridge, reference sheet and manual in cardboard box