System Shock... the greatest game of all time

Well, at least it’s my greatest game of all time… the 1st one that is (Shock2 isn’t too far behind though).

I just wanted to see if you all, being more than casual gamers, have experienced this masterpiece in digital storytelling.

If not, head on over to http://www.the-underdogs.org and download the CD version (its around 120 megs) and play it right away! As you are definitely missing one of the greatest games to grace our PCs.

Thoughts?

Saam
Through the Looking Glass -> http://www.ttlg.com
The Network for all things Looking Glass

Here’s my thought.

What’s the official (or unnofficial) Q2T viewpoint on abandonware?

I tend to waffle on the issue myself. I’m in more of a “it’s fine by me” stage right now.

I never played it, but I’ve heard everyone rave about it. Unfortunately, technology has reached the point that the graphics are so bad I can’t stand to look at it.

This doesn’t apply to all old games, wierdly; there’s plenty before and after that don’t age as badly.

Most of the games made in the 320x240 era just make my eyes bleed now.

I think game companies that ask that older titles not be given away by sites like the Underdogs are within their rights, but I don’t think anyone downloading the original System Shock is doing EA any financial harm.

In fact, I’d think it would be a smart move for EA to allow it to be downloaded for free. It might increase sales of System Shock 2.

Actually, the CD version has a 640x480 mode. The only downside is that you can’t reconfigure the controls, a shortcoming that Warren Spector himself lamented. Shock 1 is great, as is Shock 2 in a completely different way. It’s sort of like the difference between Aliens 2 and Alien.

On abandonware, I’m all for it with the caveat that it’s only truly abandonware if the developer or publisher is no longer making money off of it. It’s a fine line to toe, but Shock 1 is no longer obtainable through retail channels.

  • Alan

Cyberspace.

That alone was reason enough not to play the game. My memory is as fuzzy as the graphics on what else I didn’t care for - but the word cyberspace sticks out.

Chet

>On abandonware, I’m all for it with the caveat that it’s only truly abandonware if the developer or publisher is no longer making money off of it.

Abandonware is a misleading term since, of course, a company can never “abandon” a copyright. No one ever has the right to use a copyrighted product without the permission of the copyright owner. That said, as others have stated, it’s difficult to see how a copyright owner is damaged when the product is no longer, and likely never to be again, commercially avaiable.

Stefan

Fantastic game, Desslock. I got SS when it first came out and was amazed at how intricate it was. Perhaps I became jaded as I grew older, but SS2 didn’t have quite the pizzazz for me. Although SS2 was a good game, it seemed to have a bit less passion in it – for lack of a better word. But as I said, I’m older now, and probably a bit more cynical. :-)

Jason, I think you would be doing yourself a great deed by downloading the game and playing it in all of its 640x480 glory, as Alan stated. Without bias (and it’s hard not to be biased for Shock1!), it really was ahead of it’s time, both on a technological and gameplay standpoint.

Chet, the cyberspace parts of the game were so darn innovative, I can’t believe you didn’t like it! However, even if it was not to your liking, I really think the rest of the game (as cyberspace can be less than 5% of your gameplay in Shock1) is far and away different than C-Space. Give it a shot, yeah? ;)

Shock 2 had some terrifying moments (those damn monkeys, for one), but I just got frustated fast.

The weapons modeling sucked beyond compare. If the military today can make a rifle that can fire thousands and thousands without breaking (okay, it might jam, but you can clear that in about 5 seconds. but the rifle won’t break outright), i can’t believe the assault rifles in system shock 2 are so friggin’ fragile. You sneeze on the damn thing and it’s worthless. You fire 20 rounds and it goes from brand new to totally worn out.

That and the paucity of ammunition was embarassing. If you’re gonna let people choose their method of gameplay (sneaky, hacker, rambo), give the rambo option more than 2 clips of ammunition.

I can suspend my disbelief, you have to do that to enjoy virtually any entertainment medium, but System Shock 2 asked me to suspend just too much disbelief.

Few spoilers here…

Cyberspace blew - I never quite knew what I was doing there, I just bouced around until something happened. I never even really understood how I won at the end in there - I was just floating around mashing buttons like mad. Funny, SS2 had a similiar sucky ending for me - I never made it through that organic mess at the end and just gave up.

But the game as a whole blew me away - I still remember much of it, and it’s been years since I played it.

I remember leaning out the elevator door trying to see what’s out in the corridor when I arrive at a level … After I blow up the first power nodes, Shodan speaking for the first time “wh - wh - who are you?”. I lived that game for about 3 weeks.

“I can suspend my disbelief, you have to do that to enjoy virtually any entertainment medium, but System Shock 2 asked me to suspend just too much disbelief.”

SS2 was NOT a shooter. The weapons were a very small part of the game. The game has to be balanced for more than one type play(yes you could get through it without having to shoot everything). SS2 isn’t Quake.

Bullshit. SS2 is just Quake with Cyberspace.

I didn not like SS, but SS2 was complete crap. At any point in the game if you came to a section with three paths, here is how you had to continue. Go down path one until blocked, get a hint that the block on path 1 could be overcome by going down path 2, go down path 2 until blocked, get a hint about path 3. And shoot stuff the whole time with whatever slingshot you were allowed to have mastered.

Respawning?

The idea that a 3 year old can shoot his cousin, but my marine could not even operate a shotgun?

SS2 sucked, one of the worst praised games ever. It made telengard and its multi-colored cubes look like Shakespeare.

Spector is an idiot. He has made a career out of gamasutra’s what went wrong.

I know you are not allowed to say that because he is a genius - but every game he has ever created makes you go “okay… i will allow this because it is the limitations of playing a game” that is not good design or genius, there are too many games that never stick the fact that I am playing a game in my face as an excuse for poor design. He does not know how to make video games. In half-life they limited their ambitions because they understood their medium, not understanding the “art form” that you work in does not show you are pushing the limits, it shows you are ignorant and want the players to swallow a giant pill of shit to cover up your inability to work within the means of your medium.

Hell, when I played kaboom I never had to pause once and go “okay, that works because this is just a game.” The designers knew how to be engaging without making excuses.

Chet

Exactly… your start-of-the-art Marine starts off in System Shock 2 with a toddler’s knowledge of basic firearms. What the hell??? And they didn’t even bother trying to give an excuse for that.

I don’t care if it’s not supposed to be a shooter. If mankind can build interstellar starships, then why the hell has his assault rifle technology taken a giant leap backwards and become a totally unreliable POS?

Chet, did Spector violate you when you were a child? BTW, he had nothing to do with SS2, Jonathan Chey of Irrational was head designer … duh. You might be thinking of Deus Ex. Which even then, was still a good game.

“I know you are not allowed to say that because he is a genius - but every game he has ever created makes you go “okay… i will allow this because it is the limitations of playing a game” that is not good design or genius, there are too many games that never stick the fact that I am playing a game in my face as an excuse for poor design. He does not know how to make video games.”

Huh? I can understand that you dont like the game. But bad game design? How so? Respawning? please, SS2 is the only shooter where respawning actually makes it better! FYI, SS2 gameplay was/is the best hybrid shooter… combining thief, a bit of UU and some crpg. And the GREAT thing about SS2 (one of my fave games ever!) is that you dont notice all the mixtures. And for its ‘complexity’ it STILL had the best gui for a ‘shooter’.

etc

Its just like the arguement with Pikeman taking on tanks in Civ 3… its a friggin game. And if it bothers you, there were very easy ways to turn off weapon degrading (or add weapon skills) in the config files.

etc

Thank you, Chet! You just made my own opinions seem that much less insane.

"In half-life they limited their ambitions because they understood their medium, not understanding the “art form” that you work in does not show you are pushing the limits, it shows you are ignorant and want the players to swallow a giant pill of shit to cover up your inability to work within the means of your medium. "

I think Irrational (NOT SPECTOR) knew what they were doing with SS2 and made a great game by bending the boundaries a little. I would hardly think of it as swallowing ‘a giant pill of shit’. And its still the only game, besides the Thief games, that gives me the creeps. Hard to do.

BTW, I dont think Irrational ever considered themselves pusing the limits of gaming with SS2. I’ve read some interviews where there prime objective was making a beleivable open ended first person experience ala Ultima Underworld…

And yeah, SS2t may have some questionable elements like respawning or degrading weapons or learning weapon skills. But ALL these things are in crpg’s and SS2 is a shooter/thief/crpg hybrid, and tey all work well in the game too! If you have a problem with SS2 then you probably have a problem with one of those genres… and with Chet it sounds like hes not really a crpg player… or doesnt think a crpg and shooter are a good mix or maybe he just hates Warren Spector and Deus Ex, like Tom?!? :lol:

I dont like it when someone hates a game I like! :twisted:

etc

Warren Spector is a frekin game god… And Deus EX is a masterpiece!! It’s like watching a great AAA movie.

Quote frome Deus Ex, After JC Denton gets killed:

“Anybody hungry?”

:shock: