"That was one of the most memorable scenes for me. Namely because his expression made it look like he wasn’t terrified of the fact he was hanging, but what was watching him hang." System Shock 2
, the highly influential sci-fi horror game, was released 10 years ago today.
It's been 10 years, and the game's effects can still be seen. System Shock 2 was one of the few games that created a (good) hybrid of both first person shooter and role playing game, with heavy emphasis on each. It is also one of the very few games to use audio logs
. The effect of the logs is chilling.
The biggest legacy of the game is largely in its story. A science fiction slash horror story, you awake onboard the Von Braun to find the space ship overtaken by a hideous infestation, and the memories start there. Most personal stories go to the effect of "scariest game ever"; even Penny Arcade had its own comments.
Most credit the game's terrifying sound effects... but don't forget SHODAN!
SHODAN came to be known as one of the most frightening robotic
villains in games; her damaged, robotic voice recalls a very, very bitter GLADoS. She's probably one of the game's most recognizable icons, and a large part of the scares.
The game also has another small legacy- the door code found in the beginning of the game, "45100", has shown up in later games involving System Shock 2 dev members, including Bioshock.
Rock Paper Shotgun has an excellent article on the development of the game.
One of the developers also did a three page write up
on the successes and failures of the dev team back in December 1999.
Bioshock is known as being a "spiritual successor"
to System Shock 2. System Shock's rights eventually went over
to EA, and rumors of a sequel
quickly surfaced, but no news of any progress has appeared in recent months.
A dedicated fan community quickly sprung up around the game. Due to a strange programming error, the graphics were low quality even for the time of release. Fan projects such as SHTUP
improved the game's graphics, and a patch
was created by Irrational Studios, the developer, to balance the game and add a multiplayer mode. A patch was also released to allow support for more modern operating systems
. Of course, due to the game's age, the community is less active then in recent years, with a year between recent postings
on one of the game's more active fan sites.
Sadly, the game did poorly. While receiving critical acclaim from reviewers around the globe, it failed to sell well (in comparison to the recently released Half Life)
Any interesting tales to share from the halls of the Von Braun, fellow Marines/Navy Cadets/OSA Recruits? Quick personal anecdote: the Sgt. Bronson death log
probably freaked me out the most in the game, no question. Also, the Tommy Saurez and Siddons love plot was also really compelling, especially its
overall large effect on the story.
(Bonus: You can listen to all the audio logs (for all the nostalgia it will surely bring) on this webpage, but warning: SPOILERS, and music plays when you enter (can be turned off near the top))