a reply to: Natas0114
I have read the Shadowrun books, I have seen the game played. While I would agree that there are elements in the Matrix which REFERENCE that system
in some respects, I cannot agree that they stole the idea of the game, and turned it into a movie. Here is why.
In Shadowrun the setting is thus.
It is not too terribly far into the future. The corporations have replaced every notable power structure on the Earth, and vie for supremacy. Hackers
can access a three dimensional cyberspace, from which they can launch attacks on other objects and persons attached to the wider network. Sometimes
they will have to hard access a closed network, in order to access it in this manner, which requires that they be protected by mages, street fighters,
and so on.
Dragons, magic, and other things from the realms of fantasy have come back to the world, joined by artificial intelligences of extreme potency and
savage face wrecking abilities.
The major differences between Shadowrun and The Matrix are, that for a start, in Shadowrun, the world outside cyberspace is not an inhospitable
nightmare realm, where the atmosphere is broken to the point of being unbreathable, where no human being can walk the surface of their own planet,
without being immediately picked off by sentinels, or face the long, slow death from breathing the hyper industrial byproducts of maintaining the
entire planetary population of machine creatures. So, when the runners are not actually engaged in some form of cybernetic warfare, they can move
around with relative freedom, are not generally hunted like animals by gigantic, anti-gravity capable, metal squids, are not part of a dying species
at the end of its tether. While runners may CHOOSE to live underground, it is not always necessary for them to do so, in order that they survive. The
human race is not literally being used as a battery farm, as a power source.
Furthermore, the enemy faced by any team of runners is likely to be a corporation, one of many, all of which vie for power amongst themselves, often
employing rival teams to run counter espionage operations on their behalf, as well as having vast manpower in terms of security, also possessing AI
which hunt the "Deckers" (hackers) in cyberspace, as well as being able to occupy in some cases, cybernetic machine bodies to allow them to act in the
At NO time does Shadowrun EVER reference the concept that all a person knows or sees from birth is simulated, not real, not actually happening. At no
time does Shadowrun ever hint at the idea that humanity may in fact all be asleep, and dreaming their lives, rather than actually living them, all of
them unaware of the dystopia they are actually a living part of.
Just another thing, while we are on the topic.
Deus Ex has FAR more in common with Shadowrun, than does any film or television series of which I am aware. The styling, the attitude, the outlook,
the corporate battles... This is a universe that you could find a Shadowrunner in. The cybernetic upgrades, hacking ability, the combat, the
storyline. If you want a rip off of Shadowrun, thats where you find it!
If anything, the Matrix asks far more profound questions of viewers than Shadowrun ever did of its players. The sheer enormity of the scale of the
downfall of man, turned into nothing more than a food source for its OWN creations, consumed by artificial intelligences it gave birth to from without
its own mind... That is a deep, philosophical statement to make. Shadowrun is great, don't get me wrong, but it is only a logical extension of the
troubles that we face now, aside from being augmented with magic and whatnot to keep things crazy. The statement it makes is very valid, very here and
now, even all this time after it came out, but it is mundane when compared with the implications of The Matrix.
When I saw The Matrix for the first time, I had heard only that the action scenes were incredible, that the cinematography was amazing. I had NO idea
that the plot would be engrossing as hell, that the premise upon which the movie was made was so utterly, crushingly, oppressively hopeless for the
protagonist, in terms of the totality of the domination of Earth by the machines. That is a level of nightmare future that Shadowrun never dealt with
in the least.