I found the demo for the first game on the cover disc of an Aussie PC mag way back in 94-95. There were actually two Shock games on it, both sci-fi/horror FPS titles which I used to confuse: System Shock and Creature Shock. (Creature Shock was a prerendered type game by Argonaut I think, not very good.) Was going to buy the full game but passed over it in favour of Relentless / Little Big Adventure at the time, another excellent game. Got a warez of SS1 sometime later around the time SS2 came out, which I bought legit several times. This was before GOG came along, obviously
I heard about it when I was little, but I was a console gamer so I don’t played it until I bought a PC. It’s a famous game, like Planescape: Torment, Baldur’s Gate or Thief serie… impossible to don’t know System Shock games.
I first seen System Shock 2 in a gaming magazine, there was also a playable demo at the time. I really liked the game, but access to such games weren’t easy at the time. After many years, searching for something to play, I’m used to search for old relics, or things I remember playing in years past, but System Shock wasn’t a name I remembered, even though I remembered the game I so much liked to play. In thruth I remembered it had something to do with Shock, which led me to Bioshock at first. But it wasn’t that difficult to do a search and find the other Shock game. At first there wasn’t System Shock on Steam or GOG, so I just downloaded a cracked version of the game. One of the best decisions I’ve made to this day, the game was just so much spot on. Everything pleased me, gameplay, atmosphere, soundtrack, scenario, horror. When the game came out on Steam I bought it as soon as I could.
I’ve also played the first one, the portable version really helped a lot in the beginning, when the commands were really difficult to get ahold of. But as I liked it very much, I felt compelled to play it the way it was meant to be, which a lot of people said it was better, considering the game’s playstyle, of course. And I actually got to like it after getting good at it. System Shock 1 also pleased me a lot, as much as 2 I dare say, sometimes I get myself thinking which I like the most, and I must say, Executive level has one of the best OSTs my ear has ever had the pleasure of hearing. The first time was a WOOSH! I still have to buy the game from Steam, but I will soon enough. As well, I’m eager for the remake!
That’s basically how I met and got acquainted with System Shock. It’s my favourite franchise nowadays, and presented me with some understanding of one of my interests, Cyberpunk, which led to other great works.
My first PC Gamer had Thief on the cover. From there, it was a matter of diving into SS2, and moving backward from there.
System Shock 2 got rave reviews from all the magazines, so I picked up a copy. I was already a Thief fan, so it made sense that I enjoyed it. Worked backwards from there through Looking Glass’ catalogue.
One of the most important italian critic, Francesco Carlà (founder of Simulmondo, one of the first italian game developer) every year set up a Top 10 putting System Shock at number one of year 1994. His review was enthusiastic so I had to buy the game!
A friend of mine recommended the game to me around 2009 when he found out about it from a random news website. Coincidentally, a Youtuber i knew seemed to be in the middle of a let’s play of the same game aswell. So i started watching a couple of episodes, and it looked really cool to me! So I decided to download the game myself and play it before i was going to watch more of it, to prevent any more spoilers.
After I learned how to get DOSBox to work, I played the game and I was instantly hooked. Since then, I gave the sequel a try and have been playing the original aswell on and off (with some additional challenges).
Holding this magazine in my hand in a supermarket, looking through it and BAM System Shock pick my attention, phenomenal. I know it like yesterday.
erm. I got SS1 and 2 when they were new
Likewise. I “discovered” System Shock – and Thief, and Terra Nova – because Ultima Underworld blew my mind. There was no way a new simulationist game from Looking Glass wasn’t coming home with me the day it was released.
For the longest time, I didn’t even know that SHODAN had a voice. I had bought the original floppy disk version of System Shock with the low-res graphics and no audio because that’s what got released on Day One. And I happily replayed that version for years.
Imagine my reaction when I heard they were putting the band back together.
After I quit playing World of Warcraft, I started deliberately playing old classic games I had heard great things about (and started messing around with Nintendo emulation etc when I started watching AVGN). System Shock 2, along with Baldur’s Gate, Diablo 2 and the original Fallouts, is one of those titles that I knew to be well hyped classics even before I became a “retro gamer”. A local gaming magazine had viewers voting for their favorite games in 2010 (if I recall), and the list was filled older titles, which catched my eye.
I played SS1 a years later, I think I tried it in 2012 but started a new save&completed it in 2013.
I didn’t play System Shock 2 until it came out on steam just recently. I had known about it for a while because it was heavily praised in the game magazines that I read when it came out. But being a child at the time and having to buy my own games with whatever money I had been able to make; It ended up getting passed up by other games that came out at the time like Unreal Tournament and Heretic 2 or whatever other games were at the computer shows and/or EB Games/Electronics Boutique. I hadn’t ever really heard about System Shock until Otherside Games played it in their ‘Otherside Plays’ videos that came out before the UWA kickstarter.
I was walking around in a mall with my parents and saw SS2 in “Compucenter”, which doesn’t exist anymore. It was about 60 bucks I seem to remember. I wanted it real sexy but my parents wouldn’t give me the money. They never let me have anything I wanted so this was no surprise. I had to wait a couple years until I could buy it second hand and then I played it out of order (I was such a dumbass). In the intervening time I also played the demo a bajillion times. It was probably another 2 years before I would discover SS1 and then the impact wasn’t the same. Nevertheless I preferred SS1 to SS2 and it became my favourite game. Having said that…
I call 1999 the golden year. '99 was a fine vintage for games. [adjusts monocle]
that is interesing, because most people on forums prefer 2. The thing is why, because for me 1 is a better game. If i had to put it in one sentance: ss1 gets you more involved in the storyline because it feels like one station and not sperated levels.
For me, SS1 also wins out, barely. SS2 simply feels unfinished. If all the effort on anything beyond Rickenbacker had gone into fleshing out Von Braun instead, I think almost everyone would prefer SS2.
Very well put. If System Shock 2 could have had the time to be finished, it would probably be the superior game. I still prefer System Shock 1 design though, I like ambients rich with colors, instead of the mostly white and gray of System Shock 2.
It’s hard to articulate and maybe my uber-retro fascination with old games is contaminating my opinion but I found SS1 to be more of a simulation than SS2. Don’t know how that’s possible with shitty graphics but it almost felt like real-life viewed through a bad camera lens. Everything you did and saw and heard felt organic to me. SS2 felt a little more arcade-ish. I still love SS2 (and mostly for completely different reasons) but SS1 has always edged out just a bit. And cyberspace… wow.
That’s odd. Shock 2 has better graphics, physics, sound quality, sound design, and more logical and fleshed out level design. Controls are more fluid/natural one might say and the GUI feels more in-world (even the common font style in SS1 seems a bit unorthodox). Shock 2 only stands out over SS1 in that regard because of its RPG systems, which is well worth the minor cost to immersion imo. But if Shock 1 was your first Immersive Sim it is understandable that it may have drew you in the most.
That’s the thing though… it wasn’t! And I played the 2 games out of order. I just felt more comfortable in the SS1 environment. I think it’s the sort of place I’d like to visit in real life, bad resolution and all. It was nice there. I used to go to a small office and have a coffee while I looked out the window, after I’d cleared the area of threats. It was nice.
And even the RPG elements of System Shock 2 were down-to-earth, making you believe they were possible in a near future. Pretty much like Deus Ex, but better.
I follow the guy, I also liked more the ambienance of System Shock 1, the design was more akin to my tastes, but that’s the beauty of a world, you may think System Shock is defined by this or that, when actually it has everything. It’s like real world, you have all kinds of different places and aesthetics, but all in the same universe, so, there’s no conclusion to which is the right depiction, both of them are.
As to overall mechanics, System Shock 2 is the superior game, with just two things I think could have been better. First, the puzzles. They were simply luck based minigames with no real challenge or fun. Second, cyberspace. There was no cyberspace… period.