There is a tendency, especially within video games that delve into the fantasy and sci-fi realms, to litter your environments and your dialogues with references to treasured pieces of media. What happens, then, when your game is both sci-fi other fancy? More references than you can count.
The Shadowrun Trilogy is a treasure trove of niche references that you can point at and pat yourself on the back for recognizing – the devs truly knew their audience when populating the world with all the little things that make us smile. Some of them stand out more than others, however.
8th Jake Armitage
To get it out of the way immediately, we’ll address Jake Armitage. Veteran Shadowrunners will recognize Jake Armitage as the hero of the first Shadowrun video game, which came out in 1993.
In that game, he was an amnesiac hero with a penchant for magic and guns. In this game, he’s the same guy but with a few more years on him. Funnily enough, you meet Jake in a morgue right at the beginning of the game – the first area of Jake’s game is so a morning
7 The Person Responsible For This List Has Been Sacked
Partway through the Hong Kong campaign, you’ll be given some crucial information by your beneficiary, Kindly Cheng. The info was gathered through a tap on the local police force office but was unfortunately discovered shortly after.
Unfortunately, it’s only a snippet. There were some technical difficulties with the tap. The person responsible has been sacked. – Kindly Cheng
The implications are loud, clear, and frightening, but Monty Python fans will cheer at the obvious reference to the hilarious opening credits of Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
6 Musical escapism
In the Cross Bazaar of Dragonfall, you’ll meet a whole host of interesting characters. One of these is Simmy Kim, nicknamed for her addiction to sims – simulations of alternate realities and one of the main ways to consume entertainment in Shadowrun.
Simmy is consumed by these sims and will relate to you her favorite experiences every now and then. These are obvious references to popular musicals, most often having to do with children – you’ll recognize references to The Sound of Music and Annie, specifically. The reasons for this are heartbreaking, but it’s also nice to see that musicals have survived into the Sixth World.
5 Close Encounters Of The Third Piano
This is a pretty simple one. In the first campaign, after proving your worth, you’re given the code that lets you access the basement of the Seamstress Union – this is where you’ll find all the merchants you’ll need and plenty of important characters to boot.
To get there, you need to play a certain series of notes on the Union’s piano – GAFFC. While the game doesn’t actually play these notes out loud for you, the musically inclined will know exactly to what this is a reference: the opening notes of the main theme of Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
4 KNIFE FIGHT!
Delving into Dietrich’s backstory in Dragonfall will reveal the aged Shaman has quite a storied past – he used to be in a punk band as the frontman. And no, this does not mean he can sing. He says so himself.
The band’s name is KNIFE FIGHT! – with the capitals and the exclamation point being absolutely necessary at all times – which means “Knife Fight” in German. This is a pretty neat in-game reference to Dietrich’s backup weapon of choice, Throwing Knives.
3 Shadowrunner De Bergerac
In Is0bel’s personal mission in Hong Kong, you’ll end up splitting up during a milk run that has you working your way around a Deckers’ convention. Inevitably, the milk run turns into a not-milk run and Is0bel gets caught.
Luckily, she has you on the other end of her commlink to guide her through various encounters with hotel staff and other deckers. You feed her the lines, she repeats them – sounds awfully familiar to those who studied English Literature (or those who saw that one episode of Futurama). At an open point, you can even ask her if you’re really doing “the Cyrano thing.”
2 I Am The Harlequin
Harlequin is a very mysterious character. He’s a prominent figure (and gameplay mechanic) in Shadowrun’s tabletop game and he shows up at the tail-end of Dead Man’s Switch, joining you on your final run of the campaign.
At one point, you can ask him who exactly he is. His response?
I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together. -Harlequin
These are lifted lyrics from the Beatles song I Am The Walrus. If you have the Intelligence to pass a skill check, you can even call him out on this.
1 A Couchful Of References
Early on in Dead Man’s Switch, you’ll join Coyote on a mission to save her brother, Gino. Along the way, you’ll walk past a certain red couch – it’s barely noticeable, usually, but if you look closer, you’ll find that it’s no ordinary couch.
The couch is filled with era-relevant references to other sci-fi franchises. Bad Wolf on the side is a reference to the first season of the new Doctor Who, you can find the Half-Life symbol other the Borderlands symbol, and the word Rapture is scribbled on the top – likely a reference to BioShock. A set of nerds must have vandalized this couch.
NEXT: Shadowrun: What Is A Shadowrunner?