I recently watched a video about the System Shock and BioShock games, and I was surprised how nostalgic the System Shock footage made me. I’d been tentatively thinking that I should play through the entire BioShock series (I’ve only played through the first game in the series), but now I’m thinking I should start off with its two spiritual predecessors.
The first question that raises is: how to get them? System Shock 2 (which I’ve also never played) is available on Good Old Games, and runs on the Mac. The original one isn’t available there, but it’s not hard to find on abandonware sites, and it’s even possible that my old CD is still lying around the house somewhere; hopefully I can run it on DosBox? So that should be fine.
Or at least fine-ish. Partly because I have a mental block against playing games on computers; partly because getting old games to work is a black art that I have no experience with; but partly because I prefer not to isolate myself while playing games, which is what I was thinking I’d have to do to play those two games.
That’s not necessarily true, though: while the obvious place to play computer games on is the iMac that we have upstairs, we do have a MacBook downstairs. And, while the computer is slow and in part held together by duct tape (it’s from April 2009, and laptops do not age so gracefully), it should still be more than powerful enough to run games from the 90’s. So maybe I should play the System Shock games on the laptop?
But that raises control issues: I would be pretty surprised if the games were playable with the trackpad on my laptop. So I guess I should use a separate mouse (and potentially a separate keyboard, though skimming the manual it looks like it doesn’t want you to have a numeric keypad at least?) And then a keyboard tray for my lap with room to put a mouse / trackpad?
Though even that is isolating: I’ll be playing the game in the same room as Liesl, but I’ll still be in my own world. So I guess I should try hooking the computer up to the TV? Dealing with the fact that the laptop comes with a Mini-DVI port, which doesn’t have sound, so I’ll have a few more cables than I’d like, but whatever.
I dunno; it’s more fiddling than I’d like, both in terms of running the game at all and in terms of having it display in a manner that I would prefer. Still, maybe for System Shock it’s worth it…
This post has not been revised since publication.