Shadows of Europe
Culture and Society
State of the Arts:
|TOP TEN STREAMED TRIDEOS OF THE 2070S|
|1. Ork and Trudie (Rom-com action thriller), 2070|
|2. They Called Him Hierophant (Shadowrunner melodrama), 2074|
|3. Cenozoic Park (Re-reboot), 2068 4. Operation: Atlantis! (Archaeological spy-fi), 2057|
|5. Battle Royal (Cross-licensed characters from top animated films battle for their lives on a secret island), 2070|
|6. Stuffer Shack Days (Indie comedy about an ork and elf clerk working for a living while making sarcastic observations), 2068|
|7. Slade the Sniper: Killshots (Re-reboot/sequel to the popular series), 2075|
|8. Office Space (Office comedy), 2075|
|9. Seelies (Family animated drama in the Seelie Court), 2074|
|10. Auditing the Megacorps (Documentary), 2075|
|TOP TEN TRIDEO SHOWS|
|1. Half-Life with Steve (Post-apocalypse toxic sprit thriller)|
|2. What Would You Do for 100,000,000 Nuyen? (Game show)|
|3. Executive Dragons (Reality show competition)|
|4. Slade the Sniper (Action—a UCAS combat vet takes to the mean streets of Seattle)|
|5. STAT! (Footage of real DocWagon calls)|
|6. Ghost Dancers (Historical action-drama set on an Arizona reservation just after the Awakening)|
|7. My Metahuman Life (High school melodrama about coming of age as an ork)|
|8. 20,000 Leagues to R’lyeh (Lovecraftian submarine horror)|
|9. MACMMA Live! Metahuman and Cybernetic Mixed Magical Arts (MACMMA features top metahuman, enhanced and magically adept fighters squaring off inside the hermetic circle)|
|10. The Mage (Reality show—aspiring amateurs vie for a top wagemage slot at Renraku)|
As one of the earliest supporters of the new Matrix, Ares got a prime name pick, selecting the name Ares Global Grid. Matrix users see this grid as a medieval castle with the Ares logo proudly waving on flags above the walls.
Their grid themes everything with medieval overtones. The ground is a plain of green fields, unpaved roads with wagon ruts, forests in the distance, and most hosts near the ground have a stone foundation rendered beneath them.
There is no mistaking the hulking virtual ziggurat that is the AzGrid. The green behemoth sports virtual carvings of Aztec idols on each side, built within the stepped structure of the Aztec icon.
Stepping onto the grid transports users to a pseudo-history of Aztechnology’s creation. Aztec accents highlight everything in this virtual realm. The ground looks like the ancient Aztec cities in their prime with hosts adding ziggurats to the landscape. The edges of the cities look like rainforests and mountains but cannot be reached, simply holding their place in the distance no matter how Matrix users move toward them.
To access the Horizon grid, one must simply reach for the setting sun. In the sky of the public grid, the seven-pointed half-sunburst has a 3D cast to its jutting points that make it almost look like a weapon. From all the other grids, where the icons shift to the horizon, it looks very much like a setting sun.
Crossing onto the Eternal Horizon is like stepping into a perpetual vacation. The folks at Horizon have designed their grid to take on the cast of the California coast at sunset. A single long stretch of coastline goes on forever, with beachfront shops on one side and the waters of the Pacific lapping up onto the beach on the other. Out in the water are boats of varying design. Yachts, catamarans, sailboats, speedboats, and even rafts float on the water before the eternally setting sun. The shops and ships are the hosts of the grid as one might guess, but a lot of people spend their time just sitting on the beach enjoying the sunset.
Along with NeoNET, Evo had significant pull in the management and manufacture of the new Matrix. Their unique perspective on life shaded not only their choice of grid icons, but also the internal layout of their grid. EvoGrid does not have a single symbol on the virtual plane. Instead their icon is a revolving Vitruvian Man with limbs that change with each rotation to show the many variations of metahumanity.
On the grid the theme of evolution and variation continues. Evo’s grid has one of the most finite appearances of the globals once you get on, but the appearance is de- ceiving. EvoGrid consists of twelve distinct surfaces arranged like the inside planes of a dodecahedron, each with their own theme that changes daily. The spatial deception comes when users try to walk from one plane to another and never reach an edge. The hosts on the grid gain accents to reflect the plane on which they are currently locat- ed. This changes, just like the identity of the planes.
The MCT cube is not the most remarkable icon in the virtual realm of the Matrix. The letters M, C, and T are blocked and angled on a revolving cube. Mitsuhama obviously doesn’t feel they need more than that, and they’re probably right as they usually have the highest grid population count of any of the megas at a given moment. They’re focused on being global, not glitzy.
Once on MCT GlobeNet, users are greeted with a pleasant and serene Japanese mountain village. Homes and shops with traditional rice-paper walls line the streets, with each door leading to a different host. The focal point of the entire village is a traditional-style pagoda towering over the smaller structures. The pagoda is the location for all the premier-level hosts as well as most of MCT’s own hosts.
No one doubts that NeoNET is the strongest force be- hind the new Matrix. Their grid appears as their iconic star in the Matrix. Due to their influence in so many areas of the new Matrix, the star is usually larger than every other grid’s icon.
Once on the NeoNETwork, users get a sprawling city- scape with connected hosts filling the city’s skyscrapers. It’s often overwhelming to those who are unfamiliar, but regular users quickly adjust thanks to Neo, the informative agent that all NeoNET subscribers get access to.
While MCT has a pagoda inside their grid, Renraku’s red pagoda is the doorway to their global grid. Revolving in the sky or on the horizon, the doorway to the realms of Renraku is always welcoming. As part of the Renraku rebranding and as a great way to increase their market share of global grid subscribers, the Okoku grants “Explorer Visas” to anyone who wants to visit their grid. The Explorer Visa allows visitors access to the grid but does not allow access to any of the hosts on their grid. Okoku is also available for a free one-month full trial to anyone who purchases a Renraku-brand commlink.
Renraku has themed their grid to reflect their new brand philosophy. Seeking to be the brand of “Home and Heart,” Renraku has sculpted Okoku to resemble idealized versions of villages around the world. The grass huts of Polynesia flow seamlessly into the perfect slice of small town Americana, which glides into the Provençal countryside, and on and on through villages from all corners of the Earth. Hosts are obviously the shops, homes, and attractions, with a smooth blend of the local flavor thanks to the owners’ desires to keep the theme.
The SK grid is accessed through one of the most interesting icons on the Matrix. The megacorporation originally went with the traditional logo, but as others made their grid access points a statement, S-K followed suit. From the public grid Matrix, users look up to see a massive silver dragon flying over an Earth the diameter of its torso. The dragon’s claws sweep over the planet as it spins and its eyes scan the surface as if watching over the whole world. The icon changes slightly when viewed from the other grids as the dragon lands and its wings furl up over the globe resting in front of the majestic-looking creature. It’s interesting to note that the dragon is not Lofwyr.
Going inside the ÜberWelt is like getting shrunk down and landing on that Earth. The sky holds a ghostly visage of the dragon peering down over a world much like our own. The theme is Berlin, circa 1990, complete with fresh scars of a torn-down wall. The hosts sit inside the buildings lining the streets. The only non-historical piece is the S-K headquarters building that always sits in the distance representing the main S-K host as well as several hundred other corporate-sponsored hosts.
It has been three-quarters of a century since the Shiawase Decision, which made Shiawase the first megacorporation, and they remain a household name. They’re not known for the latest tech, the biggest guns, or the hottest formulae. Instead, they have built their megacorporate empire on something everyone needs: power. Shiawase is the second-largest producer of energy in the solar system, behind only the sun itself (and they harvest so much solar energy that some managers have joked that the sun is one of their best employees). While their name is known by all, it is their logo they let represent their grid on the Matrix.
Once on Shiawase Central, users are treated to an in- side look at where their energy comes from through idealized imagery. Perfect windmills line a vast beachfront with wave turbines rolling perfectly with the incoming waves. Nuclear cooling towers rise over a field of shining solar panels with steaming geothermal generators and hydroelectric dams in the distance. Hosts on the Shiawase grid glow bright with the abundant energy provided by all of Shiawase’s power sources.
The five-petaled lotus has symbolized many different things through the ages, but today the first thought is always Wuxing, Inc. While the corporate logo is a stylized side view of the famous flower, the Wuxing Worldwide grid is accessed through the spinning metallic lotus.
Inside the grid of the AAA shipping magnate one would expect a theme of the sea, but instead the masters of Wuxing have sought a calm and mystical place to lay over the world. Draped in the mystic elements of feng shui, wujen, Daoism, qigong, and dozens of smaller, less-well-known traditions, the entire grid looks to be laid out across a Chinese countryside with small parks, temples, and gardens dotting the never-ending landscape. Hosts blend beautifully into the serene countryside and allow all Wuxing Worldwide subscribers a chance to visit the peaceful plane.
|TOP TEN VIRTUAL VACATION SPOTS|
|5. Vladivostok Cold War Theme Park|
|7. The Year 1985|
|10. Mexico City|
|TOP TEN VIDEO GAMES|
|1. Run, Run Runner (Shadowrunning MMO)|
|2. Astral Dreams: Legend of Tenku (Mitsuhama RPG)|
|3. The Seelie Court (MMO in alternate dimension)|
|4. Galaxy Ten (Real-time strategy and civilization building)|
|5. Awakening: 1949 (Alt WWII setting where Awakening happened in 1937)|
|6. Noir Confidential (Action RPG set in a rebuilt, retro future Los Angeles)|
|7. Fermat’s Last Hermetic Equation (Mobile puzzle game)|
|8. Miracle Shooter (AR combat)|
|9. Beat The Market (Zurich Orbital trade sim)|
|10. Life’s A Bitch (Life management sim whre goal is driving your sim family insane)|
What makes a Man:
Designer clothes are a must for people with luxury lifestyle. This includes designs from artists such as Berwick (Mortimer of London), Armanté (Zoë), and Jean-Paul. Prices range from 1,000 to 5,000 nuyen.
Those with high lifestyle can always default to the original Très Chic Clothing (Aztechnology) for business or casual wear. Optionally there’s also a more Old World look with RhineGold (Saeder-Krupp) or Styling wearing KoGo (Wuxing). Prices range from 500 to 1,000 nuyen.
At the middle lifestyle, you can go as high as Wellington Bros (Shiawase Fashion); for casual wear, Vashon Island (Shiawase Fashion) and Victory (Ares) won’t break the bank. Prices range from 150 to 500 nuyen.
For the lowlife, besides thrift stores selling cast-off clothes of the middle class, Beaux Retail (Mitsuhama) has simple casual (20 nuyen) to business (100 nuyen) clothing made from industrial polymers and put together by the cheapest labor available. Kong Walmart has many affordable knockoff brands. Prices range from 20 to 150 nuyen.
Vendingwear is a cheap option for people looking for modest covering, and if you have a Street or Squatter lifestyle, that’s what you get. Vendingwear is recycled plastic that is shredded and woven into fabric (with an elastic band for pants, socks, and underwear). It has no options except for color (avocado green or dirt brown) and size (small, medium, large, and extra-large). Many people who live on the street turn in bottles or old vendingwear to get new clothes. Prices range from 1 to 20 nuyen.
What doesn’t kill you…
|TOP TEN BTL CHIPS|
|1. Maria Mercurial MXX|
|2. Slade the Sniper: On the Road (Revenge fantasy)|
|3. Geeked and Back Again (Zombie sim)|
|4. Life and Times of Hart Overstreet (Private-eye porn)|
|5. Acid Warp (Augmented reality)|
|6. My Sasquatch Lover (Sub/dom fantasy)|
|7. Just Like Old Times (Emulates old street drugs.)|
|8. Your Executive Life (Boss around your boss. Power fantasy)|
|9. The Shadows Know (Shadowrunner sim)|
|10. American Days (1950s sim. Policlub sponsored)|