I’m so thrilled to share this history of Blade Runner games article that just published at Kotaku and explores what makes all of them so special. Big thanks to Louis Castle and Clem Chambers for doing an interview about the brilliant Blade Runner PC! This is the introduction:
Blade Runner fuses together a morally ambivalent story about godhood with a visual panache that has shaped cinematic science fiction since its 1982 release. While it has inspired many games like Snatcher, Mean Streets, and the forthcoming Cyberpunk 2077, there have actually been only two Blade Runner video games, each of which approaches its source material in unique ways.
The first, in 1985, was a simplistic shooting game for consoles that focused on the action sequences of the movie. The second was released in 1997 for the PC and concentrated on narrative and worldbuilding, serving as an authentic Blade Runner simulator that allowed players to navigate the neon decadence of a futuristic Los Angeles. In their own way, each provides insights into what makes Blade Runner so special.
And in the end:
Whenever I watch Blade Runner, I think of the way the movie, book, and games complement each other, giving deeper meaning to each. Ultimately, it’s the way Blade Runner’s power comes from its framing of questions about existence and technology, showing them from a perspective that both humans and theoretical replicants alike can empathize with. Whether it’s focusing on the action that shows the adverse relationship between humanity and technology, or letting players fill the shoes of a blade runner and decide themselves how to juggle the moral uncertainties of executing replicants, the Blade Runner games find new ways to explore the themes of the film.