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Cyberpunk 2020 – Wikipedia

Cyberpunk, mainly known by its second edition title Cyberpunk 2020, is a cyberpunk role-playing game written by Mike Pondsmith and published by R. Talsorian Games in 1988. Because of the release in 1990 of the second edition, set in a fictional 2020, the first edition is often now referred to as Cyberpunk 2013, following the fictional year, 2013, in which the game was set when it was first released in 1988. The third edition, published by R. Talsorian Games in 2005, is referred to as Cyberpunk V3.0 and is set further along the same fictional timeline as the former editions, during the 2030s.

This role-playing game is inspired by the novel Hardwired by Walter Jon Williams, who helped playtest the game. Hardwired, in turn, was written as a homage to Roger Zelazny’s Damnation Alley. The game includes a number of elements now associated with the 1980s,[citation needed] such as the idea of style over substance and glam rock.

The game tends to emphasize some aspects of the source material more than others. Much of the focus of the game is paid to combat, high-tech weaponry and cybernetic modification; however, performance-enhancing and recreational drug use is either played down or discouraged. Although artificial intelligence, genetic engineering, and cloning are barely mentioned in the core rulebook they are reintroduced in later add-ons such as the chromebook manuals.

The range of characters players can adopt is diverse, ranging from hardwired mercenaries with psycholinked weapons and boosted reflexes, to Armani-wearing corporate mega-yuppies who make and break national economies with the stroke of a pen.

Cyberpunk 2020 is the second edition of the original game, Cyberpunk 2013, often just called “Cyberpunk.” It was originally published as a boxed set in 1988, and R. Talsorian released a few supplements for this edition, including Rockerboy, Solo of Fortune, and Hardwired, the latter based on the Walter Jon Williams novel of the same name. Another supplement was Near Orbit (made obsolete by Deep Space in Cyberpunk 2020)

The second edition featured rules updates and changes, and additionally moved the timeline forward by 7 years, to 2020. The game’s timeline was also retconned to accommodate the German reunification in 1990.

The basic rules system of Cyberpunk 2020 (called the Interlock System) is skill-based instead of level-based, with players being awarded points to be spent on their skill sets. New skills outside their expertise can be learned but in-game time needs to be spent on this. A large part of the system is the player characters’ ability to augment themselves with cyber-technology and the ensuing loss of humanity as they become more machine than man.

Cyberpunk 2020 claims to lend itself to play in the street level, dark film noir genre, but certain aspects of the basic system can influence game sessions toward a high body-count, 1980s action movie style.

Although each player must choose a character class or “role” from those given in the basic rules, there is enough variation in the skill system so that no two members of the same class are alike. Because Cyberpunk 2020 is skill-based, the choice of skills around the class-specific special ability allows a wide range of character development choices including non-combatants.

The combat system, called “Friday Night Firefight”, emphasizes lethality. Several pages in the rules are devoted to discussing real combat vs. the illusions often seen on TV. Attempts are made to keep the combat as realistic as possible in a game setting. No matter who the character is, a single bullet can result in a lethal wound. This encourages a more tactically oriented and thought-out game play, which is in accordance to the rough-and-gritty ethos of the Cyberpunk genre. Also, the amount of damage a character can sustain does not increase as the character develops. The only way a character can become more damage resistant is to either become better at not being hit, physically augment their body with muscle (trained or implanted) or cybernetics, or wear armor.

Cyberpunk 2020, as the name implies, takes place in the year 2020. The game’s default setting is the fictional Night City, a city of five million people on the west coast of the United States located between Los Angeles and San Francisco. It is described as being near San Jose but the map puts it closer to Monterey. Later supplements to the game have contained information about the rest of the US and the world.

Following a vast socio-economical collapse and a period of martial law, the United States government has had to rely on several megacorporations to survive. This has given them a veritable carte blanche to operate as they will.

The Cyberpunk 2020 equivalent of character classes are roles, of which the main rulebook contains 9, and later supplements have expanded the number considerably. Each role has a special ability which gives a character a unique edge.

The game’s backstory had a series of powerful characters that influenced the world of Cyberpunk.

Firestorm was supposed to be the bridge between Cyberpunk 2020 (the 2nd edition rules and milieu) and Cyberpunk V.3 (the 3rd Edition rules and milieu). Its purpose was to shake up everything and get players prepared for the new background they were cooking up.

Set in 2023, the backstory has two deep-ocean-based megacorporations dueling for control over a third one (the period known as the “Ocean War”). When it escalates into open warfare, they each hire mercenaries. One hires the Japanese diversified technology and security services firm Arasaka and the other hires the American military technology and mercenary services firm Militech.

During the conflict, the long-standing bitter rivalry between Arasaka and Militech causes them to forget about their customers and go for each other. In the beginning they feud quietly (the phase called the “Shadow War”). But the covert war between the two heats up, becoming the Fourth Corporate War.

In the course of the adventure setting, the characters are hired to hunt down a pesky netrunner who is making their anonymous employer unhappy. Little do they realize that the hacker is the infamous (and already “dead”) Rache Bartmoss. Regardless of what they do, their employer pinpoints the apartment with an orbital mass-driver and vaporizes it.

Set in 2024, the second part of the Firestorm series sees Arasaka mobilize the Japanese Defense Force to take on Militech and the American military in a series of “proxy conflicts” (the phase dubbed the “Hot War”).

Waves of cyberviruses corrupt databases worldwide, leaving the isolated Arasaka Towers arcology in Night City the last viable data storage mainframe in the world.

Militech gathers together the surviving meta-characters and a Special Forces team played by the player characters into a “super team”. Their job: to take out Arasaka’s Night City arcology with a tactical nuke to deny its assets to Arasaka.

Then they find out that Alt Cunningham, who was captured by Arasaka earlier, is trapped inside the mainframe. Of course, Johnny won’t let Alt die a second time, so the team tries to break her out.

The end result is that the meta-characters go out in a blaze of glory. Johnny Silverhand dies at the hands of Arasaka’s cyborg assassin Adam Smasher in order to buy Spider Murphy enough time to break Alt into a series of datapackets and downloads her into the Net. Morgan Blackhand then takes on Adam Smasher atop Arasaka Towers while the rest of the team gets extracted out. The outcome of the duel is greatly disputed because the low-yield tactical nuke the team deployed sets off the 2-kiloton “self destruct” bomb Arasaka had placed in its data core. This destroyed much of downtown Night City and contaminated the ruins and anything downwind of it with lethal fallout.

The long-awaited third volume, Aftershock promised to tie all the loose ends together and herald the end of the old Cyberpunk 2020 (or “Cyberpunk V.2”) game world and usher in the beginning of the new Cyberpunk 2030 (or “Cyberpunk V.3”) game world. It was later cancelled and its material was folded into the Cyberpunk 203X rules book.

Cybergeneration takes place in an alternate future of the core Cyberpunk 2020 timeline, where a nanotech virus epidemic has resulted in a subgroup of teenagers with unusual, superhuman skills. It began as a supplement that still required the Cyberpunk 2020 rulebook, but the second edition became a standalone game.

Ever since the 1998 release of the Cyberpunk 2020 sourcebook Firestorm: Shockwave, fans of the game had been waiting for a third edition of the Cyberpunk game, known as Cyberpunk 203X. Over the years, the entire project had at times been discounted as vaporware, its delays due to other projects and Pondsmith’s involvement in the development of The Matrix Online.[citation needed]

The game was released first in PDF form on December 17, 2005 and as a conventional book on January 15, 2006.

The setting has been heavily updated from its last event book series, Firestorm, which covered the opening of the Fourth Corporate War. The aftermath of the Fourth Corporate War has resulted in widespread corruption of the Net and major losses of hardcopied data, to the point that all data is intangible and recent recorded history is in doubt. An example that pops up in Pondsmith’s demos at conventions, releases on the Internet, and in the finished game is that history has become so corrupted that many people in the world now believe Richard Nixon, instead of resigning over Watergate, committed suicide on camera and that memes such as the moon landing being hoaxed become prevalent.

The war has also led to the collapse of nations, the world economy, and many of the staple megacorporations. This civil upheaval leads to the rise of the “altcults”, alternative cultures similar in vein to the “phyles” from Neal Stephenson’s The Diamond Age. In fact, Cyberpunk V.3 has more to do with the new postcyberpunk literary movement and transhumanism than with the Gibson-Sterling mirrorshades movement.

In addition to rules changes to the Fuzion system and background, Cyberpunk V.3 also uses concepts taken from Pondsmith’s experience at Microsoft with computer and video games as well as corporate culture, such as a simpler character generation system using templates, web-based active content URL links for updates, and making groups, organizations, and corporations their own “characters”.

In addition, there is also the Fallen Angels, space-bound scavengers, the Ghosts, people who have uploaded their minds, and the Neo-Corps, the surviving corporations of the Cyberpunk 2020 world that are now organized in the form of organized crime syndicates. However, the six listed above are the only ones that have been mentioned in deep detail.

Two Cyberpunk 2020 novels have been published, both written by Stephen Billias:

Two different, independent collectible card games have been licensed and produced based on the Cyberpunk setting. The first, called Netrunner, was designed by Richard Garfield, and released by Wizards of the Coast in 1996 (the game has since been re-released as Android:_Netrunner but is no longer associated with the fictional Cyberpunk universe). The second was called Cyberpunk CCG, released in 2003, designed by Peter Wacks and published by Social Games.

Cyberpunk was ranked 10th in the 1996 reader poll of Arcane magazine to determine the 50 most popular roleplaying games of all time. The UK magazine’s editor Paul Pettengale commented: “Cyberpunk was the first of the ‘straight’ cyberpunk RPGs, and is still the best. The difference between cyberpunk and other sci-fi is a matter of style and attitude. Everything about the Cyberpunk game, from the background to the rules system, is designed to create this vital atmosphere. Cyberpunk is set in an unforgiving world where betrayal and double-crosses are common, trust is hard to find and paranoia is a useful survival trait.”[4]

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Cyberpunk 2020 – Wikipedia

Cyberpunk – Wikipedia

Cyberpunk is a subgenre of science fiction in a futuristic setting that tends to focus on a “combination of lowlife and high tech”[1] featuring advanced technological and scientific achievements, such as artificial intelligence and cybernetics, juxtaposed with a degree of breakdown or radical change in the social order.[2]

Much of cyberpunk is rooted in the New Wave science fiction movement of the 1960s and 70s, when writers like Philip K. Dick, Roger Zelazny, J. G. Ballard, Philip Jose Farmer, and Harlan Ellison examined the impact of drug culture, technology, and the sexual revolution while avoiding the utopian tendencies of earlier science fiction. Released in 1984, William Gibsons influential debut novel Neuromancer would help solidify cyberpunk as a genre, drawing influence from punk subculture and early hacker culture. Other influential cyberpunk writers included Bruce Sterling and Rudy Rucker.

Early films in the genre include Ridley Scotts 1982 film Blade Runner, one of several of Philip K. Dick’s works that have been adapted into films. The films Johnny Mnemonic[3] and New Rose Hotel,[4][5] both based upon short stories by William Gibson, flopped commercially and critically. More recent additions to this genre of filmmaking include the 2017 release of Blade Runner 2049, sequel to the original 1982 film, and the 2018 Netflix TV series Altered Carbon.

Lawrence Person has attempted to define the content and ethos of the cyberpunk literary movement stating:

Classic cyberpunk characters were marginalized, alienated loners who lived on the edge of society in generally dystopic futures where daily life was impacted by rapid technological change, an ubiquitous datasphere of computerized information, and invasive modification of the human body.

Cyberpunk plots often center on conflict among artificial intelligences, hackers, and megacorporations, and tend to be set in a near-future Earth, rather than in the far-future settings or galactic vistas found in novels such as Isaac Asimov’s Foundation or Frank Herbert’s Dune.[7] The settings are usually post-industrial dystopias but tend to feature extraordinary cultural ferment and the use of technology in ways never anticipated by its original inventors (“the street finds its own uses for things”).[8] Much of the genre’s atmosphere echoes film noir, and written works in the genre often use techniques from detective fiction.[9]

The origins of cyberpunk are rooted in the New Wave science fiction movement of the 1960s and 70s, where New Worlds, under the editorship of Michael Moorcock, began inviting and encouraging stories that examined new writing styles, techniques, and archetypes. Reacting to conventional storytelling, New Wave authors attempted to present a world where society coped with a constant upheaval of new technology and culture, generally with dystopian outcomes. Writers like Roger Zelazny, J.G. Ballard, Philip Jose Farmer, and Harlan Ellison often examined the impact of drug culture, technology, and the sexual revolution with an avant-garde style influenced by the Beat Generation (especially William S. Burroughs’ own SF), dadaism, and their own ideas.[10] Ballard attacked the idea that stories should follow the “archetypes” popular since the time of Ancient Greece, and the assumption that these would somehow be the same ones that would call to modern readers, as Joseph Campbell argued in The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Instead, Ballard wanted to write a new myth for the modern reader, a style with “more psycho-literary ideas, more meta-biological and meta-chemical concepts, private time systems, synthetic psychologies and space-times, more of the sombre half-worlds one glimpses in the paintings of schizophrenics.”[11]

This had a profound influence on a new generation of writers, some of whom would come to call their movement “Cyberpunk”. One, Bruce Sterling, later said:

Ballard, Zelazny, and the rest of New Wave was seen by the subsequent generation as delivering more “realism” to science fiction, and they attempted to build on this.

Similarly influential, and generally cited as proto-cyberpunk, is the Philip K. Dick novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, first published in 1968. Presenting precisely the general feeling of dystopian post-economic-apocalyptic future as Gibson and Sterling later deliver, it examines ethical and moral problems with cybernetic, artificial intelligence in a way more “realist” than the Isaac Asimov Robot series that laid its philosophical foundation. This novel was made into the seminal movie Blade Runner, released in 1982. This was one year after another story, “Johnny Mnemonic” helped move proto-cyberpunk concepts into the mainstream. This story, which also became a film years later, involves another dystopian future, where human couriers deliver computer data, stored cybernetically in their own minds.

In 1983 a short story written by Bruce Bethke, called Cyberpunk, was published in Amazing Stories. The term was picked up by Gardner Dozois, editor of Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine and popularized in his editorials. Bethke says he made two lists of words, one for technology, one for troublemakers, and experimented with combining them variously into compound words, consciously attempting to coin a term that encompassed both punk attitudes and high technology.

He described the idea thus:

Afterward, Dozois began using this term in his own writing, most notably in a Washington Post article where he said “About the closest thing here to a self-willed esthetic school would be the purveyors of bizarre hard-edged, high-tech stuff, who have on occasion been referred to as cyberpunks Sterling, Gibson, Shiner, Cadigan, Bear.”[14]

About that time, William Gibson’s novel Neuromancer was published, delivering a glimpse of a future encompassed by what became an archetype of cyberpunk “virtual reality”, with the human mind being fed light-based worldscapes through a computer interface. Some, perhaps ironically including Bethke himself, argued at the time that the writers whose style Gibson’s books epitomized should be called “Neuromantics”, a pun on the name of the novel plus “New Romantics”, a term used for a New Wave pop music movement that had just occurred in Britain, but this term did not catch on. Bethke later paraphrased Michael Swanwick’s argument for the term: “the movement writers should properly be termed neuromantics, since so much of what they were doing was clearly Imitation Neuromancer”.

Sterling was another writer who played a central role, often consciously, in the cyberpunk genre, variously seen as keeping it on track, or distorting its natural path into a stagnant formula.[15] In 1986 he edited a volume of cyberpunk stories called Mirrorshades: The Cyberpunk Anthology, an attempt to establish what cyberpunk was, from Sterling’s perspective.[16]

In the subsequent decade, the motifs of Gibson’s Neuromancer became formulaic, climaxing in the satirical extremes of Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash in 1992.

Bookending the Cyberpunk era, Bethke himself published a novel in 1995 called Headcrash: like Snow Crash a satirical attack on the genre’s excesses. It won the key cyberpunk honor named after its spiritual founder, the Philip K. Dick Award.

It satirized the genre in this way:

The impact of cyberpunk, though, has been long-lasting. Elements of both the setting and storytelling have become normal in science fiction in general, and a slew of sub-genres now have -punk tacked onto their names, most obviously Steampunk, but also a host of other Cyberpunk derivatives.

Primary figures in the cyberpunk movement include William Gibson, Neal Stephenson, Bruce Sterling, Bruce Bethke, Pat Cadigan, Rudy Rucker, and John Shirley. Philip K. Dick (author of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, from which the film Blade Runner was adapted) is also seen by some as prefiguring the movement[18]

Blade Runner can be seen as a quintessential example of the cyberpunk style and theme.[7] Video games, board games, and tabletop role-playing games, such as Cyberpunk 2020 and Shadowrun, often feature storylines that are heavily influenced by cyberpunk writing and movies. Beginning in the early 1990s, some trends in fashion and music were also labeled as cyberpunk. Cyberpunk is also featured prominently in anime and manga:[19] Akira, Gunnm, Ghost in the Shell, Cowboy Bebop, Serial Experiments Lain, Dennou Coil, Ergo Proxy and Psycho Pass being among the most notable.[19]

Cyberpunk writers tend to use elements from hardboiled detective fiction, film noir, and postmodernist prose to describe an often nihilistic underground side of an electronic society. The genre’s vision of a troubled future is often called the antithesis of the generally utopian visions of the future popular in the 1940s and 1950s. Gibson defined cyberpunk’s antipathy towards utopian SF in his 1981 short story “The Gernsback Continuum,” which pokes fun at and, to a certain extent, condemns utopian science fiction.[22][23][24]

In some cyberpunk writing, much of the action takes place online, in cyberspace, blurring the line between actual and virtual reality.[25] A typical trope in such work is a direct connection between the human brain and computer systems. Cyberpunk settings are dystopias with corruption, computers and internet connectivity. Giant, multinational corporations have for the most part replaced governments as centers of political, economic, and even military power.

The economic and technological state of Japan is a regular theme in the Cyberpunk literature of the ’80s. Of Japan’s influence on the genre, William Gibson said, “Modern Japan simply was cyberpunk.”[21] Cyberpunk is often set in urbanized, artificial landscapes, and “city lights, receding” was used by Gibson as one of the genre’s first metaphors for cyberspace and virtual reality.[26] The cityscapes of Hong Kong[27] and Shanghai[28] have had major influences in the urban backgrounds, ambiance and settings in many cyberpunk works such as Blade Runner and Shadowrun. Ridley Scott envisioned the landscape of cyberpunk Los Angeles in Blade Runner to be “Hong Kong on a very bad day”.[29] The streetscapes of Ghost in the Shell were based on Hong Kong. Its director Mamoru Oshii felt that Hong Kong’s strange and chaotic streets where “old and new exist in confusing relationships”, fit the theme of the film well.[27] Hong Kong’s Kowloon Walled City is particularly notable for its disorganized hyper-urbanization and breakdown in traditional urban planning to be an inspiration to cyberpunk landscapes.

One of the cyberpunk genre’s prototype characters is Case, from Gibson’s Neuromancer.[30] Case is a “console cowboy,” a brilliant hacker who has betrayed his organized criminal partners. Robbed of his talent through a crippling injury inflicted by the vengeful partners, Case unexpectedly receives a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be healed by expert medical care but only if he participates in another criminal enterprise with a new crew.

Like Case, many cyberpunk protagonists are manipulated, placed in situations where they have little or no choice, and although they might see things through, they do not necessarily come out any further ahead than they previously were. These anti-heroes”criminals, outcasts, visionaries, dissenters and misfits”[31]call to mind the private eye of detective fiction. This emphasis on the misfits and the malcontents is the “punk” component of cyberpunk.

Cyberpunk can be intended to disquiet readers and call them to action. It often expresses a sense of rebellion, suggesting that one could describe it as a type of culture revolution in science fiction. In the words of author and critic David Brin:

…a closer look [at cyberpunk authors] reveals that they nearly always portray future societies in which governments have become wimpy and pathetic …Popular science fiction tales by Gibson, Williams, Cadigan and others do depict Orwellian accumulations of power in the next century, but nearly always clutched in the secretive hands of a wealthy or corporate elite.[32]

Cyberpunk stories have also been seen as fictional forecasts of the evolution of the Internet. The earliest descriptions of a global communications network came long before the World Wide Web entered popular awareness, though not before traditional science-fiction writers such as Arthur C. Clarke and some social commentators such as James Burke began predicting that such networks would eventually form.[33]

Minnesota writer Bruce Bethke coined the term in 1980 for his short story “Cyberpunk,” which was published in the November 1983 issue of Amazing Science Fiction Stories.[34] The term was quickly appropriated as a label to be applied to the works of William Gibson, Bruce Sterling, Pat Cadigan and others. Of these, Sterling became the movement’s chief ideologue, thanks to his fanzine Cheap Truth. John Shirley wrote articles on Sterling and Rucker’s significance.[35] John Brunner’s 1975 novel The Shockwave Rider is considered by many[who?] to be the first cyberpunk novel with many of the tropes commonly associated with the genre, some five years before the term was popularized by Dozois.[36]

William Gibson with his novel Neuromancer (1984) is arguably the most famous writer connected with the term cyberpunk. He emphasized style, a fascination with surfaces, and atmosphere over traditional science-fiction tropes. Regarded as ground-breaking and sometimes as “the archetypal cyberpunk work,”[6] Neuromancer was awarded the Hugo, Nebula, and Philip K. Dick Awards. Count Zero (1986) and Mona Lisa Overdrive (1988) followed after Gibson’s popular debut novel. According to the Jargon File, “Gibson’s near-total ignorance of computers and the present-day hacker culture enabled him to speculate about the role of computers and hackers in the future in ways hackers have since found both irritatingly nave and tremendously stimulating.”[37]

Early on, cyberpunk was hailed as a radical departure from science-fiction standards and a new manifestation of vitality.[38] Shortly thereafter, however, some critics arose to challenge its status as a revolutionary movement. These critics said that the SF New Wave of the 1960s was much more innovative as far as narrative techniques and styles were concerned.[39] Furthermore, while Neuromancer’s narrator may have had an unusual “voice” for science fiction, much older examples can be found: Gibson’s narrative voice, for example, resembles that of an updated Raymond Chandler, as in his novel The Big Sleep (1939).[38] Others noted that almost all traits claimed to be uniquely cyberpunk could in fact be found in older writers’ worksoften citing J. G. Ballard, Philip K. Dick, Harlan Ellison, Stanisaw Lem, Samuel R. Delany, and even William S. Burroughs.[38] For example, Philip K. Dick’s works contain recurring themes of social decay, artificial intelligence, paranoia, and blurred lines between objective and subjective realities.[40] The influential cyberpunk movie Blade Runner (1982) is based on his book, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?.[41] Humans linked to machines are found in Pohl and Kornbluth’s Wolfbane (1959) and Roger Zelazny’s Creatures of Light and Darkness (1968).[citation needed]

In 1994, scholar Brian Stonehill suggested that Thomas Pynchon’s 1973 novel Gravity’s Rainbow “not only curses but precurses what we now glibly dub cyberspace.”[42] Other important predecessors include Alfred Bester’s two most celebrated novels, The Demolished Man and The Stars My Destination,[43] as well as Vernor Vinge’s novella True Names.[44]

Science-fiction writer David Brin describes cyberpunk as “the finest free promotion campaign ever waged on behalf of science fiction.” It may not have attracted the “real punks,” but it did ensnare many new readers, and it provided the sort of movement that postmodern literary critics found alluring. Cyberpunk made science fiction more attractive to academics, argues Brin; in addition, it made science fiction more profitable to Hollywood and to the visual arts generally. Although the “self-important rhetoric and whines of persecution” on the part of cyberpunk fans were irritating at worst and humorous at best, Brin declares that the “rebels did shake things up. We owe them a debt.”[45]

Fredric Jameson considers cyberpunk the “supreme literary expression if not of postmodernism, then of late capitalism itself”.[46]

Cyberpunk further inspired many professional writers who were not among the “original” cyberpunks to incorporate cyberpunk ideas into their own works,[citation needed] such as George Alec Effinger’s When Gravity Fails. Wired magazine, created by Louis Rossetto and Jane Metcalfe, mixes new technology, art, literature, and current topics in order to interest today’s cyberpunk fans, which Paula Yoo claims “proves that hardcore hackers, multimedia junkies, cyberpunks and cellular freaks are poised to take over the world.”[47]

The film Blade Runner (1982)adapted from Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?is set in 2019 in a dystopian future in which manufactured beings called replicants are slaves used on space colonies and are legal prey on Earth to various bounty hunters who “retire” (kill) them. Although Blade Runner was largely unsuccessful in its first theatrical release, it found a viewership in the home video market and became a cult film.[48] Since the movie omits the religious and mythical elements of Dick’s original novel (e.g. empathy boxes and Wilbur Mercer), it falls more strictly within the cyberpunk genre than the novel does. William Gibson would later reveal that upon first viewing the film, he was surprised at how the look of this film matched his vision when he was working on Neuromancer. The film’s tone has since been the staple of many cyberpunk movies, such as The Matrix trilogy (1999-2003), which uses a wide variety of cyberpunk elements.

The number of films in the genre or at least using a few genre elements has grown steadily since Blade Runner. Several of Philip K. Dick’s works have been adapted to the silver screen. The films Johnny Mnemonic[3] and New Rose Hotel,[4][5] both based upon short stories by William Gibson, flopped commercially and critically. These box offices misses significantly slowed the development of cyberpunk as a literary or cultural form although a sequel to the 1982 film Blade Runner was released in October 2017 with Harrison Ford reprising his role from the original film.

In addition, “tech-noir” film as a hybrid genre, means a work of combining neo-noir and science fiction or cyberpunk. It includes many cyberpunk films such as Blade Runner, Burst City,[49] Robocop, 12 Monkeys, The Lawnmower Man, Hackers, Hardware, and Strange Days.

Cyberpunk themes are widely visible in anime and manga. In Japan, where cosplay is popular and not only teenagers display such fashion styles, cyberpunk has been accepted and its influence is widespread. William Gibson’s Neuromancer, whose influence dominated the early cyberpunk movement, was also set in Chiba, one of Japan’s largest industrial areas, although at the time of writing the novel Gibson did not know the location of Chiba and had no idea how perfectly it fit his vision in some ways. The exposure to cyberpunk ideas and fiction in the mid 1980s has allowed it to seep into the Japanese culture.

Cyberpunk anime and manga draw upon a futuristic vision which has elements in common with western science fiction and therefore have received wide international acceptance outside Japan. “The conceptualization involved in cyberpunk is more of forging ahead, looking at the new global culture. It is a culture that does not exist right now, so the Japanese concept of a cyberpunk future, seems just as valid as a Western one, especially as Western cyberpunk often incorporates many Japanese elements.”[50] William Gibson is now a frequent visitor to Japan, and he came to see that many of his visions of Japan have become a reality:

Modern Japan simply was cyberpunk. The Japanese themselves knew it and delighted in it. I remember my first glimpse of Shibuya, when one of the young Tokyo journalists who had taken me there, his face drenched with the light of a thousand media-sunsall that towering, animated crawl of commercial informationsaid, “You see? You see? It is Blade Runner town.” And it was. It so evidently was.[21]

Cyberpunk has influenced many anime and manga including the ground-breaking Akira, Appleseed, Ghost in the Shell, Ergo Proxy, Battle Angel Alita, Megazone 23, Neo Tokyo, Goku Midnight Eye, Cyber City Oedo 808, Bubblegum Crisis, A.D. Police: Dead End City, Angel Cop, Extra, Blame!, Armitage III, Texhnolyze, Serial Experiments Lain, Neon Genesis Evangelion and Psycho-Pass.

There are many cyberpunk video games. Popular series include the Megami Tensei series, Deus Ex series, Syndicate series, and System Shock and its sequel. Other games, like Blade Runner, Ghost in the Shell, and the Matrix series, are based upon genre movies, or role-playing games (for instance the various Shadowrun games).

Several RPGs called Cyberpunk exist: Cyberpunk, Cyberpunk 2020 and Cyberpunk v3, by R. Talsorian Games, and GURPS Cyberpunk, published by Steve Jackson Games as a module of the GURPS family of RPGs. Cyberpunk 2020 was designed with the settings of William Gibson’s writings in mind, and to some extent with his approval[citation needed], unlike the approach taken by FASA in producing the transgenre Shadowrun game. Both are set in the near future, in a world where cybernetics are prominent. In addition, Iron Crown Enterprises released an RPG named Cyberspace, which was out of print for several years until recently being re-released in online PDF form. CD Projekt Red is currently developing Cyberpunk 2077, a cyberpunk first-person open world RPG video-game based on the tabletop RPG Cyberpunk 2020[51][52][53]. At E3 2017, developer Oddtales unveiled “The Last Night”, a game set in a cyberpunk world where AI has taken over labour and humans are living in an “era of leisure”.[54]

In 1990, in a convergence of cyberpunk art and reality, the United States Secret Service raided Steve Jackson Games’s headquarters and confiscated all their computers. Officials denied that the target had been the GURPS Cyberpunk sourcebook, but Jackson would later write that he and his colleagues “were never able to secure the return of the complete manuscript; […] The Secret Service at first flatly refused to return anything then agreed to let us copy files, but when we got to their office, restricted us to one set of out-of-date files then agreed to make copies for us, but said “tomorrow” every day from March 4 to March 26. On March 26 we received a set of disks which purported to be our files, but the material was late, incomplete and well-nigh useless.”[55] Steve Jackson Games won a lawsuit against the Secret Service, aided by the new Electronic Frontier Foundation. This event has achieved a sort of notoriety, which has extended to the book itself as well. All published editions of GURPS Cyberpunk have a tagline on the front cover, which reads “The book that was seized by the U.S. Secret Service!” Inside, the book provides a summary of the raid and its aftermath.

Cyberpunk has also inspired several tabletop, miniature and board games such as Necromunda by Games Workshop. Netrunner is a collectible card game introduced in 1996, based on the Cyberpunk 2020 role-playing game. Tokyo NOVA, debuting in 1993, is a cyberpunk role-playing game that uses playing cards instead of dice.

Julie Romandetta[56]

Some musicians and acts have been classified as cyberpunk due to their aesthetic style and musical content. Often dealing with dystopian visions of the future or biomechanical themes, some fit more squarely in the category than others. Bands whose music has been classified as cyberpunk include Psydoll, Front Line Assembly, Clock DVA and Sigue Sigue Sputnik. Some musicians not normally associated with cyberpunk have at times been inspired to create concept albums exploring such themes. Albums such as Gary Numan’s Replicas, The Pleasure Principle and Telekon were heavily inspired by the works of Philip K. Dick. Kraftwerk’s The Man-Machine and Computer World albums both explored the theme of humanity becoming dependent on technology. Nine Inch Nails’ concept album Year Zero also fits into this category. Fear Factory concept albums are heavily based upon future dystopia, cybernetics, clash between man and machines, virtual worlds. Billy Idol’s Cyberpunk drew heavily from cyberpunk literature and the cyberdelic counter culture in its creation. 1. Outside, a cyberpunk narrative fueled concept album by David Bowie, was warmly met by critics upon its release in 1995. Many musicians have also taken inspiration from specific cyberpunk works or authors, including Sonic Youth, whose albums Sister and Daydream Nation take influence from the works of Philip K. Dick and William Gibson respectively.

Vaporwave and Synthwave are also influenced by cyberpunk. The former has been interpreted as a dystopian[57] critique of capitalism[58] in the vein of cyberpunk and the latter as a nostalgic retrofuturistic revival of aspects of cyberpunk’s origins.

Some Neo-Futurism artworks and cityscapes have been influenced by cyberpunk, such as[21] the Sony Center in the Potsdamer Platz public square of Berlin, Germany.[59]

Several subcultures have been inspired by cyberpunk fiction. These include the cyberdelic counter culture of the late 1980s and early 90s. Cyberdelic, whose adherents referred to themselves as “cyberpunks”, attempted to blend the psychedelic art and drug movement with the technology of cyberculture. Early adherents included Timothy Leary, Mark Frauenfelder and R. U. Sirius. The movement largely faded following the dot-com bubble implosion of 2000.

Cybergoth is a fashion and dance subculture which draws its inspiration from cyberpunk fiction, as well as rave and Gothic subcultures. In addition, a distinct cyberpunk fashion of its own has emerged in recent years[when?] which rejects the raver and goth influences of cybergoth, and draws inspiration from urban street fashion, “post apocalypse”, functional clothing, high tech sports wear, tactical uniform and multifunction. This fashion goes by names like “tech wear”, “goth ninja” or “tech ninja”. Important designers in this type of fashion[according to whom?] are ACRONYM, Demobaza,[60] Boris Bidjan Saberi, Rick Owens and Alexander Wang.

The Kowloon Walled City in Hong Kong (demolished in 1994) is often referenced as the model cyberpunk/dystopian slum as, given its poor living conditions at the time coupled with the city’s political, physical, and economic isolation has caused many in academia to be fascinated by the ingenuity of its spawning.[61]

As a wider variety of writers began to work with cyberpunk concepts, new subgenres of science fiction emerged, some of which could be considered as playing off the cyberpunk label, others which could be considered as legitimate explorations into newer territory. These focused on technology and its social effects in different ways. One prominent subgenre is “steampunk,” which is set in an alternate history Victorian era that combines anachronistic technology with cyberpunk’s bleak film noir world view. The term was originally coined around 1987 as a joke to describe some of the novels of Tim Powers, James P. Blaylock, and K.W. Jeter, but by the time Gibson and Sterling entered the subgenre with their collaborative novel The Difference Engine the term was being used earnestly as well.[62]

Another subgenre is “biopunk” (cyberpunk themes dominated by biotechnology) from the early 1990s, a derivative style building on biotechnology rather than informational technology. In these stories, people are changed in some way not by mechanical means, but by genetic manipulation. Paul Di Filippo is seen as the most prominent biopunk writer, including his half-serious ribofunk. Bruce Sterling’s Shaper/Mechanist cycle is also seen as a major influence. In addition, some people consider works such as Neal Stephenson’s The Diamond Age to be postcyberpunk.

Cyberpunk works have been described as well-situated within postmodern literature.[63]

Role playing game publisher R. Talsorian Games, owner of the Cyberpunk 2020 franchise, trademarked the word “Cyberpunk” in the United States in 2012.[64] Video game developer CD Projekt, which is developing Cyberpunk 2077, bought the U.S. trademark from R. Talsorian Games, and has filed a trademark in the European Union.[65][66]

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Cyberpunk – Wikipedia

Cyberpunk – High Tech, Low Life. r/Cyberpunk – reddit

Originally, this is back from the early 2000’s, when Steampunk was all the rage and what was in my head was a rag tag group of anarchists fighting an otherwise impenetrable group of rich tycoons. I had plans for this to be an alternate reality without guns, but with massive steam cannons, and this whole range of dark and twisted Victorian based literary styles. But I got bored with the project, and this is what survived of complete(ish) pieces.

But now I’ve got this other story that’s in my head, one where an illegally created clone comes to find out she’s a clone and has to dig through this alternate world of anarchists to fight the system. I want to lean heavily on Transmet and Neuromancer for this concept. Would people be interested? What are your thoughts?

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Cyberpunk – High Tech, Low Life. r/Cyberpunk – reddit

Cyberpunk 2020 – Wikipedia

Cyberpunk, mainly known by its second edition title Cyberpunk 2020, is a cyberpunk role-playing game written by Mike Pondsmith and published by R. Talsorian Games in 1988. Because of the release in 1990 of the second edition, set in a fictional 2020, the first edition is often now referred to as Cyberpunk 2013, following the fictional year, 2013, in which the game was set when it was first released in 1988. The third edition, published by R. Talsorian Games in 2005, is referred to as Cyberpunk V3.0 and is set further along the same fictional timeline as the former editions, during the 2030s.

This role-playing game is inspired by the novel Hardwired by Walter Jon Williams, who helped playtest the game. Hardwired, in turn, was written as a homage to Roger Zelazny’s Damnation Alley. The game includes a number of elements now associated with the 1980s,[citation needed] such as the idea of style over substance and glam rock.

The game tends to emphasize some aspects of the source material more than others. Much of the focus of the game is paid to combat, high-tech weaponry and cybernetic modification; however, performance-enhancing and recreational drug use is either played down or discouraged. Although artificial intelligence, genetic engineering, and cloning are barely mentioned in the core rulebook they are reintroduced in later add-ons such as the chromebook manuals.

The range of characters players can adopt is diverse, ranging from hardwired mercenaries with psycholinked weapons and boosted reflexes, to Armani-wearing corporate mega-yuppies who make and break national economies with the stroke of a pen.

Cyberpunk 2020 is the second edition of the original game, Cyberpunk 2013, often just called “Cyberpunk.” It was originally published as a boxed set in 1988, and R. Talsorian released a few supplements for this edition, including Rockerboy, Solo of Fortune, and Hardwired, the latter based on the Walter Jon Williams novel of the same name. Another supplement was Near Orbit (made obsolete by Deep Space in Cyberpunk 2020)

The second edition featured rules updates and changes, and additionally moved the timeline forward by 7 years, to 2020. The game’s timeline was also retconned to accommodate the German reunification in 1990.

The basic rules system of Cyberpunk 2020 (called the Interlock System) is skill-based instead of level-based, with players being awarded points to be spent on their skill sets. New skills outside their expertise can be learned but in-game time needs to be spent on this. A large part of the system is the player characters’ ability to augment themselves with cyber-technology and the ensuing loss of humanity as they become more machine than man.

Cyberpunk 2020 claims to lend itself to play in the street level, dark film noir genre, but certain aspects of the basic system can influence game sessions toward a high body-count, 1980s action movie style.

Although each player must choose a character class or “role” from those given in the basic rules, there is enough variation in the skill system so that no two members of the same class are alike. Because Cyberpunk 2020 is skill-based, the choice of skills around the class-specific special ability allows a wide range of character development choices including non-combatants.

The combat system, called “Friday Night Firefight”, emphasizes lethality. Several pages in the rules are devoted to discussing real combat vs. the illusions often seen on TV. Attempts are made to keep the combat as realistic as possible in a game setting. No matter who the character is, a single bullet can result in a lethal wound. This encourages a more tactically oriented and thought-out game play, which is in accordance to the rough-and-gritty ethos of the Cyberpunk genre. Also, the amount of damage a character can sustain does not increase as the character develops. The only way a character can become more damage resistant is to either become better at not being hit, physically augment their body with muscle (trained or implanted) or cybernetics, or wear armor.

Cyberpunk 2020, as the name implies, takes place in the year 2020. The game’s default setting is the fictional Night City, a city of five million people on the west coast of the United States located between Los Angeles and San Francisco. It is described as being near San Jose but the map puts it closer to Monterey. Later supplements to the game have contained information about the rest of the US and the world.

Following a vast socio-economical collapse and a period of martial law, the United States government has had to rely on several megacorporations to survive. This has given them a veritable carte blanche to operate as they will.

The Cyberpunk 2020 equivalent of character classes are roles, of which the main rulebook contains 9, and later supplements have expanded the number considerably. Each role has a special ability which gives a character a unique edge.

The game’s backstory had a series of powerful characters that influenced the world of Cyberpunk.

Firestorm was supposed to be the bridge between Cyberpunk 2020 (the 2nd edition rules and milieu) and Cyberpunk V.3 (the 3rd Edition rules and milieu). Its purpose was to shake up everything and get players prepared for the new background they were cooking up.

Set in 2023, the backstory has two deep-ocean-based megacorporations dueling for control over a third one (the period known as the “Ocean War”). When it escalates into open warfare, they each hire mercenaries. One hires the Japanese diversified technology and security services firm Arasaka and the other hires the American military technology and mercenary services firm Militech.

During the conflict, the long-standing bitter rivalry between Arasaka and Militech causes them to forget about their customers and go for each other. In the beginning they feud quietly (the phase called the “Shadow War”). But the covert war between the two heats up, becoming the Fourth Corporate War.

In the course of the adventure setting, the characters are hired to hunt down a pesky netrunner who is making their anonymous employer unhappy. Little do they realize that the hacker is the infamous (and already “dead”) Rache Bartmoss. Regardless of what they do, their employer pinpoints the apartment with an orbital mass-driver and vaporizes it.

Set in 2024, the second part of the Firestorm series sees Arasaka mobilize the Japanese Defense Force to take on Militech and the American military in a series of “proxy conflicts” (the phase dubbed the “Hot War”).

Waves of cyberviruses corrupt databases worldwide, leaving the isolated Arasaka Towers arcology in Night City the last viable data storage mainframe in the world.

Militech gathers together the surviving meta-characters and a Special Forces team played by the player characters into a “super team”. Their job: to take out Arasaka’s Night City arcology with a tactical nuke to deny its assets to Arasaka.

Then they find out that Alt Cunningham, who was captured by Arasaka earlier, is trapped inside the mainframe. Of course, Johnny won’t let Alt die a second time, so the team tries to break her out.

The end result is that the meta-characters go out in a blaze of glory. Johnny Silverhand dies at the hands of Arasaka’s cyborg assassin Adam Smasher in order to buy Spider Murphy enough time to break Alt into a series of datapackets and downloads her into the Net. Morgan Blackhand then takes on Adam Smasher atop Arasaka Towers while the rest of the team gets extracted out. The outcome of the duel is greatly disputed because the low-yield tactical nuke the team deployed sets off the 2-kiloton “self destruct” bomb Arasaka had placed in its data core. This destroyed much of downtown Night City and contaminated the ruins and anything downwind of it with lethal fallout.

The long-awaited third volume, Aftershock promised to tie all the loose ends together and herald the end of the old Cyberpunk 2020 (or “Cyberpunk V.2”) game world and usher in the beginning of the new Cyberpunk 2030 (or “Cyberpunk V.3”) game world. It was later cancelled and its material was folded into the Cyberpunk 203X rules book.

Cybergeneration takes place in an alternate future of the core Cyberpunk 2020 timeline, where a nanotech virus epidemic has resulted in a subgroup of teenagers with unusual, superhuman skills. It began as a supplement that still required the Cyberpunk 2020 rulebook, but the second edition became a standalone game.

Ever since the 1998 release of the Cyberpunk 2020 sourcebook Firestorm: Shockwave, fans of the game had been waiting for a third edition of the Cyberpunk game, known as Cyberpunk 203X. Over the years, the entire project had at times been discounted as vaporware, its delays due to other projects and Pondsmith’s involvement in the development of The Matrix Online.[citation needed]

The game was released first in PDF form on December 17, 2005 and as a conventional book on January 15, 2006.

The setting has been heavily updated from its last event book series, Firestorm, which covered the opening of the Fourth Corporate War. The aftermath of the Fourth Corporate War has resulted in widespread corruption of the Net and major losses of hardcopied data, to the point that all data is intangible and recent recorded history is in doubt. An example that pops up in Pondsmith’s demos at conventions, releases on the Internet, and in the finished game is that history has become so corrupted that many people in the world now believe Richard Nixon, instead of resigning over Watergate, committed suicide on camera and that memes such as the moon landing being hoaxed become prevalent.

The war has also led to the collapse of nations, the world economy, and many of the staple megacorporations. This civil upheaval leads to the rise of the “altcults”, alternative cultures similar in vein to the “phyles” from Neal Stephenson’s The Diamond Age. In fact, Cyberpunk V.3 has more to do with the new postcyberpunk literary movement and transhumanism than with the Gibson-Sterling mirrorshades movement.

In addition to rules changes to the Fuzion system and background, Cyberpunk V.3 also uses concepts taken from Pondsmith’s experience at Microsoft with computer and video games as well as corporate culture, such as a simpler character generation system using templates, web-based active content URL links for updates, and making groups, organizations, and corporations their own “characters”.

In addition, there is also the Fallen Angels, space-bound scavengers, the Ghosts, people who have uploaded their minds, and the Neo-Corps, the surviving corporations of the Cyberpunk 2020 world that are now organized in the form of organized crime syndicates. However, the six listed above are the only ones that have been mentioned in deep detail.

Two Cyberpunk 2020 novels have been published, both written by Stephen Billias:

Two different, independent collectible card games have been licensed and produced based on the Cyberpunk setting. The first, called Netrunner, was designed by Richard Garfield, and released by Wizards of the Coast in 1996 (the game has since been re-released as Android:_Netrunner but is no longer associated with the fictional Cyberpunk universe). The second was called Cyberpunk CCG, released in 2003, designed by Peter Wacks and published by Social Games.

Cyberpunk was ranked 10th in the 1996 reader poll of Arcane magazine to determine the 50 most popular roleplaying games of all time. The UK magazine’s editor Paul Pettengale commented: “Cyberpunk was the first of the ‘straight’ cyberpunk RPGs, and is still the best. The difference between cyberpunk and other sci-fi is a matter of style and attitude. Everything about the Cyberpunk game, from the background to the rules system, is designed to create this vital atmosphere. Cyberpunk is set in an unforgiving world where betrayal and double-crosses are common, trust is hard to find and paranoia is a useful survival trait.”[4]

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Cyberpunk 2020 – Wikipedia

Cyberpunk | Definition of Cyberpunk by Merriam-Webster

In science fiction circles, “cyberpunk” is a genre that often features countercultural antiheroes trapped in a dehumanizing high-tech future. Its roots extend back to the technical fiction of the 1940s and ’50s, but it was years before it matured. The word cyberpunk was coined by writer Bruce Bethke, who wrote a story with that title in 1980. He created the term by combining “cybernetics,” the science of replacing human functions with computerized ones, and “punk,” the raucous music and nihilistic sensibility that became a youth culture in the 1970s and ’80s. Not until the 1984 publication of William Gibson’s novel, Neuromancer, however, did “cyberpunk” really take off as a term or a genre.

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Cyberpunk | Definition of Cyberpunk by Merriam-Webster

Cyberpunk – Wikipedia

Cyberpunk is a subgenre of science fiction in a futuristic setting that tends to focus on a “combination of lowlife and high tech”[1] featuring advanced technological and scientific achievements, such as artificial intelligence and cybernetics, juxtaposed with a degree of breakdown or radical change in the social order.[2]

Much of cyberpunk is rooted in the New Wave science fiction movement of the 1960s and 70s, when writers like Philip K. Dick, Roger Zelazny, J. G. Ballard, Philip Jose Farmer, and Harlan Ellison examined the impact of drug culture, technology, and the sexual revolution while avoiding the utopian tendencies of earlier science fiction. Released in 1984, William Gibsons influential debut novel Neuromancer would help solidify cyberpunk as a genre, drawing influence from punk subculture and early hacker culture. Other influential cyberpunk writers included Bruce Sterling and Rudy Rucker.

Early films in the genre include Ridley Scotts 1982 film Blade Runner, one of several of Philip K. Dick’s works that have been adapted into films. The films Johnny Mnemonic[3] and New Rose Hotel,[4][5] both based upon short stories by William Gibson, flopped commercially and critically. More recent additions to this genre of filmmaking include the 2017 release of Blade Runner 2049, sequel to the original 1982 film, and the 2018 Netflix TV series Altered Carbon.

Lawrence Person has attempted to define the content and ethos of the cyberpunk literary movement stating:

Classic cyberpunk characters were marginalized, alienated loners who lived on the edge of society in generally dystopic futures where daily life was impacted by rapid technological change, an ubiquitous datasphere of computerized information, and invasive modification of the human body.

Cyberpunk plots often center on conflict among artificial intelligences, hackers, and megacorporations, and tend to be set in a near-future Earth, rather than in the far-future settings or galactic vistas found in novels such as Isaac Asimov’s Foundation or Frank Herbert’s Dune.[7] The settings are usually post-industrial dystopias but tend to feature extraordinary cultural ferment and the use of technology in ways never anticipated by its original inventors (“the street finds its own uses for things”).[8] Much of the genre’s atmosphere echoes film noir, and written works in the genre often use techniques from detective fiction.[9]

The origins of cyberpunk are rooted in the New Wave science fiction movement of the 1960s and 70s, where New Worlds, under the editorship of Michael Moorcock, began inviting and encouraging stories that examined new writing styles, techniques, and archetypes. Reacting to conventional storytelling, New Wave authors attempted to present a world where society coped with a constant upheaval of new technology and culture, generally with dystopian outcomes. Writers like Roger Zelazny, J.G. Ballard, Philip Jose Farmer, and Harlan Ellison often examined the impact of drug culture, technology, and the sexual revolution with an avant-garde style influenced by the Beat Generation (especially William S. Burroughs’ own SF), dadaism, and their own ideas.[10] Ballard attacked the idea that stories should follow the “archetypes” popular since the time of Ancient Greece, and the assumption that these would somehow be the same ones that would call to modern readers, as Joseph Campbell argued in The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Instead, Ballard wanted to write a new myth for the modern reader, a style with “more psycho-literary ideas, more meta-biological and meta-chemical concepts, private time systems, synthetic psychologies and space-times, more of the sombre half-worlds one glimpses in the paintings of schizophrenics.”[11]

This had a profound influence on a new generation of writers, some of whom would come to call their movement “Cyberpunk”. One, Bruce Sterling, later said:

Ballard, Zelazny, and the rest of New Wave was seen by the subsequent generation as delivering more “realism” to science fiction, and they attempted to build on this.

Similarly influential, and generally cited as proto-cyberpunk, is the Philip K. Dick novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, first published in 1968. Presenting precisely the general feeling of dystopian post-economic-apocalyptic future as Gibson and Sterling later deliver, it examines ethical and moral problems with cybernetic, artificial intelligence in a way more “realist” than the Isaac Asimov Robot series that laid its philosophical foundation. This novel was made into the seminal movie Blade Runner, released in 1982. This was one year after another story, “Johnny Mnemonic” helped move proto-cyberpunk concepts into the mainstream. This story, which also became a film years later, involves another dystopian future, where human couriers deliver computer data, stored cybernetically in their own minds.

In 1983 a short story written by Bruce Bethke, called Cyberpunk, was published in Amazing Stories. The term was picked up by Gardner Dozois, editor of Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine and popularized in his editorials. Bethke says he made two lists of words, one for technology, one for troublemakers, and experimented with combining them variously into compound words, consciously attempting to coin a term that encompassed both punk attitudes and high technology.

He described the idea thus:

Afterward, Dozois began using this term in his own writing, most notably in a Washington Post article where he said “About the closest thing here to a self-willed esthetic school would be the purveyors of bizarre hard-edged, high-tech stuff, who have on occasion been referred to as cyberpunks Sterling, Gibson, Shiner, Cadigan, Bear.”[14]

About that time, William Gibson’s novel Neuromancer was published, delivering a glimpse of a future encompassed by what became an archetype of cyberpunk “virtual reality”, with the human mind being fed light-based worldscapes through a computer interface. Some, perhaps ironically including Bethke himself, argued at the time that the writers whose style Gibson’s books epitomized should be called “Neuromantics”, a pun on the name of the novel plus “New Romantics”, a term used for a New Wave pop music movement that had just occurred in Britain, but this term did not catch on. Bethke later paraphrased Michael Swanwick’s argument for the term: “the movement writers should properly be termed neuromantics, since so much of what they were doing was clearly Imitation Neuromancer”.

Sterling was another writer who played a central role, often consciously, in the cyberpunk genre, variously seen as keeping it on track, or distorting its natural path into a stagnant formula.[15] In 1986 he edited a volume of cyberpunk stories called Mirrorshades: The Cyberpunk Anthology, an attempt to establish what cyberpunk was, from Sterling’s perspective.[16]

In the subsequent decade, the motifs of Gibson’s Neuromancer became formulaic, climaxing in the satirical extremes of Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash in 1992.

Bookending the Cyberpunk era, Bethke himself published a novel in 1995 called Headcrash: like Snow Crash a satirical attack on the genre’s excesses. It won the key cyberpunk honor named after its spiritual founder, the Philip K. Dick Award.

It satirized the genre in this way:

The impact of cyberpunk, though, has been long-lasting. Elements of both the setting and storytelling have become normal in science fiction in general, and a slew of sub-genres now have -punk tacked onto their names, most obviously Steampunk, but also a host of other Cyberpunk derivatives.

Primary figures in the cyberpunk movement include William Gibson, Neal Stephenson, Bruce Sterling, Bruce Bethke, Pat Cadigan, Rudy Rucker, and John Shirley. Philip K. Dick (author of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, from which the film Blade Runner was adapted) is also seen by some as prefiguring the movement[18]

Blade Runner can be seen as a quintessential example of the cyberpunk style and theme.[7] Video games, board games, and tabletop role-playing games, such as Cyberpunk 2020 and Shadowrun, often feature storylines that are heavily influenced by cyberpunk writing and movies. Beginning in the early 1990s, some trends in fashion and music were also labeled as cyberpunk. Cyberpunk is also featured prominently in anime and manga:[19] Akira, Gunnm, Ghost in the Shell, Cowboy Bebop, Serial Experiments Lain, Dennou Coil, Ergo Proxy and Psycho Pass being among the most notable.[19]

Cyberpunk writers tend to use elements from hardboiled detective fiction, film noir, and postmodernist prose to describe an often nihilistic underground side of an electronic society. The genre’s vision of a troubled future is often called the antithesis of the generally utopian visions of the future popular in the 1940s and 1950s. Gibson defined cyberpunk’s antipathy towards utopian SF in his 1981 short story “The Gernsback Continuum,” which pokes fun at and, to a certain extent, condemns utopian science fiction.[22][23][24]

In some cyberpunk writing, much of the action takes place online, in cyberspace, blurring the line between actual and virtual reality.[25] A typical trope in such work is a direct connection between the human brain and computer systems. Cyberpunk settings are dystopias with corruption, computers and internet connectivity. Giant, multinational corporations have for the most part replaced governments as centers of political, economic, and even military power.

The economic and technological state of Japan is a regular theme in the Cyberpunk literature of the ’80s. Of Japan’s influence on the genre, William Gibson said, “Modern Japan simply was cyberpunk.”[21] Cyberpunk is often set in urbanized, artificial landscapes, and “city lights, receding” was used by Gibson as one of the genre’s first metaphors for cyberspace and virtual reality.[26] The cityscapes of Hong Kong[27] and Shanghai[28] have had major influences in the urban backgrounds, ambiance and settings in many cyberpunk works such as Blade Runner and Shadowrun. Ridley Scott envisioned the landscape of cyberpunk Los Angeles in Blade Runner to be “Hong Kong on a very bad day”.[29] The streetscapes of Ghost in the Shell were based on Hong Kong. Its director Mamoru Oshii felt that Hong Kong’s strange and chaotic streets where “old and new exist in confusing relationships”, fit the theme of the film well.[27] Hong Kong’s Kowloon Walled City is particularly notable for its disorganized hyper-urbanization and breakdown in traditional urban planning to be an inspiration to cyberpunk landscapes.

One of the cyberpunk genre’s prototype characters is Case, from Gibson’s Neuromancer.[30] Case is a “console cowboy,” a brilliant hacker who has betrayed his organized criminal partners. Robbed of his talent through a crippling injury inflicted by the vengeful partners, Case unexpectedly receives a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be healed by expert medical care but only if he participates in another criminal enterprise with a new crew.

Like Case, many cyberpunk protagonists are manipulated, placed in situations where they have little or no choice, and although they might see things through, they do not necessarily come out any further ahead than they previously were. These anti-heroes”criminals, outcasts, visionaries, dissenters and misfits”[31]call to mind the private eye of detective fiction. This emphasis on the misfits and the malcontents is the “punk” component of cyberpunk.

Cyberpunk can be intended to disquiet readers and call them to action. It often expresses a sense of rebellion, suggesting that one could describe it as a type of culture revolution in science fiction. In the words of author and critic David Brin:

…a closer look [at cyberpunk authors] reveals that they nearly always portray future societies in which governments have become wimpy and pathetic …Popular science fiction tales by Gibson, Williams, Cadigan and others do depict Orwellian accumulations of power in the next century, but nearly always clutched in the secretive hands of a wealthy or corporate elite.[32]

Cyberpunk stories have also been seen as fictional forecasts of the evolution of the Internet. The earliest descriptions of a global communications network came long before the World Wide Web entered popular awareness, though not before traditional science-fiction writers such as Arthur C. Clarke and some social commentators such as James Burke began predicting that such networks would eventually form.[33]

Minnesota writer Bruce Bethke coined the term in 1980 for his short story “Cyberpunk,” which was published in the November 1983 issue of Amazing Science Fiction Stories.[34] The term was quickly appropriated as a label to be applied to the works of William Gibson, Bruce Sterling, Pat Cadigan and others. Of these, Sterling became the movement’s chief ideologue, thanks to his fanzine Cheap Truth. John Shirley wrote articles on Sterling and Rucker’s significance.[35] John Brunner’s 1975 novel The Shockwave Rider is considered by many[who?] to be the first cyberpunk novel with many of the tropes commonly associated with the genre, some five years before the term was popularized by Dozois.[36]

William Gibson with his novel Neuromancer (1984) is arguably the most famous writer connected with the term cyberpunk. He emphasized style, a fascination with surfaces, and atmosphere over traditional science-fiction tropes. Regarded as ground-breaking and sometimes as “the archetypal cyberpunk work,”[6] Neuromancer was awarded the Hugo, Nebula, and Philip K. Dick Awards. Count Zero (1986) and Mona Lisa Overdrive (1988) followed after Gibson’s popular debut novel. According to the Jargon File, “Gibson’s near-total ignorance of computers and the present-day hacker culture enabled him to speculate about the role of computers and hackers in the future in ways hackers have since found both irritatingly nave and tremendously stimulating.”[37]

Early on, cyberpunk was hailed as a radical departure from science-fiction standards and a new manifestation of vitality.[38] Shortly thereafter, however, some critics arose to challenge its status as a revolutionary movement. These critics said that the SF New Wave of the 1960s was much more innovative as far as narrative techniques and styles were concerned.[39] Furthermore, while Neuromancer’s narrator may have had an unusual “voice” for science fiction, much older examples can be found: Gibson’s narrative voice, for example, resembles that of an updated Raymond Chandler, as in his novel The Big Sleep (1939).[38] Others noted that almost all traits claimed to be uniquely cyberpunk could in fact be found in older writers’ worksoften citing J. G. Ballard, Philip K. Dick, Harlan Ellison, Stanisaw Lem, Samuel R. Delany, and even William S. Burroughs.[38] For example, Philip K. Dick’s works contain recurring themes of social decay, artificial intelligence, paranoia, and blurred lines between objective and subjective realities.[40] The influential cyberpunk movie Blade Runner (1982) is based on his book, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?.[41] Humans linked to machines are found in Pohl and Kornbluth’s Wolfbane (1959) and Roger Zelazny’s Creatures of Light and Darkness (1968).[citation needed]

In 1994, scholar Brian Stonehill suggested that Thomas Pynchon’s 1973 novel Gravity’s Rainbow “not only curses but precurses what we now glibly dub cyberspace.”[42] Other important predecessors include Alfred Bester’s two most celebrated novels, The Demolished Man and The Stars My Destination,[43] as well as Vernor Vinge’s novella True Names.[44]

Science-fiction writer David Brin describes cyberpunk as “the finest free promotion campaign ever waged on behalf of science fiction.” It may not have attracted the “real punks,” but it did ensnare many new readers, and it provided the sort of movement that postmodern literary critics found alluring. Cyberpunk made science fiction more attractive to academics, argues Brin; in addition, it made science fiction more profitable to Hollywood and to the visual arts generally. Although the “self-important rhetoric and whines of persecution” on the part of cyberpunk fans were irritating at worst and humorous at best, Brin declares that the “rebels did shake things up. We owe them a debt.”[45]

Fredric Jameson considers cyberpunk the “supreme literary expression if not of postmodernism, then of late capitalism itself”.[46]

Cyberpunk further inspired many professional writers who were not among the “original” cyberpunks to incorporate cyberpunk ideas into their own works,[citation needed] such as George Alec Effinger’s When Gravity Fails. Wired magazine, created by Louis Rossetto and Jane Metcalfe, mixes new technology, art, literature, and current topics in order to interest today’s cyberpunk fans, which Paula Yoo claims “proves that hardcore hackers, multimedia junkies, cyberpunks and cellular freaks are poised to take over the world.”[47]

The film Blade Runner (1982)adapted from Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?is set in 2019 in a dystopian future in which manufactured beings called replicants are slaves used on space colonies and are legal prey on Earth to various bounty hunters who “retire” (kill) them. Although Blade Runner was largely unsuccessful in its first theatrical release, it found a viewership in the home video market and became a cult film.[48] Since the movie omits the religious and mythical elements of Dick’s original novel (e.g. empathy boxes and Wilbur Mercer), it falls more strictly within the cyberpunk genre than the novel does. William Gibson would later reveal that upon first viewing the film, he was surprised at how the look of this film matched his vision when he was working on Neuromancer. The film’s tone has since been the staple of many cyberpunk movies, such as The Matrix trilogy (1999-2003), which uses a wide variety of cyberpunk elements.

The number of films in the genre or at least using a few genre elements has grown steadily since Blade Runner. Several of Philip K. Dick’s works have been adapted to the silver screen. The films Johnny Mnemonic[3] and New Rose Hotel,[4][5] both based upon short stories by William Gibson, flopped commercially and critically. These box offices misses significantly slowed the development of cyberpunk as a literary or cultural form although a sequel to the 1982 film Blade Runner was released in October 2017 with Harrison Ford reprising his role from the original film.

In addition, “tech-noir” film as a hybrid genre, means a work of combining neo-noir and science fiction or cyberpunk. It includes many cyberpunk films such as Blade Runner, Burst City,[49] Robocop, 12 Monkeys, The Lawnmower Man, Hackers, Hardware, and Strange Days.

Cyberpunk themes are widely visible in anime and manga. In Japan, where cosplay is popular and not only teenagers display such fashion styles, cyberpunk has been accepted and its influence is widespread. William Gibson’s Neuromancer, whose influence dominated the early cyberpunk movement, was also set in Chiba, one of Japan’s largest industrial areas, although at the time of writing the novel Gibson did not know the location of Chiba and had no idea how perfectly it fit his vision in some ways. The exposure to cyberpunk ideas and fiction in the mid 1980s has allowed it to seep into the Japanese culture.

Cyberpunk anime and manga draw upon a futuristic vision which has elements in common with western science fiction and therefore have received wide international acceptance outside Japan. “The conceptualization involved in cyberpunk is more of forging ahead, looking at the new global culture. It is a culture that does not exist right now, so the Japanese concept of a cyberpunk future, seems just as valid as a Western one, especially as Western cyberpunk often incorporates many Japanese elements.”[50] William Gibson is now a frequent visitor to Japan, and he came to see that many of his visions of Japan have become a reality:

Modern Japan simply was cyberpunk. The Japanese themselves knew it and delighted in it. I remember my first glimpse of Shibuya, when one of the young Tokyo journalists who had taken me there, his face drenched with the light of a thousand media-sunsall that towering, animated crawl of commercial informationsaid, “You see? You see? It is Blade Runner town.” And it was. It so evidently was.[21]

Cyberpunk has influenced many anime and manga including the ground-breaking Akira, Appleseed, Ghost in the Shell, Ergo Proxy, Battle Angel Alita, Megazone 23, Neo Tokyo, Goku Midnight Eye, Cyber City Oedo 808, Bubblegum Crisis, A.D. Police: Dead End City, Angel Cop, Extra, Blame!, Armitage III, Texhnolyze, Serial Experiments Lain, Neon Genesis Evangelion and Psycho-Pass.

There are many cyberpunk video games. Popular series include the Megami Tensei series, Deus Ex series, Syndicate series, and System Shock and its sequel. Other games, like Blade Runner, Ghost in the Shell, and the Matrix series, are based upon genre movies, or role-playing games (for instance the various Shadowrun games).

Several RPGs called Cyberpunk exist: Cyberpunk, Cyberpunk 2020 and Cyberpunk v3, by R. Talsorian Games, and GURPS Cyberpunk, published by Steve Jackson Games as a module of the GURPS family of RPGs. Cyberpunk 2020 was designed with the settings of William Gibson’s writings in mind, and to some extent with his approval[citation needed], unlike the approach taken by FASA in producing the transgenre Shadowrun game. Both are set in the near future, in a world where cybernetics are prominent. In addition, Iron Crown Enterprises released an RPG named Cyberspace, which was out of print for several years until recently being re-released in online PDF form. CD Projekt Red is currently developing Cyberpunk 2077, a cyberpunk first-person open world RPG video-game based on the tabletop RPG Cyberpunk 2020[51][52][53]. At E3 2017, developer Oddtales unveiled “The Last Night”, a game set in a cyberpunk world where AI has taken over labour and humans are living in an “era of leisure”.[54]

In 1990, in a convergence of cyberpunk art and reality, the United States Secret Service raided Steve Jackson Games’s headquarters and confiscated all their computers. Officials denied that the target had been the GURPS Cyberpunk sourcebook, but Jackson would later write that he and his colleagues “were never able to secure the return of the complete manuscript; […] The Secret Service at first flatly refused to return anything then agreed to let us copy files, but when we got to their office, restricted us to one set of out-of-date files then agreed to make copies for us, but said “tomorrow” every day from March 4 to March 26. On March 26 we received a set of disks which purported to be our files, but the material was late, incomplete and well-nigh useless.”[55] Steve Jackson Games won a lawsuit against the Secret Service, aided by the new Electronic Frontier Foundation. This event has achieved a sort of notoriety, which has extended to the book itself as well. All published editions of GURPS Cyberpunk have a tagline on the front cover, which reads “The book that was seized by the U.S. Secret Service!” Inside, the book provides a summary of the raid and its aftermath.

Cyberpunk has also inspired several tabletop, miniature and board games such as Necromunda by Games Workshop. Netrunner is a collectible card game introduced in 1996, based on the Cyberpunk 2020 role-playing game. Tokyo NOVA, debuting in 1993, is a cyberpunk role-playing game that uses playing cards instead of dice.

Julie Romandetta[56]

Some musicians and acts have been classified as cyberpunk due to their aesthetic style and musical content. Often dealing with dystopian visions of the future or biomechanical themes, some fit more squarely in the category than others. Bands whose music has been classified as cyberpunk include Psydoll, Front Line Assembly, Clock DVA and Sigue Sigue Sputnik. Some musicians not normally associated with cyberpunk have at times been inspired to create concept albums exploring such themes. Albums such as Gary Numan’s Replicas, The Pleasure Principle and Telekon were heavily inspired by the works of Philip K. Dick. Kraftwerk’s The Man-Machine and Computer World albums both explored the theme of humanity becoming dependent on technology. Nine Inch Nails’ concept album Year Zero also fits into this category. Fear Factory concept albums are heavily based upon future dystopia, cybernetics, clash between man and machines, virtual worlds. Billy Idol’s Cyberpunk drew heavily from cyberpunk literature and the cyberdelic counter culture in its creation. 1. Outside, a cyberpunk narrative fueled concept album by David Bowie, was warmly met by critics upon its release in 1995. Many musicians have also taken inspiration from specific cyberpunk works or authors, including Sonic Youth, whose albums Sister and Daydream Nation take influence from the works of Philip K. Dick and William Gibson respectively.

Vaporwave and Synthwave are also influenced by cyberpunk. The former has been interpreted as a dystopian[57] critique of capitalism[58] in the vein of cyberpunk and the latter as a nostalgic retrofuturistic revival of aspects of cyberpunk’s origins.

Some Neo-Futurism artworks and cityscapes have been influenced by cyberpunk, such as[21] the Sony Center in the Potsdamer Platz public square of Berlin, Germany.[59]

Several subcultures have been inspired by cyberpunk fiction. These include the cyberdelic counter culture of the late 1980s and early 90s. Cyberdelic, whose adherents referred to themselves as “cyberpunks”, attempted to blend the psychedelic art and drug movement with the technology of cyberculture. Early adherents included Timothy Leary, Mark Frauenfelder and R. U. Sirius. The movement largely faded following the dot-com bubble implosion of 2000.

Cybergoth is a fashion and dance subculture which draws its inspiration from cyberpunk fiction, as well as rave and Gothic subcultures. In addition, a distinct cyberpunk fashion of its own has emerged in recent years[when?] which rejects the raver and goth influences of cybergoth, and draws inspiration from urban street fashion, “post apocalypse”, functional clothing, high tech sports wear, tactical uniform and multifunction. This fashion goes by names like “tech wear”, “goth ninja” or “tech ninja”. Important designers in this type of fashion[according to whom?] are ACRONYM, Demobaza,[60] Boris Bidjan Saberi, Rick Owens and Alexander Wang.

The Kowloon Walled City in Hong Kong (demolished in 1994) is often referenced as the model cyberpunk/dystopian slum as, given its poor living conditions at the time coupled with the city’s political, physical, and economic isolation has caused many in academia to be fascinated by the ingenuity of its spawning.[61]

As a wider variety of writers began to work with cyberpunk concepts, new subgenres of science fiction emerged, some of which could be considered as playing off the cyberpunk label, others which could be considered as legitimate explorations into newer territory. These focused on technology and its social effects in different ways. One prominent subgenre is “steampunk,” which is set in an alternate history Victorian era that combines anachronistic technology with cyberpunk’s bleak film noir world view. The term was originally coined around 1987 as a joke to describe some of the novels of Tim Powers, James P. Blaylock, and K.W. Jeter, but by the time Gibson and Sterling entered the subgenre with their collaborative novel The Difference Engine the term was being used earnestly as well.[62]

Another subgenre is “biopunk” (cyberpunk themes dominated by biotechnology) from the early 1990s, a derivative style building on biotechnology rather than informational technology. In these stories, people are changed in some way not by mechanical means, but by genetic manipulation. Paul Di Filippo is seen as the most prominent biopunk writer, including his half-serious ribofunk. Bruce Sterling’s Shaper/Mechanist cycle is also seen as a major influence. In addition, some people consider works such as Neal Stephenson’s The Diamond Age to be postcyberpunk.

Cyberpunk works have been described as well-situated within postmodern literature.[63]

Role playing game publisher R. Talsorian Games, owner of the Cyberpunk 2020 franchise, trademarked the word “Cyberpunk” in the United States in 2012.[64] Video game developer CD Projekt, which is developing Cyberpunk 2077, bought the U.S. trademark from R. Talsorian Games, and has filed a trademark in the European Union.[65][66]

Read this article:

Cyberpunk – Wikipedia

Cyberpunk 2020 – Wikipedia

Cyberpunk, mainly known by its second edition title Cyberpunk 2020, is a cyberpunk role-playing game written by Mike Pondsmith and published by R. Talsorian Games in 1988. Because of the release in 1990 of the second edition, set in a fictional 2020, the first edition is often now referred to as Cyberpunk 2013, following the fictional year, 2013, in which the game was set when it was first released in 1988. The third edition, published by R. Talsorian Games in 2005, is referred to as Cyberpunk V3.0 and is set further along the same fictional timeline as the former editions, during the 2030s.

This role-playing game is inspired by the novel Hardwired by Walter Jon Williams, who helped playtest the game. Hardwired, in turn, was written as a homage to Roger Zelazny’s Damnation Alley. The game includes a number of elements now associated with the 1980s,[citation needed] such as the idea of style over substance and glam rock.

The game tends to emphasize some aspects of the source material more than others. Much of the focus of the game is paid to combat, high-tech weaponry and cybernetic modification; however, performance-enhancing and recreational drug use is either played down or discouraged. Although artificial intelligence, genetic engineering, and cloning are barely mentioned in the core rulebook they are reintroduced in later add-ons such as the chromebook manuals.

The range of characters players can adopt is diverse, ranging from hardwired mercenaries with psycholinked weapons and boosted reflexes, to Armani-wearing corporate mega-yuppies who make and break national economies with the stroke of a pen.

Cyberpunk 2020 is the second edition of the original game, Cyberpunk 2013, often just called “Cyberpunk.” It was originally published as a boxed set in 1988, and R. Talsorian released a few supplements for this edition, including Rockerboy, Solo of Fortune, and Hardwired, the latter based on the Walter Jon Williams novel of the same name. Another supplement was Near Orbit (made obsolete by Deep Space in Cyberpunk 2020)

The second edition featured rules updates and changes, and additionally moved the timeline forward by 7 years, to 2020. The game’s timeline was also retconned to accommodate the German reunification in 1990.

The basic rules system of Cyberpunk 2020 (called the Interlock System) is skill-based instead of level-based, with players being awarded points to be spent on their skill sets. New skills outside their expertise can be learned but in-game time needs to be spent on this. A large part of the system is the player characters’ ability to augment themselves with cyber-technology and the ensuing loss of humanity as they become more machine than man.

Cyberpunk 2020 claims to lend itself to play in the street level, dark film noir genre, but certain aspects of the basic system can influence game sessions toward a high body-count, 1980s action movie style.

Although each player must choose a character class or “role” from those given in the basic rules, there is enough variation in the skill system so that no two members of the same class are alike. Because Cyberpunk 2020 is skill-based, the choice of skills around the class-specific special ability allows a wide range of character development choices including non-combatants.

The combat system, called “Friday Night Firefight”, emphasizes lethality. Several pages in the rules are devoted to discussing real combat vs. the illusions often seen on TV. Attempts are made to keep the combat as realistic as possible in a game setting. No matter who the character is, a single bullet can result in a lethal wound. This encourages a more tactically oriented and thought-out game play, which is in accordance to the rough-and-gritty ethos of the Cyberpunk genre. Also, the amount of damage a character can sustain does not increase as the character develops. The only way a character can become more damage resistant is to either become better at not being hit, physically augment their body with muscle (trained or implanted) or cybernetics, or wear armor.

Cyberpunk 2020, as the name implies, takes place in the year 2020. The game’s default setting is the fictional Night City, a city of five million people on the west coast of the United States located between Los Angeles and San Francisco. It is described as being near San Jose but the map puts it closer to Monterey. Later supplements to the game have contained information about the rest of the US and the world.

Following a vast socio-economical collapse and a period of martial law, the United States government has had to rely on several megacorporations to survive. This has given them a veritable carte blanche to operate as they will.

The Cyberpunk 2020 equivalent of character classes are roles, of which the main rulebook contains 9, and later supplements have expanded the number considerably. Each role has a special ability which gives a character a unique edge.

The game’s backstory had a series of powerful characters that influenced the world of Cyberpunk.

Firestorm was supposed to be the bridge between Cyberpunk 2020 (the 2nd edition rules and milieu) and Cyberpunk V.3 (the 3rd Edition rules and milieu). Its purpose was to shake up everything and get players prepared for the new background they were cooking up.

Set in 2023, the backstory has two deep-ocean-based megacorporations dueling for control over a third one (the period known as the “Ocean War”). When it escalates into open warfare, they each hire mercenaries. One hires the Japanese diversified technology and security services firm Arasaka and the other hires the American military technology and mercenary services firm Militech.

During the conflict, the long-standing bitter rivalry between Arasaka and Militech causes them to forget about their customers and go for each other. In the beginning they feud quietly (the phase called the “Shadow War”). But the covert war between the two heats up, becoming the Fourth Corporate War.

In the course of the adventure setting, the characters are hired to hunt down a pesky netrunner who is making their anonymous employer unhappy. Little do they realize that the hacker is the infamous (and already “dead”) Rache Bartmoss. Regardless of what they do, their employer pinpoints the apartment with an orbital mass-driver and vaporizes it.

Set in 2024, the second part of the Firestorm series sees Arasaka mobilize the Japanese Defense Force to take on Militech and the American military in a series of “proxy conflicts” (the phase dubbed the “Hot War”).

Waves of cyberviruses corrupt databases worldwide, leaving the isolated Arasaka Towers arcology in Night City the last viable data storage mainframe in the world.

Militech gathers together the surviving meta-characters and a Special Forces team played by the player characters into a “super team”. Their job: to take out Arasaka’s Night City arcology with a tactical nuke to deny its assets to Arasaka.

Then they find out that Alt Cunningham, who was captured by Arasaka earlier, is trapped inside the mainframe. Of course, Johnny won’t let Alt die a second time, so the team tries to break her out.

The end result is that the meta-characters go out in a blaze of glory. Johnny Silverhand dies at the hands of Arasaka’s cyborg assassin Adam Smasher in order to buy Spider Murphy enough time to break Alt into a series of datapackets and downloads her into the Net. Morgan Blackhand then takes on Adam Smasher atop Arasaka Towers while the rest of the team gets extracted out. The outcome of the duel is greatly disputed because the low-yield tactical nuke the team deployed sets off the 2-kiloton “self destruct” bomb Arasaka had placed in its data core. This destroyed much of downtown Night City and contaminated the ruins and anything downwind of it with lethal fallout.

The long-awaited third volume, Aftershock promised to tie all the loose ends together and herald the end of the old Cyberpunk 2020 (or “Cyberpunk V.2”) game world and usher in the beginning of the new Cyberpunk 2030 (or “Cyberpunk V.3”) game world. It was later cancelled and its material was folded into the Cyberpunk 203X rules book.

Cybergeneration takes place in an alternate future of the core Cyberpunk 2020 timeline, where a nanotech virus epidemic has resulted in a subgroup of teenagers with unusual, superhuman skills. It began as a supplement that still required the Cyberpunk 2020 rulebook, but the second edition became a standalone game.

Ever since the 1998 release of the Cyberpunk 2020 sourcebook Firestorm: Shockwave, fans of the game had been waiting for a third edition of the Cyberpunk game, known as Cyberpunk 203X. Over the years, the entire project had at times been discounted as vaporware, its delays due to other projects and Pondsmith’s involvement in the development of The Matrix Online.[citation needed]

The game was released first in PDF form on December 17, 2005 and as a conventional book on January 15, 2006.

The setting has been heavily updated from its last event book series, Firestorm, which covered the opening of the Fourth Corporate War. The aftermath of the Fourth Corporate War has resulted in widespread corruption of the Net and major losses of hardcopied data, to the point that all data is intangible and recent recorded history is in doubt. An example that pops up in Pondsmith’s demos at conventions, releases on the Internet, and in the finished game is that history has become so corrupted that many people in the world now believe Richard Nixon, instead of resigning over Watergate, committed suicide on camera and that memes such as the moon landing being hoaxed become prevalent.

The war has also led to the collapse of nations, the world economy, and many of the staple megacorporations. This civil upheaval leads to the rise of the “altcults”, alternative cultures similar in vein to the “phyles” from Neal Stephenson’s The Diamond Age. In fact, Cyberpunk V.3 has more to do with the new postcyberpunk literary movement and transhumanism than with the Gibson-Sterling mirrorshades movement.

In addition to rules changes to the Fuzion system and background, Cyberpunk V.3 also uses concepts taken from Pondsmith’s experience at Microsoft with computer and video games as well as corporate culture, such as a simpler character generation system using templates, web-based active content URL links for updates, and making groups, organizations, and corporations their own “characters”.

In addition, there is also the Fallen Angels, space-bound scavengers, the Ghosts, people who have uploaded their minds, and the Neo-Corps, the surviving corporations of the Cyberpunk 2020 world that are now organized in the form of organized crime syndicates. However, the six listed above are the only ones that have been mentioned in deep detail.

Two Cyberpunk 2020 novels have been published, both written by Stephen Billias:

Two different, independent collectible card games have been licensed and produced based on the Cyberpunk setting. The first, called Netrunner, was designed by Richard Garfield, and released by Wizards of the Coast in 1996 (the game has since been re-released as Android:_Netrunner but is no longer associated with the fictional Cyberpunk universe). The second was called Cyberpunk CCG, released in 2003, designed by Peter Wacks and published by Social Games.

Cyberpunk was ranked 10th in the 1996 reader poll of Arcane magazine to determine the 50 most popular roleplaying games of all time. The UK magazine’s editor Paul Pettengale commented: “Cyberpunk was the first of the ‘straight’ cyberpunk RPGs, and is still the best. The difference between cyberpunk and other sci-fi is a matter of style and attitude. Everything about the Cyberpunk game, from the background to the rules system, is designed to create this vital atmosphere. Cyberpunk is set in an unforgiving world where betrayal and double-crosses are common, trust is hard to find and paranoia is a useful survival trait.”[4]

Read more:

Cyberpunk 2020 – Wikipedia

Everything we know about Cyberpunk 2077 – PC Gamer

Cyberpunk 2077 was announced all the way back in 2012, but with The Witcher 3, its expansions, and Gwent at the top of the order back then, we only heard scraps about CD Projekt REDs next open world RPG. All combined, though, the past six years of interview snippets paint Cyberpunk 2077 as a behemoth of a game, even bigger that The Witcher 3 and with possible multiplayer features on top of hundreds of hours of single-player roleplaying. And, as we’ve learned, first-person shooting.

The time has finally come for Cyberpunk to take the spotlight, beginning with a big cinematic trailer revealed at E3 2018 (scroll down a bit for that). We’ll be updating this post with new details throughout E3 and beyond.

CD Projekt has mostly stuck with the “when its done” line, but we know that it plans to release Cyberpunk 2077 between 2017 and 2021, along with another, still unannounced RPG. Weve been hearing about Cyberpunk since 2012, so the expectation is that itll be the first of the two to release. Our guess, then, is that Cyberpunk 2077 will release in 2019.

This is backed up by comments from a March 2017 financial results conference during which CD Projekt developers said that progress on Cyberpunk is “quite advanced.” That said, the “when it’s done” motto is something CD Projekt is serious about (recall it delaying The Witcher 3). If it isn’t ready in 2019, it could be 2020, or 2021. We’d be really surprised if it released this year, but anything’s possible.

It’s more playful than we expected, but also just as violent as we expected.

Yes, so long as you understand ‘FPS’ literally: first-person shooter. Cyberpunk 2077 is an RPG, as CD Projekt has been saying, but it is an RPG played from a first-person perspective with guns. There’s cover, there’s sliding, there’s wall-runninglots of things we associate with, say, Titanfall 2. So while it’s a big open world RPG with stats and dialogue, it’s an FPS, too.

You will have a third-person view in vehicles and cutscenes, but other than that, this is a first-person game. That’s a surprise!

Yep. You can play as a woman or a man, and also customize your look a bit, such as by choosing a hairstyle, tattoos, makeup, and clothing. There are also stats: strength, constitution, intelligence, reflexes, tech, and “cool,” which as we understand it from the tabletop game is how you perform under pressure.

This is another departure from The Witcher seriesof course, those games were based on books, while this is based on a tabletop roleplaying game with its own rules and ideas.

However you customize your character, you’re still one specific person: V. Not ‘Vee.’ Just V. You’re a mercenary, and that’s most of what we know so far.

While guns seem to be your primary weapons, we saw lots of cool abilities in the E3 gameplay demonstration we saw.

It shouldn’t come as a big surprise that a giant open world shooter-RPG has cars. You can indeed drive in Cyberpunk 2077, from either a first or third-person perspective. There’s vehicular combat, tooin the demonstration we saw, the player leaned out a window to shoot.

We haven’t. But we did get to see a jam-packed gameplay demonstration at E3. The footage hasn’t been made public yet, but you can read all about it here.

Back in September 2016, we learned that CD Projekt applied for grants which suggest Cyberpunk 2077 could feature a huge living city and seamless multiplayer.

Thats backed up by this story from 2015, in which we learn that Cyberpunk 2077 will be far bigger than anything else that CD Projekt Red has done before, including The Witcher 3. So, if we take CD Projekt RED at its word, Cyberpunk 2077 will be exceptionally large and, hopefully, full of sidequests.

We first heard about multiplayer features back in 2013, but CD Projekt RED clearly knew the word could agitate its fans. “It will be a story-based RPG experience with amazing single-player playthroughs,” reassured managing director Adam Badowski in a 2013 talk with Eurogamer, “but we’re going to add multiplayer features.”

In 2017, CD Projekt CEO Adam Kiciski said that the multiplayer features would ensure Cyberpunk’s “long-term success,” which caused some concerns given the current kerfuffle over microtransactions, especially with Star Wars Battlefront 2’s loot box progression system going over so poorly.

CD Projekt responded to the concerns with a tweet meant to reassure fans that they’ll still be getting a Witcher 3-style singleplayer epic. “Worry not,” it said. “When thinking CP2077, think nothing less than TW3huge single player, open world, story-driven RPG. No hidden catch, you get what you pay forno bullshit, just honest gaming like with Wild Hunt. We leave greed to others.”

As of March of this year, they still weren’t keen to talk much about it.

No. The E3 2018 trailer contains a little Easter egg which confirms that there will be no microtransactions in Cyberpunk 2077. (Enlarge the image and read the red text, in which CD Projekt responds to the question: “In a single player role-playing game? Are you nuts?”)

The cover of the Night City sourcebook. Click here to enlarge.

Cyberpunk 2077 takes place in the year 2077which you probably didnt need us to tell youin the sandbox environment of Night City, a fictional city between San Francisco and LA (as described here, although if it’s really in Del Coronado Bay it would be well south of LA) that already exists in the Cyberpunk pen and paper RPG created by Mike Pondsmith. Heres an except from the Night City sourcebook, describing Night City as it exists in Cyberpunk 2020:

“A planned urban community founded in 1994 by the late entrepreneur Richard Alix Night (1954 – 1998). Established at the head of the Del Coronado Bay (dredged to current capacity in 1999), and facing the Pacific Ocean to the west, Night City is a modern city of the twenty-first century. Its wide streets and ultra-modern towers are home to over a million people, with another four-and-a-half million living in the greater Night City areas of Westbrook, North Oak, Heywood, Pacifica, South Night City and Rancho Coronado.

An exciting and vibrant place to live, Night City is even more fun to visit; world famous for its slogan “The City on the Edge of Tomorrow,” the area hosts almost nine million tourists, conventioneers and corporate travellers every year. A planned community with an advanced rapid transit system, its own Net LDL, and a Corporate Center boasting representatives from over a dozen of the world’s most powerful megacorps, Night City is a shining example of Technology Triumphant over the Trouble of the Past.”

Thats an optimistic description, of course, leaving out the mucky, nasty parts of Night City, as Pondsmith puts it in the video above. Punks and corporate stooges of all varieties wander these foggy, once Mob-ruled streets, and by 2023, corporations are openly warring for them. Cyberpunk 2077 will show us what happened to the city in the aftermath of that war.

People have wondered whats going to happen, there are clues and hintsif we told you more wed have to kill you, as usual, said Pondsmith during Cyberpunk 2077s reveal in 2012, which you can watch below. One of them is a big hint I left for everybody at the end of the fourth Corporate War, when I dropped a small pocket tactical nuke in the middle of the Arasaka Towers, and that left kind of a really large real estate space that were gonna be playing around with.

The event hes referring to happened in 2024 on the Cyberpunk timeline, which means we step into Night City a little over 50 years after part of the downtown was destroyed and, presumably, rebuilt.

The announcement video doesnt reveal much more, except that CD Projekt RED and Pondsmith are using Cyberpunks pen and paper combat systemthough exactly how thatll be implemented is unclearand inventing new weapons and technology for the year 2077.

In a 2017 interview with Rock Paper Shotgun, Pondsmith said that the CD Projekt developers “get it,” which is why he’s happy to work with them on the game, and explained a little about his approach to cyberpunk themes.

We expect to hear more as 2019 approaches, so drop by our hub of all things Cyberpunk anytime you’re curious about the latest updates. There’s also a newsletter signup on the official site.

Continued here:

Everything we know about Cyberpunk 2077 – PC Gamer

Cyberpunk 2077: Full details from 50-minute gameplay demo …

YouTube/Cyberpunk 2077 “Cyberpunk 2077,” from CD Projekt Red, is one of the most anticipated video games in the world right now.

Fans finally got to see the latest trailer for “Cyberpunk 2077” at Microsoft’s E3 press conference on Sunday after a 5-year wait since the last trailer and it was one of the highlights of the whole multi-day expo.

But unless you were physically in Los Angeles and attending E3, you didn’t get to witness CD Projekt Red’s apparently jaw-dropping 50-minute uncut gameplay demo of “Cyberpunk 2077” that was held behind closed doors and away from cameras. According to those who were there, the demo revealed several major aspects of the mysterious game and journalists from Eurogamer, Gamespot, and other outlets were there to take notes on what they saw. Here, we’ve gathered the most important details from those reports.

Here’s what we learned from the “Cyberpunk 2077” gameplay demo held at E3 behind closed doors:

Go here to see the original:

Cyberpunk 2077: Full details from 50-minute gameplay demo …

Cyberpunk – High Tech, Low Life. r/Cyberpunk – reddit

What is cyberpunk?

A genre of science fiction and a lawless subculture in an oppressive society dominated by computer technology and big corporations. Hmmm…It feels like the world we live in today.

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Cyberpunk – High Tech, Low Life. r/Cyberpunk – reddit

Cyberpunk 2077 Cinematic Trailer – YouTube

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Cyberpunk – Wikipedia

Cyberpunk is a subgenre of science fiction in a futuristic setting that tends to focus on a “combination of lowlife and high tech”[1] featuring advanced technological and scientific achievements, such as artificial intelligence and cybernetics, juxtaposed with a degree of breakdown or radical change in the social order.[2]

Much of cyberpunk is rooted in the New Wave science fiction movement of the 1960s and 70s, when writers like Philip K. Dick, Roger Zelazny, J. G. Ballard, Philip Jose Farmer, and Harlan Ellison examined the impact of drug culture, technology, and the sexual revolution while avoiding the utopian tendencies of earlier science fiction. Released in 1984, William Gibsons influential debut novel Neuromancer would help solidify cyberpunk as a genre, drawing influence from punk subculture and early hacker culture. Other influential cyberpunk writers included Bruce Sterling and Rudy Rucker.

Early films in the genre include Ridley Scotts 1982 film Blade Runner, one of several of Philip K. Dick’s works that have been adapted into films. The films Johnny Mnemonic[3] and New Rose Hotel,[4][5] both based upon short stories by William Gibson, flopped commercially and critically. More recent additions to this genre of filmmaking include the 2013 film Snowpiercer, the 2017 release of Blade Runner 2049, the sequel to the original 1982 film, and the 2018 Netflix TV series Altered Carbon.

Lawrence Person has attempted to define the content and ethos of the cyberpunk literary movement stating:

Classic cyberpunk characters were marginalized, alienated loners who lived on the edge of society in generally dystopic futures where daily life was impacted by rapid technological change, an ubiquitous datasphere of computerized information, and invasive modification of the human body.

Cyberpunk plots often center on conflict among artificial intelligences, hackers, and megacorporations, and tend to be set in a near-future Earth, rather than in the far-future settings or galactic vistas found in novels such as Isaac Asimov’s Foundation or Frank Herbert’s Dune.[7] The settings are usually post-industrial dystopias but tend to feature extraordinary cultural ferment and the use of technology in ways never anticipated by its original inventors (“the street finds its own uses for things”).[8] Much of the genre’s atmosphere echoes film noir, and written works in the genre often use techniques from detective fiction.[9]

The origins of cyberpunk are rooted in the New Wave science fiction movement of the 1960s and 70s, where New Worlds, under the editorship of Michael Moorcock, began inviting and encouraging stories that examined new writing styles, techniques, and archetypes. Reacting to conventional storytelling, New Wave authors attempted to present a world where society coped with a constant upheaval of new technology and culture, generally with dystopian outcomes. Writers like Roger Zelazny, J.G. Ballard, Philip Jose Farmer, and Harlan Ellison often examined the impact of drug culture, technology, and the sexual revolution with an avant-garde style influenced by the Beat Generation (especially William S. Burroughs’ own SF), dadaism, and their own ideas.[10] Ballard attacked the idea that stories should follow the “archetypes” popular since the time of Ancient Greece, and the assumption that these would somehow be the same ones that would call to modern readers, as Joseph Campbell argued in The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Instead, Ballard wanted to write a new myth for the modern reader, a style with “more psycho-literary ideas, more meta-biological and meta-chemical concepts, private time systems, synthetic psychologies and space-times, more of the sombre half-worlds one glimpses in the paintings of schizophrenics.”[11]

This had a profound influence on a new generation of writers, some of whom would come to call their movement “Cyberpunk”. One, Bruce Sterling, later said:

Ballard, Zelazny, and the rest of New Wave was seen by the subsequent generation as delivering more “realism” to science fiction, and they attempted to build on this.

Similarly influential, and generally cited as proto-cyberpunk, is the Philip K. Dick novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, first published in 1968. Presenting precisely the general feeling of dystopian post-economic-apocalyptic future as Gibson and Sterling later deliver, it examines ethical and moral problems with cybernetic, artificial intelligence in a way more “realist” than the Isaac Asimov Robot series that laid its philosophical foundation. This novel was made into the seminal movie Blade Runner, released in 1982. This was one year after another story, “Johnny Mnemonic” helped move proto-cyberpunk concepts into the mainstream. This story, which also became a film years later, involves another dystopian future, where human couriers deliver computer data, stored cybernetically in their own minds.

In 1983 a short story written by Bruce Bethke, called Cyberpunk, was published in Amazing Stories. The term was picked up by Gardner Dozois, editor of Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine and popularized in his editorials. Bethke says he made two lists of words, one for technology, one for troublemakers, and experimented with combining them variously into compound words, consciously attempting to coin a term that encompassed both punk attitudes and high technology.

He described the idea thus:

Afterward, Dozois began using this term in his own writing, most notably in a Washington Post article where he said “About the closest thing here to a self-willed esthetic school would be the purveyors of bizarre hard-edged, high-tech stuff, who have on occasion been referred to as cyberpunks Sterling, Gibson, Shiner, Cadigan, Bear.”[14]

About that time, William Gibson’s novel Neuromancer was published, delivering a glimpse of a future encompassed by what became an archetype of cyberpunk “virtual reality”, with the human mind being fed light-based worldscapes through a computer interface. Some, perhaps ironically including Bethke himself, argued at the time that the writers whose style Gibson’s books epitomized should be called “Neuromantics”, a pun on the name of the novel plus “New Romantics”, a term used for a New Wave pop music movement that had just occurred in Britain, but this term did not catch on. Bethke later paraphrased Michael Swanwick’s argument for the term: “the movement writers should properly be termed neuromantics, since so much of what they were doing was clearly Imitation Neuromancer”.

Sterling was another writer who played a central role, often consciously, in the cyberpunk genre, variously seen as keeping it on track, or distorting its natural path into a stagnant formula.[15] In 1986 he edited a volume of cyberpunk stories called Mirrorshades: The Cyberpunk Anthology, an attempt to establish what cyberpunk was, from Sterling’s perspective.[16]

In the subsequent decade, the motifs of Gibson’s Neuromancer became formulaic, climaxing in the satirical extremes of Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash in 1992.

Bookending the Cyberpunk era, Bethke himself published a novel in 1995 called Headcrash: like Snow Crash a satirical attack on the genre’s excesses. It won the key cyberpunk honor named after its spiritual founder, the Philip K. Dick Award.

It satirized the genre in this way:

The impact of cyberpunk, though, has been long-lasting. Elements of both the setting and storytelling have become normal in science fiction in general, and a slew of sub-genres now have -punk tacked onto their names, most obviously Steampunk, but also a host of other Cyberpunk derivatives.

Primary figures in the cyberpunk movement include William Gibson, Neal Stephenson, Bruce Sterling, Bruce Bethke, Pat Cadigan, Rudy Rucker, and John Shirley. Philip K. Dick (author of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, from which the film Blade Runner was adapted) is also seen by some as prefiguring the movement[18]

Blade Runner can be seen as a quintessential example of the cyberpunk style and theme.[7] Video games, board games, and tabletop role-playing games, such as Cyberpunk 2020 and Shadowrun, often feature storylines that are heavily influenced by cyberpunk writing and movies. Beginning in the early 1990s, some trends in fashion and music were also labeled as cyberpunk. Cyberpunk is also featured prominently in anime and manga:[19] Akira, Gunnm, Ghost in the Shell, Cowboy Bebop, Serial Experiments Lain, Dennou Coil, Ergo Proxy and Psycho Pass being among the most notable.[19]

Cyberpunk writers tend to use elements from hardboiled detective fiction, film noir, and postmodernist prose to describe an often nihilistic underground side of an electronic society. The genre’s vision of a troubled future is often called the antithesis of the generally utopian visions of the future popular in the 1940s and 1950s. Gibson defined cyberpunk’s antipathy towards utopian SF in his 1981 short story “The Gernsback Continuum,” which pokes fun at and, to a certain extent, condemns utopian science fiction.[22][23][24]

In some cyberpunk writing, much of the action takes place online, in cyberspace, blurring the line between actual and virtual reality.[25] A typical trope in such work is a direct connection between the human brain and computer systems. Cyberpunk settings are dystopias with corruption, computers and internet connectivity. Giant, multinational corporations have for the most part replaced governments as centers of political, economic, and even military power.

The economic and technological state of Japan is a regular theme in the Cyberpunk literature of the ’80s. Of Japan’s influence on the genre, William Gibson said, “Modern Japan simply was cyberpunk.”[21] Cyberpunk is often set in urbanized, artificial landscapes, and “city lights, receding” was used by Gibson as one of the genre’s first metaphors for cyberspace and virtual reality.[26] The cityscapes of Hong Kong[27] and Shanghai[28] have had major influences in the urban backgrounds, ambiance and settings in many cyberpunk works such as Blade Runner and Shadowrun. Ridley Scott envisioned the landscape of cyberpunk Los Angeles in Blade Runner to be “Hong Kong on a very bad day”.[29] The streetscapes of Ghost in the Shell were based on Hong Kong. Its director Mamoru Oshii felt that Hong Kong’s strange and chaotic streets where “old and new exist in confusing relationships”, fit the theme of the film well.[27] Hong Kong’s Kowloon Walled City is particularly notable for its disorganized hyper-urbanization and breakdown in traditional urban planning to be an inspiration to cyberpunk landscapes.

One of the cyberpunk genre’s prototype characters is Case, from Gibson’s Neuromancer.[30] Case is a “console cowboy,” a brilliant hacker who has betrayed his organized criminal partners. Robbed of his talent through a crippling injury inflicted by the vengeful partners, Case unexpectedly receives a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be healed by expert medical care but only if he participates in another criminal enterprise with a new crew.

Like Case, many cyberpunk protagonists are manipulated, placed in situations where they have little or no choice, and although they might see things through, they do not necessarily come out any further ahead than they previously were. These anti-heroes”criminals, outcasts, visionaries, dissenters and misfits”[31]call to mind the private eye of detective fiction. This emphasis on the misfits and the malcontents is the “punk” component of cyberpunk.

Cyberpunk can be intended to disquiet readers and call them to action. It often expresses a sense of rebellion, suggesting that one could describe it as a type of culture revolution in science fiction. In the words of author and critic David Brin:

…a closer look [at cyberpunk authors] reveals that they nearly always portray future societies in which governments have become wimpy and pathetic …Popular science fiction tales by Gibson, Williams, Cadigan and others do depict Orwellian accumulations of power in the next century, but nearly always clutched in the secretive hands of a wealthy or corporate elite.[32]

Cyberpunk stories have also been seen as fictional forecasts of the evolution of the Internet. The earliest descriptions of a global communications network came long before the World Wide Web entered popular awareness, though not before traditional science-fiction writers such as Arthur C. Clarke and some social commentators such as James Burke began predicting that such networks would eventually form.[33]

Minnesota writer Bruce Bethke coined the term in 1980 for his short story “Cyberpunk,” which was published in the November 1983 issue of Amazing Science Fiction Stories.[34] The term was quickly appropriated as a label to be applied to the works of William Gibson, Bruce Sterling, Pat Cadigan and others. Of these, Sterling became the movement’s chief ideologue, thanks to his fanzine Cheap Truth. John Shirley wrote articles on Sterling and Rucker’s significance.[35] John Brunner’s 1975 novel The Shockwave Rider is considered by many[who?] to be the first cyberpunk novel with many of the tropes commonly associated with the genre, some five years before the term was popularized by Dozois.[36]

William Gibson with his novel Neuromancer (1984) is arguably the most famous writer connected with the term cyberpunk. He emphasized style, a fascination with surfaces, and atmosphere over traditional science-fiction tropes. Regarded as ground-breaking and sometimes as “the archetypal cyberpunk work,”[6] Neuromancer was awarded the Hugo, Nebula, and Philip K. Dick Awards. Count Zero (1986) and Mona Lisa Overdrive (1988) followed after Gibson’s popular debut novel. According to the Jargon File, “Gibson’s near-total ignorance of computers and the present-day hacker culture enabled him to speculate about the role of computers and hackers in the future in ways hackers have since found both irritatingly nave and tremendously stimulating.”[37]

Early on, cyberpunk was hailed as a radical departure from science-fiction standards and a new manifestation of vitality.[38] Shortly thereafter, however, some critics arose to challenge its status as a revolutionary movement. These critics said that the SF New Wave of the 1960s was much more innovative as far as narrative techniques and styles were concerned.[39] Furthermore, while Neuromancer’s narrator may have had an unusual “voice” for science fiction, much older examples can be found: Gibson’s narrative voice, for example, resembles that of an updated Raymond Chandler, as in his novel The Big Sleep (1939).[38] Others noted that almost all traits claimed to be uniquely cyberpunk could in fact be found in older writers’ worksoften citing J. G. Ballard, Philip K. Dick, Harlan Ellison, Stanisaw Lem, Samuel R. Delany, and even William S. Burroughs.[38] For example, Philip K. Dick’s works contain recurring themes of social decay, artificial intelligence, paranoia, and blurred lines between objective and subjective realities.[40] The influential cyberpunk movie Blade Runner (1982) is based on his book, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?.[41] Humans linked to machines are found in Pohl and Kornbluth’s Wolfbane (1959) and Roger Zelazny’s Creatures of Light and Darkness (1968).[citation needed]

In 1994, scholar Brian Stonehill suggested that Thomas Pynchon’s 1973 novel Gravity’s Rainbow “not only curses but precurses what we now glibly dub cyberspace.”[42] Other important predecessors include Alfred Bester’s two most celebrated novels, The Demolished Man and The Stars My Destination,[43] as well as Vernor Vinge’s novella True Names.[44]

Science-fiction writer David Brin describes cyberpunk as “the finest free promotion campaign ever waged on behalf of science fiction.” It may not have attracted the “real punks,” but it did ensnare many new readers, and it provided the sort of movement that postmodern literary critics found alluring. Cyberpunk made science fiction more attractive to academics, argues Brin; in addition, it made science fiction more profitable to Hollywood and to the visual arts generally. Although the “self-important rhetoric and whines of persecution” on the part of cyberpunk fans were irritating at worst and humorous at best, Brin declares that the “rebels did shake things up. We owe them a debt.”[45]

Fredric Jameson considers cyberpunk the “supreme literary expression if not of postmodernism, then of late capitalism itself”.[46]

Cyberpunk further inspired many professional writers who were not among the “original” cyberpunks to incorporate cyberpunk ideas into their own works,[citation needed] such as George Alec Effinger’s When Gravity Fails. Wired magazine, created by Louis Rossetto and Jane Metcalfe, mixes new technology, art, literature, and current topics in order to interest today’s cyberpunk fans, which Paula Yoo claims “proves that hardcore hackers, multimedia junkies, cyberpunks and cellular freaks are poised to take over the world.”[47]

The film Blade Runner (1982)adapted from Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?is set in 2019 in a dystopian future in which manufactured beings called replicants are slaves used on space colonies and are legal prey on Earth to various bounty hunters who “retire” (kill) them. Although Blade Runner was largely unsuccessful in its first theatrical release, it found a viewership in the home video market and became a cult film.[48] Since the movie omits the religious and mythical elements of Dick’s original novel (e.g. empathy boxes and Wilbur Mercer), it falls more strictly within the cyberpunk genre than the novel does. William Gibson would later reveal that upon first viewing the film, he was surprised at how the look of this film matched his vision when he was working on Neuromancer. The film’s tone has since been the staple of many cyberpunk movies, such as The Matrix trilogy (1999-2003), which uses a wide variety of cyberpunk elements.

The number of films in the genre or at least using a few genre elements has grown steadily since Blade Runner. Several of Philip K. Dick’s works have been adapted to the silver screen. The films Johnny Mnemonic[3] and New Rose Hotel,[4][5] both based upon short stories by William Gibson, flopped commercially and critically. These box offices misses significantly slowed the development of cyberpunk as a literary or cultural form although a sequel to the 1982 film Blade Runner was released in October 2017 with Harrison Ford reprising his role from the original film.

In addition, “tech-noir” film as a hybrid genre, means a work of combining neo-noir and science fiction or cyberpunk. It includes many cyberpunk films such as Blade Runner, Burst City,[49] Robocop, 12 Monkeys, The Lawnmower Man, Hackers, Hardware, and Strange Days.

Cyberpunk themes are widely visible in anime and manga. In Japan, where cosplay is popular and not only teenagers display such fashion styles, cyberpunk has been accepted and its influence is widespread. William Gibson’s Neuromancer, whose influence dominated the early cyberpunk movement, was also set in Chiba, one of Japan’s largest industrial areas, although at the time of writing the novel Gibson did not know the location of Chiba and had no idea how perfectly it fit his vision in some ways. The exposure to cyberpunk ideas and fiction in the mid 1980s has allowed it to seep into the Japanese culture.

Cyberpunk anime and manga draw upon a futuristic vision which has elements in common with western science fiction and therefore have received wide international acceptance outside Japan. “The conceptualization involved in cyberpunk is more of forging ahead, looking at the new global culture. It is a culture that does not exist right now, so the Japanese concept of a cyberpunk future, seems just as valid as a Western one, especially as Western cyberpunk often incorporates many Japanese elements.”[50] William Gibson is now a frequent visitor to Japan, and he came to see that many of his visions of Japan have become a reality:

Modern Japan simply was cyberpunk. The Japanese themselves knew it and delighted in it. I remember my first glimpse of Shibuya, when one of the young Tokyo journalists who had taken me there, his face drenched with the light of a thousand media-sunsall that towering, animated crawl of commercial informationsaid, “You see? You see? It is Blade Runner town.” And it was. It so evidently was.[21]

Cyberpunk has influenced many anime and manga including the ground-breaking Akira, Appleseed, Ghost in the Shell, Ergo Proxy, Battle Angel Alita, Megazone 23, Neo Tokyo, Goku Midnight Eye, Cyber City Oedo 808, Bubblegum Crisis, A.D. Police: Dead End City, Angel Cop, Extra, Blame!, Armitage III, Texhnolyze, Serial Experiments Lain, Neon Genesis Evangelion and Psycho-Pass.

There are many cyberpunk video games. Popular series include the Megami Tensei series, Deus Ex series, Syndicate series, and System Shock and its sequel. Other games, like Blade Runner, Ghost in the Shell, and the Matrix series, are based upon genre movies, or role-playing games (for instance the various Shadowrun games). CD Projekt Red is currently developing a cyberpunk game called “Cyberpunk 2077”.[51]

Several RPGs called Cyberpunk exist: Cyberpunk, Cyberpunk 2020 and Cyberpunk v3, by R. Talsorian Games, and GURPS Cyberpunk, published by Steve Jackson Games as a module of the GURPS family of RPGs. Cyberpunk 2020 was designed with the settings of William Gibson’s writings in mind, and to some extent with his approval[citation needed], unlike the approach taken by FASA in producing the transgenre Shadowrun game. Both are set in the near future, in a world where cybernetics are prominent. In addition, Iron Crown Enterprises released an RPG named Cyberspace, which was out of print for several years until recently being re-released in online PDF form.

In 1990, in a convergence of cyberpunk art and reality, the United States Secret Service raided Steve Jackson Games’s headquarters and confiscated all their computers. Officials denied that the target had been the GURPS Cyberpunk sourcebook, but Jackson would later write that he and his colleagues “were never able to secure the return of the complete manuscript; […] The Secret Service at first flatly refused to return anything then agreed to let us copy files, but when we got to their office, restricted us to one set of out-of-date files then agreed to make copies for us, but said “tomorrow” every day from March 4 to March 26. On March 26 we received a set of disks which purported to be our files, but the material was late, incomplete and well-nigh useless.”[52] Steve Jackson Games won a lawsuit against the Secret Service, aided by the new Electronic Frontier Foundation. This event has achieved a sort of notoriety, which has extended to the book itself as well. All published editions of GURPS Cyberpunk have a tagline on the front cover, which reads “The book that was seized by the U.S. Secret Service!” Inside, the book provides a summary of the raid and its aftermath.

Cyberpunk has also inspired several tabletop, miniature and board games such as Necromunda by Games Workshop. Netrunner is a collectible card game introduced in 1996, based on the Cyberpunk 2020 role-playing game. Tokyo NOVA, debuting in 1993, is a cyberpunk role-playing game that uses playing cards instead of dice.

Julie Romandetta[53]

Some musicians and acts have been classified as cyberpunk due to their aesthetic style and musical content. Often dealing with dystopian visions of the future or biomechanical themes, some fit more squarely in the category than others. Bands whose music has been classified as cyberpunk include Psydoll, Front Line Assembly, Clock DVA and Sigue Sigue Sputnik. Some musicians not normally associated with cyberpunk have at times been inspired to create concept albums exploring such themes. Albums such as Gary Numan’s Replicas, The Pleasure Principle and Telekon were heavily inspired by the works of Philip K. Dick. Kraftwerk’s The Man-Machine and Computer World albums both explored the theme of humanity becoming dependent on technology. Nine Inch Nails’ concept album Year Zero also fits into this category. Fear Factory concept albums are heavily based upon future dystopia, cybernetics, clash between man and machines, virtual worlds. Billy Idol’s Cyberpunk drew heavily from cyberpunk literature and the cyberdelic counter culture in its creation. 1. Outside, a cyberpunk narrative fueled concept album by David Bowie, was warmly met by critics upon its release in 1995. Many musicians have also taken inspiration from specific cyberpunk works or authors, including Sonic Youth, whose albums Sister and Daydream Nation take influence from the works of Philip K. Dick and William Gibson respectively.

Vaporwave and Synthwave are also influenced by cyberpunk. The former has been interpreted as a dystopian[54] critique of capitalism[55] in the vein of cyberpunk and the latter as a nostalgic retrofuturistic revival of aspects of cyberpunk’s origins.

Some Neo-Futurism artworks and cityscapes have been influenced by cyberpunk, such as[21] the Sony Center in the Potsdamer Platz public square of Berlin, Germany.[56]

Several subcultures have been inspired by cyberpunk fiction. These include the cyberdelic counter culture of the late 1980s and early 90s. Cyberdelic, whose adherents referred to themselves as “cyberpunks”, attempted to blend the psychedelic art and drug movement with the technology of cyberculture. Early adherents included Timothy Leary, Mark Frauenfelder and R. U. Sirius. The movement largely faded following the dot-com bubble implosion of 2000.

Cybergoth is a fashion and dance subculture which draws its inspiration from cyberpunk fiction, as well as rave and Gothic subcultures. In addition, a distinct cyberpunk fashion of its own has emerged in recent years[when?] which rejects the raver and goth influences of cybergoth, and draws inspiration from urban street fashion, “post apocalypse”, functional clothing, high tech sports wear, tactical uniform and multifunction. This fashion goes by names like “tech wear”, “goth ninja” or “tech ninja”. Important designers in this type of fashion[according to whom?] are ACRONYM, Demobaza,[57] Boris Bidjan Saberi, Rick Owens and Alexander Wang.

The Kowloon Walled City in Hong Kong (demolished in 1994) is often referenced as the model cyberpunk/dystopian slum as, given its poor living conditions at the time coupled with the city’s political, physical, and economic isolation has caused many in academia to be fascinated by the ingenuity of its spawning.[58]

As a wider variety of writers began to work with cyberpunk concepts, new subgenres of science fiction emerged, some of which could be considered as playing off the cyberpunk label, others which could be considered as legitimate explorations into newer territory. These focused on technology and its social effects in different ways. One prominent subgenre is “steampunk,” which is set in an alternate history Victorian era that combines anachronistic technology with cyberpunk’s bleak film noir world view. The term was originally coined around 1987 as a joke to describe some of the novels of Tim Powers, James P. Blaylock, and K.W. Jeter, but by the time Gibson and Sterling entered the subgenre with their collaborative novel The Difference Engine the term was being used earnestly as well.[59]

Another subgenre is “biopunk” (cyberpunk themes dominated by biotechnology) from the early 1990s, a derivative style building on biotechnology rather than informational technology. In these stories, people are changed in some way not by mechanical means, but by genetic manipulation. Paul Di Filippo is seen as the most prominent biopunk writer, including his half-serious ribofunk. Bruce Sterling’s Shaper/Mechanist cycle is also seen as a major influence. In addition, some people consider works such as Neal Stephenson’s The Diamond Age to be postcyberpunk.

Cyberpunk works have been described as well-situated within postmodern literature.[60]

Role playing game publisher R. Talsorian Games, owner of the Cyberpunk 2020 franchise, trademarked the word “Cyberpunk” in the United States in 2012.[61] Video game developer CD Projekt, which is developing Cyberpunk 2077, bought the U.S. trademark from R. Talsorian Games, and has filed a trademark in the European Union.[62][63]

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Cyberpunk – Wikipedia

Cyberpunk 2020 – Wikipedia

Cyberpunk, mainly known by its second edition title Cyberpunk 2020, is a cyberpunk role-playing game written by Mike Pondsmith and published by R. Talsorian Games in 1988. Because of the release in 1990 of the second edition, set in a fictional 2020, the first edition is often now referred to as Cyberpunk 2013, following the fictional year, 2013, in which the game was set when it was first released in 1988. The third edition, published by R. Talsorian Games in 2005, is referred to as Cyberpunk V3.0 and is set further along the same fictional timeline as the former editions, during the 2030s.

This role-playing game is based on the works of William Gibson, Bruce Sterling, and other authors of the “Mirrorshades group”. The game includes a number of elements now associated with the 1980s,[citation needed] such as the idea of style over substance and glam rock.

The game tends to emphasize some aspects of the source material more than others. Much of the focus of the game is paid to combat, high-tech weaponry and cybernetic modification; however, performance-enhancing and recreational drug use is either played down or discouraged. Although artificial intelligence, genetic engineering, and cloning are barely mentioned in the core rulebook they are reintroduced in later add-ons such as the chromebook manuals.

The range of characters players can adopt is diverse, ranging from hardwired mercenaries with psycholinked weapons and boosted reflexes, to Armani-wearing corporate mega-yuppies who make and break national economies with the stroke of a pen.

Cyberpunk 2020 is the second edition of the original game, Cyberpunk 2013, often just called “Cyberpunk.” It was originally published as a boxed set in 1988, and R. Talsorian released a few supplements for this edition, including Rockerboy, Solo of Fortune, and Hardwired, the latter based on the Walter Jon Williams novel of the same name. Another supplement was Near Orbit (made obsolete by Deep Space in Cyberpunk 2020)

The second edition featured rules updates and changes, and additionally moved the timeline forward by 7 years, to 2020. The game’s timeline was also retconned to accommodate the German reunification in 1990.

The basic rules system of Cyberpunk 2020 (called the Interlock System) is skill-based instead of level-based, with players being awarded points to be spent on their skill sets. New skills outside their expertise can be learned but in-game time needs to be spent on this. A large part of the system is the player characters’ ability to augment themselves with cyber-technology and the ensuing loss of humanity as they become more machine than man.

Cyberpunk 2020 claims to lend itself to play in the street level, dark film noir genre, but certain aspects of the basic system can influence game sessions toward a high body-count, 1980s action movie style.

Although each player must choose a character class or “role” from those given in the basic rules, there is enough variation in the skill system so that no two members of the same class are alike. Because Cyberpunk 2020 is skill-based, the choice of skills around the class-specific special ability allows a wide range of character development choices including non-combatants.

The combat system, called “Friday Night Firefight”, emphasizes lethality. Several pages in the rules are devoted to discussing real combat vs. the illusions often seen on TV. Attempts are made to keep the combat as realistic as possible in a game setting. No matter who the character is, a single bullet can result in a lethal wound. This encourages a more tactically oriented and thought-out game play, which is in accordance to the rough-and-gritty ethos of the Cyberpunk genre. Also, the amount of damage a character can sustain does not increase as the character develops. The only way a character can become more damage resistant is to either become better at not being hit, physically augment their body with muscle (trained or implanted) or cybernetics, or wear armor.

Cyberpunk 2020, as the name implies, takes place in the year 2020. The game’s default setting is the fictional Night City, a city of five million people on the west coast of the United States located between Los Angeles and San Francisco. It is described as being near San Jose but the map puts it closer to Monterey. Later supplements to the game have contained information about the rest of the US and the world.

Following a vast socio-economical collapse and a period of martial law, the United States government has had to rely on several megacorporations to survive. This has given them a veritable carte blanche to operate as they will.

The Cyberpunk 2020 equivalent of character classes are roles, of which the main rulebook contains 9, and later supplements have expanded the number considerably. Each role has a special ability which gives a character a unique edge.

The game’s backstory had a series of powerful characters that influenced the world of Cyberpunk.

Firestorm was supposed to be the bridge between Cyberpunk 2020 (the 2nd edition rules and milieu) and Cyberpunk V.3 (the 3rd Edition rules and milieu). Its purpose was to shake up everything and get players prepared for the new background they were cooking up.

Set in 2023, the backstory has two deep-ocean-based megacorporations dueling for control over a third one (the period known as the “Ocean War”). When it escalates into open warfare, they each hire mercenaries. One hires the Japanese diversified technology and security services firm Arasaka and the other hires the American military technology and mercenary services firm Militech.

During the conflict, the long-standing bitter rivalry between Arasaka and Militech causes them to forget about their customers and go for each other. In the beginning they feud quietly (the phase called the “Shadow War”). But the covert war between the two heats up, becoming the Fourth Corporate War.

In the course of the adventure setting, the characters are hired to hunt down a pesky netrunner who is making their anonymous employer unhappy. Little do they realize that the hacker is the infamous (and already “dead”) Rache Bartmoss. Regardless of what they do, their employer pinpoints the apartment with an orbital mass-driver and vaporizes it.

Set in 2024, the second part of the Firestorm series sees Arasaka mobilize the Japanese Defense Force to take on Militech and the American military in a series of “proxy conflicts” (the phase dubbed the “Hot War”).

Waves of cyberviruses corrupt databases worldwide, leaving the isolated Arasaka Towers arcology in Night City the last viable data storage mainframe in the world.

Militech gathers together the surviving meta-characters and a Special Forces team played by the player characters into a “super team”. Their job: to take out Arasaka’s Night City arcology with a tactical nuke to deny its assets to Arasaka.

Then they find out that Alt Cunningham, who was captured by Arasaka earlier, is trapped inside the mainframe. Of course, Johnny won’t let Alt die a second time, so the team tries to break her out.

The end result is that the meta-characters go out in a blaze of glory. Johnny Silverhand dies at the hands of Arasaka’s cyborg assassin Adam Smasher in order to buy Spider Murphy enough time to break Alt into a series of datapackets and downloads her into the Net. Morgan Blackhand then takes on Adam Smasher atop Arasaka Towers while the rest of the team gets extracted out. The outcome of the duel is greatly disputed because the low-yield tactical nuke the team deployed sets off the 2-kiloton “self destruct” bomb Arasaka had placed in its data core. This destroyed much of downtown Night City and contaminated the ruins and anything downwind of it with lethal fallout.

The long-awaited third volume, Aftershock promised to tie all the loose ends together and herald the end of the old Cyberpunk 2020 (or “Cyberpunk V.2”) game world and usher in the beginning of the new Cyberpunk 2030 (or “Cyberpunk V.3”) game world. It was later cancelled and its material was folded into the Cyberpunk 203X rules book.

Cybergeneration takes place in an alternate future of the core Cyberpunk 2020 timeline, where a nanotech virus epidemic has resulted in a subgroup of teenagers with unusual, superhuman skills. It began as a supplement that still required the Cyberpunk 2020 rulebook, but the second edition became a standalone game.

Ever since the 1998 release of the Cyberpunk 2020 sourcebook Firestorm: Shockwave, fans of the game had been waiting for a third edition of the Cyberpunk game, known as Cyberpunk 203X. Over the years, the entire project had at times been discounted as vaporware, its delays due to other projects and Pondsmith’s involvement in the development of The Matrix Online.[citation needed]

The game was released first in PDF form on December 17, 2005 and as a conventional book on January 15, 2006.

The setting has been heavily updated from its last event book series, Firestorm, which covered the opening of the Fourth Corporate War. The aftermath of the Fourth Corporate War has resulted in widespread corruption of the Net and major losses of hardcopied data, to the point that all data is intangible and recent recorded history is in doubt. An example that pops up in Pondsmith’s demos at conventions, releases on the Internet, and in the finished game is that history has become so corrupted that many people in the world now believe Richard Nixon, instead of resigning over Watergate, committed suicide on camera and that memes such as the moon landing being hoaxed become prevalent.

The war has also led to the collapse of nations, the world economy, and many of the staple megacorporations. This civil upheaval leads to the rise of the “altcults”, alternative cultures similar in vein to the “phyles” from Neal Stephenson’s The Diamond Age. In fact, Cyberpunk V.3 has more to do with the new postcyberpunk literary movement and transhumanism than with the Gibson-Sterling mirrorshades movement.

In addition to rules changes to the Fuzion system and background, Cyberpunk V.3 also uses concepts taken from Pondsmith’s experience at Microsoft with computer and video games as well as corporate culture, such as a simpler character generation system using templates, web-based active content URL links for updates, and making groups, organizations, and corporations their own “characters”.

In addition, there is also the Fallen Angels, space-bound scavengers, the Ghosts, people who have uploaded their minds, and the Neo-Corps, the surviving corporations of the Cyberpunk 2020 world that are now organized in the form of organized crime syndicates. However, the six listed above are the only ones that have been mentioned in deep detail.

Two Cyberpunk 2020 novels have been published, both written by Stephen Billias:

Two different, independent collectible card games have been licensed and produced based on the Cyberpunk setting. The first, called Netrunner, was designed by Richard Garfield, and released by Wizards of the Coast in 1996 (the game has since been re-released as Android:_Netrunner but is no longer associated with the fictional Cyberpunk universe). The second was called Cyberpunk CCG, released in 2003, designed by Peter Wacks and published by Social Games.

Cyberpunk was ranked 10th in the 1996 reader poll of Arcane magazine to determine the 50 most popular roleplaying games of all time. The UK magazine’s editor Paul Pettengale commented: “Cyberpunk was the first of the ‘straight’ cyberpunk RPGs, and is still the best. The difference between cyberpunk and other sci-fi is a matter of style and attitude. Everything about the Cyberpunk game, from the background to the rules system, is designed to create this vital atmosphere. Cyberpunk is set in an unforgiving world where betrayal and double-crosses are common, trust is hard to find and paranoia is a useful survival trait.”[3]

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Cyberpunk 2077 – reddit

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Cyberpunk 2077 is an upcoming role-playing video game developed by CD Projekt RED and published by CD Projekt.

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“So get ready to hit the streets of the dark future, a world so dangerous, so dark, that only the toughest, smartest and most cybered-up will survive. But you can deal with it. Because you’re ready. Because you’re Cyberpunk.”

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Cyberpunk – Wikipedia

Cyberpunk is a subgenre of science fiction in a futuristic setting that tends to focus on a “combination of lowlife and high tech”[1] featuring advanced technological and scientific achievements, such as artificial intelligence and cybernetics, juxtaposed with a degree of breakdown or radical change in the social order.[2]

Much of cyberpunk is rooted in the New Wave science fiction movement of the 1960s and 70s, when writers like Philip K. Dick, Roger Zelazny, J. G. Ballard, Philip Jose Farmer, and Harlan Ellison examined the impact of drug culture, technology, and the sexual revolution while avoiding the utopian tendencies of earlier science fiction. Released in 1984, William Gibsons influential debut novel Neuromancer would help solidify cyberpunk as a genre, drawing influence from punk subculture and early hacker culture. Other influential cyberpunk writers included Bruce Sterling and Rudy Rucker.

Early films in the genre include Ridley Scotts 1982 film Blade Runner, one of several of Philip K. Dick’s works that have been adapted into films. The films Johnny Mnemonic[3] and New Rose Hotel,[4][5] both based upon short stories by William Gibson, flopped commercially and critically. More recent additions to this genre of filmmaking include the 2013 film Snowpiercer, the 2017 release of Blade Runner 2049, the sequel to the original 1982 film, and the 2018 Netflix TV series Altered Carbon.

Lawrence Person has attempted to define the content and ethos of the cyberpunk literary movement stating:

Classic cyberpunk characters were marginalized, alienated loners who lived on the edge of society in generally dystopic futures where daily life was impacted by rapid technological change, an ubiquitous datasphere of computerized information, and invasive modification of the human body.

Cyberpunk plots often center on conflict among artificial intelligences, hackers, and megacorporations, and tend to be set in a near-future Earth, rather than in the far-future settings or galactic vistas found in novels such as Isaac Asimov’s Foundation or Frank Herbert’s Dune.[7] The settings are usually post-industrial dystopias but tend to feature extraordinary cultural ferment and the use of technology in ways never anticipated by its original inventors (“the street finds its own uses for things”).[8] Much of the genre’s atmosphere echoes film noir, and written works in the genre often use techniques from detective fiction.[9]

The origins of cyberpunk are rooted in the New Wave science fiction movement of the 1960s and 70s, where New Worlds, under the editorship of Michael Moorcock, began inviting and encouraging stories that examined new writing styles, techniques, and archetypes. Reacting to conventional storytelling, New Wave authors attempted to present a world where society coped with a constant upheaval of new technology and culture, generally with dystopian outcomes. Writers like Roger Zelazny, J.G. Ballard, Philip Jose Farmer, and Harlan Ellison often examined the impact of drug culture, technology, and the sexual revolution with an avant-garde style influenced by the Beat Generation (especially William S. Burroughs’ own SF), dadaism, and their own ideas.[10] Ballard attacked the idea that stories should follow the “archetypes” popular since the time of Ancient Greece, and the assumption that these would somehow be the same ones that would call to modern readers, as Joseph Campbell argued in The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Instead, Ballard wanted to write a new myth for the modern reader, a style with “more psycho-literary ideas, more meta-biological and meta-chemical concepts, private time systems, synthetic psychologies and space-times, more of the sombre half-worlds one glimpses in the paintings of schizophrenics.”[11]

This had a profound influence on a new generation of writers, some of whom would come to call their movement “Cyberpunk”. One, Bruce Sterling, later said:

Ballard, Zelazny, and the rest of New Wave was seen by the subsequent generation as delivering more “realism” to science fiction, and they attempted to build on this.

Similarly influential, and generally cited as proto-cyberpunk, is the Philip K. Dick novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, first published in 1968. Presenting precisely the general feeling of dystopian post-economic-apocalyptic future as Gibson and Sterling later deliver, it examines ethical and moral problems with cybernetic, artificial intelligence in a way more “realist” than the Isaac Asimov Robot series that laid its philosophical foundation. This novel was made into the seminal movie Blade Runner, released in 1982. This was one year after another story, “Johnny Mnemonic” helped move proto-cyberpunk concepts into the mainstream. This story, which also became a film years later, involves another dystopian future, where human couriers deliver computer data, stored cybernetically in their own minds.

In 1983 a short story written by Bruce Bethke, called Cyberpunk, was published in Amazing Stories. The term was picked up by Gardner Dozois, editor of Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine and popularized in his editorials. Bethke says he made two lists of words, one for technology, one for troublemakers, and experimented with combining them variously into compound words, consciously attempting to coin a term that encompassed both punk attitudes and high technology.

He described the idea thus:

Afterward, Dozois began using this term in his own writing, most notably in a Washington Post article where he said “About the closest thing here to a self-willed esthetic school would be the purveyors of bizarre hard-edged, high-tech stuff, who have on occasion been referred to as cyberpunks Sterling, Gibson, Shiner, Cadigan, Bear.”[14]

About that time, William Gibson’s novel Neuromancer was published, delivering a glimpse of a future encompassed by what became an archetype of cyberpunk “virtual reality”, with the human mind being fed light-based worldscapes through a computer interface. Some, perhaps ironically including Bethke himself, argued at the time that the writers whose style Gibson’s books epitomized should be called “Neuromantics”, a pun on the name of the novel plus “New Romantics”, a term used for a New Wave pop music movement that had just occurred in Britain, but this term did not catch on. Bethke later paraphrased Michael Swanwick’s argument for the term: “the movement writers should properly be termed neuromantics, since so much of what they were doing was clearly Imitation Neuromancer”.

Sterling was another writer who played a central role, often consciously, in the cyberpunk genre, variously seen as keeping it on track, or distorting its natural path into a stagnant formula.[15] In 1986 he edited a volume of cyberpunk stories called Mirrorshades: The Cyberpunk Anthology, an attempt to establish what cyberpunk was, from Sterling’s perspective.[16]

In the subsequent decade, the motifs of Gibson’s Neuromancer became formulaic, climaxing in the satirical extremes of Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash in 1992.

Bookending the Cyberpunk era, Bethke himself published a novel in 1995 called Headcrash: like Snow Crash a satirical attack on the genre’s excesses. It won the key cyberpunk honor named after its spiritual founder, the Philip K. Dick Award.

It satirized the genre in this way:

The impact of cyberpunk, though, has been long-lasting. Elements of both the setting and storytelling have become normal in science fiction in general, and a slew of sub-genres now have -punk tacked onto their names, most obviously Steampunk, but also a host of other Cyberpunk derivatives.

Primary figures in the cyberpunk movement include William Gibson, Neal Stephenson, Bruce Sterling, Bruce Bethke, Pat Cadigan, Rudy Rucker, and John Shirley. Philip K. Dick (author of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, from which the film Blade Runner was adapted) is also seen by some as prefiguring the movement[18]

Blade Runner can be seen as a quintessential example of the cyberpunk style and theme.[7] Video games, board games, and tabletop role-playing games, such as Cyberpunk 2020 and Shadowrun, often feature storylines that are heavily influenced by cyberpunk writing and movies. Beginning in the early 1990s, some trends in fashion and music were also labeled as cyberpunk. Cyberpunk is also featured prominently in anime and manga:[19] Akira, Gunnm, Ghost in the Shell, Cowboy Bebop, Serial Experiments Lain, Dennou Coil, Ergo Proxy and Psycho Pass being among the most notable.[19]

Cyberpunk writers tend to use elements from hardboiled detective fiction, film noir, and postmodernist prose to describe an often nihilistic underground side of an electronic society. The genre’s vision of a troubled future is often called the antithesis of the generally utopian visions of the future popular in the 1940s and 1950s. Gibson defined cyberpunk’s antipathy towards utopian SF in his 1981 short story “The Gernsback Continuum,” which pokes fun at and, to a certain extent, condemns utopian science fiction.[22][23][24]

In some cyberpunk writing, much of the action takes place online, in cyberspace, blurring the line between actual and virtual reality.[25] A typical trope in such work is a direct connection between the human brain and computer systems. Cyberpunk settings are dystopias with corruption, computers and internet connectivity. Giant, multinational corporations have for the most part replaced governments as centers of political, economic, and even military power.

The economic and technological state of Japan is a regular theme in the Cyberpunk literature of the ’80s. Of Japan’s influence on the genre, William Gibson said, “Modern Japan simply was cyberpunk.”[21] Cyberpunk is often set in urbanized, artificial landscapes, and “city lights, receding” was used by Gibson as one of the genre’s first metaphors for cyberspace and virtual reality.[26] The cityscapes of Hong Kong[27] and Shanghai[28] have had major influences in the urban backgrounds, ambiance and settings in many cyberpunk works such as Blade Runner and Shadowrun. Ridley Scott envisioned the landscape of cyberpunk Los Angeles in Blade Runner to be “Hong Kong on a very bad day”.[29] The streetscapes of Ghost in the Shell were based on Hong Kong. Its director Mamoru Oshii felt that Hong Kong’s strange and chaotic streets where “old and new exist in confusing relationships”, fit the theme of the film well.[27] Hong Kong’s Kowloon Walled City is particularly notable for its disorganized hyper-urbanization and breakdown in traditional urban planning to be an inspiration to cyberpunk landscapes.

One of the cyberpunk genre’s prototype characters is Case, from Gibson’s Neuromancer.[30] Case is a “console cowboy,” a brilliant hacker who has betrayed his organized criminal partners. Robbed of his talent through a crippling injury inflicted by the vengeful partners, Case unexpectedly receives a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be healed by expert medical care but only if he participates in another criminal enterprise with a new crew.

Like Case, many cyberpunk protagonists are manipulated, placed in situations where they have little or no choice, and although they might see things through, they do not necessarily come out any further ahead than they previously were. These anti-heroes”criminals, outcasts, visionaries, dissenters and misfits”[31]call to mind the private eye of detective fiction. This emphasis on the misfits and the malcontents is the “punk” component of cyberpunk.

Cyberpunk can be intended to disquiet readers and call them to action. It often expresses a sense of rebellion, suggesting that one could describe it as a type of culture revolution in science fiction. In the words of author and critic David Brin:

…a closer look [at cyberpunk authors] reveals that they nearly always portray future societies in which governments have become wimpy and pathetic …Popular science fiction tales by Gibson, Williams, Cadigan and others do depict Orwellian accumulations of power in the next century, but nearly always clutched in the secretive hands of a wealthy or corporate elite.[32]

Cyberpunk stories have also been seen as fictional forecasts of the evolution of the Internet. The earliest descriptions of a global communications network came long before the World Wide Web entered popular awareness, though not before traditional science-fiction writers such as Arthur C. Clarke and some social commentators such as James Burke began predicting that such networks would eventually form.[33]

Minnesota writer Bruce Bethke coined the term in 1980 for his short story “Cyberpunk,” which was published in the November 1983 issue of Amazing Science Fiction Stories.[34] The term was quickly appropriated as a label to be applied to the works of William Gibson, Bruce Sterling, Pat Cadigan and others. Of these, Sterling became the movement’s chief ideologue, thanks to his fanzine Cheap Truth. John Shirley wrote articles on Sterling and Rucker’s significance.[35] John Brunner’s 1975 novel The Shockwave Rider is considered by many[who?] to be the first cyberpunk novel with many of the tropes commonly associated with the genre, some five years before the term was popularized by Dozois.[36]

William Gibson with his novel Neuromancer (1984) is arguably the most famous writer connected with the term cyberpunk. He emphasized style, a fascination with surfaces, and atmosphere over traditional science-fiction tropes. Regarded as ground-breaking and sometimes as “the archetypal cyberpunk work,”[6] Neuromancer was awarded the Hugo, Nebula, and Philip K. Dick Awards. Count Zero (1986) and Mona Lisa Overdrive (1988) followed after Gibson’s popular debut novel. According to the Jargon File, “Gibson’s near-total ignorance of computers and the present-day hacker culture enabled him to speculate about the role of computers and hackers in the future in ways hackers have since found both irritatingly nave and tremendously stimulating.”[37]

Early on, cyberpunk was hailed as a radical departure from science-fiction standards and a new manifestation of vitality.[38] Shortly thereafter, however, some critics arose to challenge its status as a revolutionary movement. These critics said that the SF New Wave of the 1960s was much more innovative as far as narrative techniques and styles were concerned.[39] Furthermore, while Neuromancer’s narrator may have had an unusual “voice” for science fiction, much older examples can be found: Gibson’s narrative voice, for example, resembles that of an updated Raymond Chandler, as in his novel The Big Sleep (1939).[38] Others noted that almost all traits claimed to be uniquely cyberpunk could in fact be found in older writers’ worksoften citing J. G. Ballard, Philip K. Dick, Harlan Ellison, Stanisaw Lem, Samuel R. Delany, and even William S. Burroughs.[38] For example, Philip K. Dick’s works contain recurring themes of social decay, artificial intelligence, paranoia, and blurred lines between objective and subjective realities.[40] The influential cyberpunk movie Blade Runner (1982) is based on his book, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?.[41] Humans linked to machines are found in Pohl and Kornbluth’s Wolfbane (1959) and Roger Zelazny’s Creatures of Light and Darkness (1968).[citation needed]

In 1994, scholar Brian Stonehill suggested that Thomas Pynchon’s 1973 novel Gravity’s Rainbow “not only curses but precurses what we now glibly dub cyberspace.”[42] Other important predecessors include Alfred Bester’s two most celebrated novels, The Demolished Man and The Stars My Destination,[43] as well as Vernor Vinge’s novella True Names.[44]

Science-fiction writer David Brin describes cyberpunk as “the finest free promotion campaign ever waged on behalf of science fiction.” It may not have attracted the “real punks,” but it did ensnare many new readers, and it provided the sort of movement that postmodern literary critics found alluring. Cyberpunk made science fiction more attractive to academics, argues Brin; in addition, it made science fiction more profitable to Hollywood and to the visual arts generally. Although the “self-important rhetoric and whines of persecution” on the part of cyberpunk fans were irritating at worst and humorous at best, Brin declares that the “rebels did shake things up. We owe them a debt.”[45]

Fredric Jameson considers cyberpunk the “supreme literary expression if not of postmodernism, then of late capitalism itself”.[46]

Cyberpunk further inspired many professional writers who were not among the “original” cyberpunks to incorporate cyberpunk ideas into their own works,[citation needed] such as George Alec Effinger’s When Gravity Fails. Wired magazine, created by Louis Rossetto and Jane Metcalfe, mixes new technology, art, literature, and current topics in order to interest today’s cyberpunk fans, which Paula Yoo claims “proves that hardcore hackers, multimedia junkies, cyberpunks and cellular freaks are poised to take over the world.”[47]

The film Blade Runner (1982)adapted from Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?is set in 2019 in a dystopian future in which manufactured beings called replicants are slaves used on space colonies and are legal prey on Earth to various bounty hunters who “retire” (kill) them. Although Blade Runner was largely unsuccessful in its first theatrical release, it found a viewership in the home video market and became a cult film.[48] Since the movie omits the religious and mythical elements of Dick’s original novel (e.g. empathy boxes and Wilbur Mercer), it falls more strictly within the cyberpunk genre than the novel does. William Gibson would later reveal that upon first viewing the film, he was surprised at how the look of this film matched his vision when he was working on Neuromancer. The film’s tone has since been the staple of many cyberpunk movies, such as The Matrix trilogy (1999-2003), which uses a wide variety of cyberpunk elements.

The number of films in the genre or at least using a few genre elements has grown steadily since Blade Runner. Several of Philip K. Dick’s works have been adapted to the silver screen. The films Johnny Mnemonic[3] and New Rose Hotel,[4][5] both based upon short stories by William Gibson, flopped commercially and critically. These box offices misses significantly slowed the development of cyberpunk as a literary or cultural form although a sequel to the 1982 film Blade Runner was released in October 2017 with Harrison Ford reprising his role from the original film.

In addition, “tech-noir” film as a hybrid genre, means a work of combining neo-noir and science fiction or cyberpunk. It includes many cyberpunk films such as Blade Runner, Burst City,[49] Robocop, 12 Monkeys, The Lawnmower Man, Hackers, Hardware, and Strange Days.

Cyberpunk themes are widely visible in anime and manga. In Japan, where cosplay is popular and not only teenagers display such fashion styles, cyberpunk has been accepted and its influence is widespread. William Gibson’s Neuromancer, whose influence dominated the early cyberpunk movement, was also set in Chiba, one of Japan’s largest industrial areas, although at the time of writing the novel Gibson did not know the location of Chiba and had no idea how perfectly it fit his vision in some ways. The exposure to cyberpunk ideas and fiction in the mid 1980s has allowed it to seep into the Japanese culture.

Cyberpunk anime and manga draw upon a futuristic vision which has elements in common with western science fiction and therefore have received wide international acceptance outside Japan. “The conceptualization involved in cyberpunk is more of forging ahead, looking at the new global culture. It is a culture that does not exist right now, so the Japanese concept of a cyberpunk future, seems just as valid as a Western one, especially as Western cyberpunk often incorporates many Japanese elements.”[50] William Gibson is now a frequent visitor to Japan, and he came to see that many of his visions of Japan have become a reality:

Modern Japan simply was cyberpunk. The Japanese themselves knew it and delighted in it. I remember my first glimpse of Shibuya, when one of the young Tokyo journalists who had taken me there, his face drenched with the light of a thousand media-sunsall that towering, animated crawl of commercial informationsaid, “You see? You see? It is Blade Runner town.” And it was. It so evidently was.[21]

Cyberpunk has influenced many anime and manga including the ground-breaking Akira, Appleseed, Ghost in the Shell, Ergo Proxy, Battle Angel Alita, Megazone 23, Neo Tokyo, Goku Midnight Eye, Cyber City Oedo 808, Bubblegum Crisis, A.D. Police: Dead End City, Angel Cop, Extra, Blame!, Armitage III, Texhnolyze, Serial Experiments Lain, Neon Genesis Evangelion and Psycho-Pass.

There are many cyberpunk video games. Popular series include the Megami Tensei series, Deus Ex series, Syndicate series, and System Shock and its sequel. Other games, like Blade Runner, Ghost in the Shell, and the Matrix series, are based upon genre movies, or role-playing games (for instance the various Shadowrun games). CD Projekt Red is currently developing a cyberpunk game called “Cyberpunk 2077”.[51]

Several RPGs called Cyberpunk exist: Cyberpunk, Cyberpunk 2020 and Cyberpunk v3, by R. Talsorian Games, and GURPS Cyberpunk, published by Steve Jackson Games as a module of the GURPS family of RPGs. Cyberpunk 2020 was designed with the settings of William Gibson’s writings in mind, and to some extent with his approval[citation needed], unlike the approach taken by FASA in producing the transgenre Shadowrun game. Both are set in the near future, in a world where cybernetics are prominent. In addition, Iron Crown Enterprises released an RPG named Cyberspace, which was out of print for several years until recently being re-released in online PDF form.

In 1990, in a convergence of cyberpunk art and reality, the United States Secret Service raided Steve Jackson Games’s headquarters and confiscated all their computers. Officials denied that the target had been the GURPS Cyberpunk sourcebook, but Jackson would later write that he and his colleagues “were never able to secure the return of the complete manuscript; […] The Secret Service at first flatly refused to return anything then agreed to let us copy files, but when we got to their office, restricted us to one set of out-of-date files then agreed to make copies for us, but said “tomorrow” every day from March 4 to March 26. On March 26 we received a set of disks which purported to be our files, but the material was late, incomplete and well-nigh useless.”[52] Steve Jackson Games won a lawsuit against the Secret Service, aided by the new Electronic Frontier Foundation. This event has achieved a sort of notoriety, which has extended to the book itself as well. All published editions of GURPS Cyberpunk have a tagline on the front cover, which reads “The book that was seized by the U.S. Secret Service!” Inside, the book provides a summary of the raid and its aftermath.

Cyberpunk has also inspired several tabletop, miniature and board games such as Necromunda by Games Workshop. Netrunner is a collectible card game introduced in 1996, based on the Cyberpunk 2020 role-playing game. Tokyo NOVA, debuting in 1993, is a cyberpunk role-playing game that uses playing cards instead of dice.

Julie Romandetta[53]

Some musicians and acts have been classified as cyberpunk due to their aesthetic style and musical content. Often dealing with dystopian visions of the future or biomechanical themes, some fit more squarely in the category than others. Bands whose music has been classified as cyberpunk include Psydoll, Front Line Assembly, Clock DVA and Sigue Sigue Sputnik. Some musicians not normally associated with cyberpunk have at times been inspired to create concept albums exploring such themes. Albums such as Gary Numan’s Replicas, The Pleasure Principle and Telekon were heavily inspired by the works of Philip K. Dick. Kraftwerk’s The Man-Machine and Computer World albums both explored the theme of humanity becoming dependent on technology. Nine Inch Nails’ concept album Year Zero also fits into this category. Fear Factory concept albums are heavily based upon future dystopia, cybernetics, clash between man and machines, virtual worlds. Billy Idol’s Cyberpunk drew heavily from cyberpunk literature and the cyberdelic counter culture in its creation. 1. Outside, a cyberpunk narrative fueled concept album by David Bowie, was warmly met by critics upon its release in 1995. Many musicians have also taken inspiration from specific cyberpunk works or authors, including Sonic Youth, whose albums Sister and Daydream Nation take influence from the works of Philip K. Dick and William Gibson respectively.

Vaporwave and Synthwave are also influenced by cyberpunk. The former has been interpreted as a dystopian[54] critique of capitalism[55] in the vein of cyberpunk and the latter as a nostalgic retrofuturistic revival of aspects of cyberpunk’s origins.

Some Neo-Futurism artworks and cityscapes have been influenced by cyberpunk, such as[21] the Sony Center in the Potsdamer Platz public square of Berlin, Germany.[56]

Several subcultures have been inspired by cyberpunk fiction. These include the cyberdelic counter culture of the late 1980s and early 90s. Cyberdelic, whose adherents referred to themselves as “cyberpunks”, attempted to blend the psychedelic art and drug movement with the technology of cyberculture. Early adherents included Timothy Leary, Mark Frauenfelder and R. U. Sirius. The movement largely faded following the dot-com bubble implosion of 2000.

Cybergoth is a fashion and dance subculture which draws its inspiration from cyberpunk fiction, as well as rave and Gothic subcultures. In addition, a distinct cyberpunk fashion of its own has emerged in recent years[when?] which rejects the raver and goth influences of cybergoth, and draws inspiration from urban street fashion, “post apocalypse”, functional clothing, high tech sports wear, tactical uniform and multifunction. This fashion goes by names like “tech wear”, “goth ninja” or “tech ninja”. Important designers in this type of fashion[according to whom?] are ACRONYM, Demobaza,[57] Boris Bidjan Saberi, Rick Owens and Alexander Wang.

The Kowloon Walled City in Hong Kong (demolished in 1994) is often referenced as the model cyberpunk/dystopian slum as, given its poor living conditions at the time coupled with the city’s political, physical, and economic isolation has caused many in academia to be fascinated by the ingenuity of its spawning.[58]

As a wider variety of writers began to work with cyberpunk concepts, new subgenres of science fiction emerged, some of which could be considered as playing off the cyberpunk label, others which could be considered as legitimate explorations into newer territory. These focused on technology and its social effects in different ways. One prominent subgenre is “steampunk,” which is set in an alternate history Victorian era that combines anachronistic technology with cyberpunk’s bleak film noir world view. The term was originally coined around 1987 as a joke to describe some of the novels of Tim Powers, James P. Blaylock, and K.W. Jeter, but by the time Gibson and Sterling entered the subgenre with their collaborative novel The Difference Engine the term was being used earnestly as well.[59]

Another subgenre is “biopunk” (cyberpunk themes dominated by biotechnology) from the early 1990s, a derivative style building on biotechnology rather than informational technology. In these stories, people are changed in some way not by mechanical means, but by genetic manipulation. Paul Di Filippo is seen as the most prominent biopunk writer, including his half-serious ribofunk. Bruce Sterling’s Shaper/Mechanist cycle is also seen as a major influence. In addition, some people consider works such as Neal Stephenson’s The Diamond Age to be postcyberpunk.

Cyberpunk works have been described as well-situated within postmodern literature.[60]

Role playing game publisher R. Talsorian Games, owner of the Cyberpunk 2020 franchise, trademarked the word “Cyberpunk” in the United States in 2012.[61] Video game developer CD Projekt, which is developing Cyberpunk 2077, bought the U.S. trademark from R. Talsorian Games, and has filed a trademark in the European Union.[62][63]

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Cyberpunk – Wikipedia

Cyberpunk 2020 – Wikipedia

Cyberpunk, mainly known by its second edition title Cyberpunk 2020, is a cyberpunk role-playing game written by Mike Pondsmith and published by R. Talsorian Games in 1988. Because of the release in 1990 of the second edition, set in a fictional 2020, the first edition is often now referred to as Cyberpunk 2013, following the fictional year, 2013, in which the game was set when it was first released in 1988. The third edition, published by R. Talsorian Games in 2005, is referred to as Cyberpunk V3.0 and is set further along the same fictional timeline as the former editions, during the 2030s.

This role-playing game is based on the works of William Gibson, Bruce Sterling, and other authors of the “Mirrorshades group”. The game includes a number of elements now associated with the 1980s,[citation needed] such as the idea of style over substance and glam rock.

The game tends to emphasize some aspects of the source material more than others. Much of the focus of the game is paid to combat, high-tech weaponry and cybernetic modification; however, performance-enhancing and recreational drug use is either played down or discouraged. Although artificial intelligence, genetic engineering, and cloning are barely mentioned in the core rulebook they are reintroduced in later add-ons such as the chromebook manuals.

The range of characters players can adopt is diverse, ranging from hardwired mercenaries with psycholinked weapons and boosted reflexes, to Armani-wearing corporate mega-yuppies who make and break national economies with the stroke of a pen.

Cyberpunk 2020 is the second edition of the original game, Cyberpunk 2013, often just called “Cyberpunk.” It was originally published as a boxed set in 1988, and R. Talsorian released a few supplements for this edition, including Rockerboy, Solo of Fortune, and Hardwired, the latter based on the Walter Jon Williams novel of the same name. Another supplement was Near Orbit (made obsolete by Deep Space in Cyberpunk 2020)

The second edition featured rules updates and changes, and additionally moved the timeline forward by 7 years, to 2020. The game’s timeline was also retconned to accommodate the German reunification in 1990.

The basic rules system of Cyberpunk 2020 (called the Interlock System) is skill-based instead of level-based, with players being awarded points to be spent on their skill sets. New skills outside their expertise can be learned but in-game time needs to be spent on this. A large part of the system is the player characters’ ability to augment themselves with cyber-technology and the ensuing loss of humanity as they become more machine than man.

Cyberpunk 2020 claims to lend itself to play in the street level, dark film noir genre, but certain aspects of the basic system can influence game sessions toward a high body-count, 1980s action movie style.

Although each player must choose a character class or “role” from those given in the basic rules, there is enough variation in the skill system so that no two members of the same class are alike. Because Cyberpunk 2020 is skill-based, the choice of skills around the class-specific special ability allows a wide range of character development choices including non-combatants.

The combat system, called “Friday Night Firefight”, emphasizes lethality. Several pages in the rules are devoted to discussing real combat vs. the illusions often seen on TV. Attempts are made to keep the combat as realistic as possible in a game setting. No matter who the character is, a single bullet can result in a lethal wound. This encourages a more tactically oriented and thought-out game play, which is in accordance to the rough-and-gritty ethos of the Cyberpunk genre. Also, the amount of damage a character can sustain does not increase as the character develops. The only way a character can become more damage resistant is to either become better at not being hit, physically augment their body with muscle (trained or implanted) or cybernetics, or wear armor.

Cyberpunk 2020, as the name implies, takes place in the year 2020. The game’s default setting is the fictional Night City, a city of five million people on the west coast of the United States located between Los Angeles and San Francisco. It is described as being near San Jose but the map puts it closer to Monterey. Later supplements to the game have contained information about the rest of the US and the world.

Following a vast socio-economical collapse and a period of martial law, the United States government has had to rely on several megacorporations to survive. This has given them a veritable carte blanche to operate as they will.

The Cyberpunk 2020 equivalent of character classes are roles, of which the main rulebook contains 9, and later supplements have expanded the number considerably. Each role has a special ability which gives a character a unique edge.

The game’s backstory had a series of powerful characters that influenced the world of Cyberpunk.

Firestorm was supposed to be the bridge between Cyberpunk 2020 (the 2nd edition rules and milieu) and Cyberpunk V.3 (the 3rd Edition rules and milieu). Its purpose was to shake up everything and get players prepared for the new background they were cooking up.

Set in 2023, the backstory has two deep-ocean-based megacorporations dueling for control over a third one (the period known as the “Ocean War”). When it escalates into open warfare, they each hire mercenaries. One hires the Japanese diversified technology and security services firm Arasaka and the other hires the American military technology and mercenary services firm Militech.

During the conflict, the long-standing bitter rivalry between Arasaka and Militech causes them to forget about their customers and go for each other. In the beginning they feud quietly (the phase called the “Shadow War”). But the covert war between the two heats up, becoming the Fourth Corporate War.

In the course of the adventure setting, the characters are hired to hunt down a pesky netrunner who is making their anonymous employer unhappy. Little do they realize that the hacker is the infamous (and already “dead”) Rache Bartmoss. Regardless of what they do, their employer pinpoints the apartment with an orbital mass-driver and vaporizes it.

Set in 2024, the second part of the Firestorm series sees Arasaka mobilize the Japanese Defense Force to take on Militech and the American military in a series of “proxy conflicts” (the phase dubbed the “Hot War”).

Waves of cyberviruses corrupt databases worldwide, leaving the isolated Arasaka Towers arcology in Night City the last viable data storage mainframe in the world.

Militech gathers together the surviving meta-characters and a Special Forces team played by the player characters into a “super team”. Their job: to take out Arasaka’s Night City arcology with a tactical nuke to deny its assets to Arasaka.

Then they find out that Alt Cunningham, who was captured by Arasaka earlier, is trapped inside the mainframe. Of course, Johnny won’t let Alt die a second time, so the team tries to break her out.

The end result is that the meta-characters go out in a blaze of glory. Johnny Silverhand dies at the hands of Arasaka’s cyborg assassin Adam Smasher in order to buy Spider Murphy enough time to break Alt into a series of datapackets and downloads her into the Net. Morgan Blackhand then takes on Adam Smasher atop Arasaka Towers while the rest of the team gets extracted out. The outcome of the duel is greatly disputed because the low-yield tactical nuke the team deployed sets off the 2-kiloton “self destruct” bomb Arasaka had placed in its data core. This destroyed much of downtown Night City and contaminated the ruins and anything downwind of it with lethal fallout.

The long-awaited third volume, Aftershock promised to tie all the loose ends together and herald the end of the old Cyberpunk 2020 (or “Cyberpunk V.2”) game world and usher in the beginning of the new Cyberpunk 2030 (or “Cyberpunk V.3”) game world. It was later cancelled and its material was folded into the Cyberpunk 203X rules book.

Cybergeneration takes place in an alternate future of the core Cyberpunk 2020 timeline, where a nanotech virus epidemic has resulted in a subgroup of teenagers with unusual, superhuman skills. It began as a supplement that still required the Cyberpunk 2020 rulebook, but the second edition became a standalone game.

Ever since the 1998 release of the Cyberpunk 2020 sourcebook Firestorm: Shockwave, fans of the game had been waiting for a third edition of the Cyberpunk game, known as Cyberpunk 203X. Over the years, the entire project had at times been discounted as vaporware, its delays due to other projects and Pondsmith’s involvement in the development of The Matrix Online.[citation needed]

The game was released first in PDF form on December 17, 2005 and as a conventional book on January 15, 2006.

The setting has been heavily updated from its last event book series, Firestorm, which covered the opening of the Fourth Corporate War. The aftermath of the Fourth Corporate War has resulted in widespread corruption of the Net and major losses of hardcopied data, to the point that all data is intangible and recent recorded history is in doubt. An example that pops up in Pondsmith’s demos at conventions, releases on the Internet, and in the finished game is that history has become so corrupted that many people in the world now believe Richard Nixon, instead of resigning over Watergate, committed suicide on camera and that memes such as the moon landing being hoaxed become prevalent.

The war has also led to the collapse of nations, the world economy, and many of the staple megacorporations. This civil upheaval leads to the rise of the “altcults”, alternative cultures similar in vein to the “phyles” from Neal Stephenson’s The Diamond Age. In fact, Cyberpunk V.3 has more to do with the new postcyberpunk literary movement and transhumanism than with the Gibson-Sterling mirrorshades movement.

In addition to rules changes to the Fuzion system and background, Cyberpunk V.3 also uses concepts taken from Pondsmith’s experience at Microsoft with computer and video games as well as corporate culture, such as a simpler character generation system using templates, web-based active content URL links for updates, and making groups, organizations, and corporations their own “characters”.

In addition, there is also the Fallen Angels, space-bound scavengers, the Ghosts, people who have uploaded their minds, and the Neo-Corps, the surviving corporations of the Cyberpunk 2020 world that are now organized in the form of organized crime syndicates. However, the six listed above are the only ones that have been mentioned in deep detail.

Two Cyberpunk 2020 novels have been published, both written by Stephen Billias:

Two different, independent collectible card games have been licensed and produced based on the Cyberpunk setting. The first, called Netrunner, was designed by Richard Garfield, and released by Wizards of the Coast in 1996 (the game has since been re-released as Android:_Netrunner but is no longer associated with the fictional Cyberpunk universe). The second was called Cyberpunk CCG, released in 2003, designed by Peter Wacks and published by Social Games.

Cyberpunk was ranked 10th in the 1996 reader poll of Arcane magazine to determine the 50 most popular roleplaying games of all time. The UK magazine’s editor Paul Pettengale commented: “Cyberpunk was the first of the ‘straight’ cyberpunk RPGs, and is still the best. The difference between cyberpunk and other sci-fi is a matter of style and attitude. Everything about the Cyberpunk game, from the background to the rules system, is designed to create this vital atmosphere. Cyberpunk is set in an unforgiving world where betrayal and double-crosses are common, trust is hard to find and paranoia is a useful survival trait.”[3]

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Cyberpunk 2020 – Wikipedia

Cyberpunk Roleplaying Game | Sindome

The corporations have grown larger than the countries they were once entities of, their wealth and power allowing them to build a refuge away from the chaos that has befallen the globe. Once invested in their failed salvation, Withmore City was born out of their necessity to turn a profit. The blood, sweat and very lives of the first citizens a testament to the inequality that has existed since it’s birth, the city teems with the overflowing masses of corporate drones and ramshackle destitute. With the law empowering it’s patrolmen to be judge, jury and executioner, the haves have a distinct advantage over the population that is forbidden from owning fire-arms themselves. The world progresses inexorably forward in 2103.

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Cyberpunk Roleplaying Game | Sindome

Cyberpunk 2021

IntroductionThe world of Cyberpunk is a violent, dangerous place, filled with people who’d love to rip your arm off and eat it. The traditional concepts of good and evil are replaced by the values of expedience-you do what you have to do to survive. If you can do some good along the way, great.But don’t count on it.Individual selves trying to survive, maintain control and even to preserve honor and dignity in a threatening world.The dominant human emotions are greed and hatred. Positive emotions arise from experiencing. Strive for experiences : “It’s the question that drives us, Neo.”Aesthetic style permeates everyday life and high and low cultures implode in a commodity universe.In the future world of cyberpunk the Modern world has not died but ruthless capitalist-modernists still economically dominate the world of cyberpunk.What is human identity if it’s programmable ?The rules :1) Style over Substance.2) Attitude is Everything.3) Always take it to the Edge.4) Break the Rules.AboutFew people still play Cyberpunk 2020. His publisher hasn’t released new sourcebooks for ages and the old ones accuse their age. I attempt through this website to keep alive the genre. It gather an incalculable amount of knowledge gleaned from many websites (see credits). Similarities with these sites are obvious but there are hundreds of hours of work to correct errors and inconsistencies, rewrite parts, edit drawings, translating and above all recast it in a interface in PHP/MySQL.Last update : January 07, 2015CreditsCyberpunk 2020 is a registered trademark of R.Talsorian CorporationSome from SDEN, Blackhammer Cyberpunk Project, Datafortress 2020, Serena Dawn Spaceport and various others websites.Some artworks come from Masamune Shirow, Talsorian Games, Wizards of the Coast and various sources.Artworks are credited by name (example : CMax_-_Bandolero.jpg artwork from CMax…)All original material are properties of their respective owners.

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Cyberpunk 2021

Cyberpunk 2020 – Wikipedia

Cyberpunk, mainly known by its second edition title Cyberpunk 2020, is a cyberpunk role-playing game written by Mike Pondsmith and published by R. Talsorian Games in 1988. Because of the release in 1990 of the second edition, set in a fictional 2020, the first edition is often now referred to as Cyberpunk 2013, following the fictional year, 2013, in which the game was set when it was first released in 1988. The third edition, published by R. Talsorian Games in 2005, is referred to as Cyberpunk V3.0 and is set further along the same fictional timeline as the former editions, during the 2030s.

This role-playing game is based on the works of William Gibson, Bruce Sterling, and other authors of the “Mirrorshades group”. The game includes a number of elements now associated with the 1980s,[citation needed] such as the idea of style over substance and glam rock.

The game tends to emphasize some aspects of the source material more than others. Much of the focus of the game is paid to combat, high-tech weaponry and cybernetic modification; however, performance-enhancing and recreational drug use is either played down or discouraged. Although artificial intelligence, genetic engineering, and cloning are barely mentioned in the core rulebook they are reintroduced in later add-ons such as the chromebook manuals.

The range of characters players can adopt is diverse, ranging from hardwired mercenaries with psycholinked weapons and boosted reflexes, to Armani-wearing corporate mega-yuppies who make and break national economies with the stroke of a pen.

Cyberpunk 2020 is the second edition of the original game, Cyberpunk 2013, often just called “Cyberpunk.” It was originally published as a boxed set in 1988, and R. Talsorian released a few supplements for this edition, including Rockerboy, Solo of Fortune, and Hardwired, the latter based on the Walter Jon Williams novel of the same name. Another supplement was Near Orbit (made obsolete by Deep Space in Cyberpunk 2020)

The second edition featured rules updates and changes, and additionally moved the timeline forward by 7 years, to 2020. The game’s timeline was also retconned to accommodate the German reunification in 1990.

The basic rules system of Cyberpunk 2020 (called the Interlock System) is skill-based instead of level-based, with players being awarded points to be spent on their skill sets. New skills outside their expertise can be learned but in-game time needs to be spent on this. A large part of the system is the player characters’ ability to augment themselves with cyber-technology and the ensuing loss of humanity as they become more machine than man.

Cyberpunk 2020 claims to lend itself to play in the street level, dark film noir genre, but certain aspects of the basic system can influence game sessions toward a high body-count, 1980s action movie style.

Although each player must choose a character class or “role” from those given in the basic rules, there is enough variation in the skill system so that no two members of the same class are alike. Because Cyberpunk 2020 is skill-based, the choice of skills around the class-specific special ability allows a wide range of character development choices including non-combatants.

The combat system, called “Friday Night Firefight”, emphasizes lethality. Several pages in the rules are devoted to discussing real combat vs. the illusions often seen on TV. Attempts are made to keep the combat as realistic as possible in a game setting. No matter who the character is, a single bullet can result in a lethal wound. This encourages a more tactically oriented and thought-out game play, which is in accordance to the rough-and-gritty ethos of the Cyberpunk genre. Also, the amount of damage a character can sustain does not increase as the character develops. The only way a character can become more damage resistant is to either become better at not being hit, physically augment their body with muscle (trained or implanted) or cybernetics, or wear armor.

Cyberpunk 2020, as the name implies, takes place in the year 2020. The game’s default setting is the fictional Night City, a city of five million people on the west coast of the United States located between Los Angeles and San Francisco. It is described as being near San Jose but the map puts it closer to Monterey. Later supplements to the game have contained information about the rest of the US and the world.

Following a vast socio-economical collapse and a period of martial law, the United States government has had to rely on several megacorporations to survive. This has given them a veritable carte blanche to operate as they will.

The Cyberpunk 2020 equivalent of character classes are roles, of which the main rulebook contains 9, and later supplements have expanded the number considerably. Each role has a special ability which gives a character a unique edge.

The game’s backstory had a series of powerful characters that influenced the world of Cyberpunk.

Firestorm was supposed to be the bridge between Cyberpunk 2020 (the 2nd edition rules and milieu) and Cyberpunk V.3 (the 3rd Edition rules and milieu). Its purpose was to shake up everything and get players prepared for the new background they were cooking up.

Set in 2023, the backstory has two deep-ocean-based megacorporations dueling for control over a third one (the period known as the “Ocean War”). When it escalates into open warfare, they each hire mercenaries. One hires the Japanese diversified technology and security services firm Arasaka and the other hires the American military technology and mercenary services firm Militech.

During the conflict, the long-standing bitter rivalry between Arasaka and Militech causes them to forget about their customers and go for each other. In the beginning they feud quietly (the phase called the “Shadow War”). But the covert war between the two heats up, becoming the Fourth Corporate War.

In the course of the adventure setting, the characters are hired to hunt down a pesky netrunner who is making their anonymous employer unhappy. Little do they realize that the hacker is the infamous (and already “dead”) Rache Bartmoss. Regardless of what they do, their employer pinpoints the apartment with an orbital mass-driver and vaporizes it.

Set in 2024, the second part of the Firestorm series sees Arasaka mobilize the Japanese Defense Force to take on Militech and the American military in a series of “proxy conflicts” (the phase dubbed the “Hot War”).

Waves of cyberviruses corrupt databases worldwide, leaving the isolated Arasaka Towers arcology in Night City the last viable data storage mainframe in the world.

Militech gathers together the surviving meta-characters and a Special Forces team played by the player characters into a “super team”. Their job: to take out Arasaka’s Night City arcology with a tactical nuke to deny its assets to Arasaka.

Then they find out that Alt Cunningham, who was captured by Arasaka earlier, is trapped inside the mainframe. Of course, Johnny won’t let Alt die a second time, so the team tries to break her out.

The end result is that the meta-characters go out in a blaze of glory. Johnny Silverhand dies at the hands of Arasaka’s cyborg assassin Adam Smasher in order to buy Spider Murphy enough time to break Alt into a series of datapackets and downloads her into the Net. Morgan Blackhand then takes on Adam Smasher atop Arasaka Towers while the rest of the team gets extracted out. The outcome of the duel is greatly disputed because the low-yield tactical nuke the team deployed sets off the 2-kiloton “self destruct” bomb Arasaka had placed in its data core. This destroyed much of downtown Night City and contaminated the ruins and anything downwind of it with lethal fallout.

The long-awaited third volume, Aftershock promised to tie all the loose ends together and herald the end of the old Cyberpunk 2020 (or “Cyberpunk V.2”) game world and usher in the beginning of the new Cyberpunk 2030 (or “Cyberpunk V.3”) game world. It was later cancelled and its material was folded into the Cyberpunk 203X rules book.

Cybergeneration takes place in an alternate future of the core Cyberpunk 2020 timeline, where a nanotech virus epidemic has resulted in a subgroup of teenagers with unusual, superhuman skills. It began as a supplement that still required the Cyberpunk 2020 rulebook, but the second edition became a standalone game.

Ever since the 1998 release of the Cyberpunk 2020 sourcebook Firestorm: Shockwave, fans of the game had been waiting for a third edition of the Cyberpunk game, known as Cyberpunk 203X. Over the years, the entire project had at times been discounted as vaporware, its delays due to other projects and Pondsmith’s involvement in the development of The Matrix Online.[citation needed]

The game was released first in PDF form on December 17, 2005 and as a conventional book on January 15, 2006.

The setting has been heavily updated from its last event book series, Firestorm, which covered the opening of the Fourth Corporate War. The aftermath of the Fourth Corporate War has resulted in widespread corruption of the Net and major losses of hardcopied data, to the point that all data is intangible and recent recorded history is in doubt. An example that pops up in Pondsmith’s demos at conventions, releases on the Internet, and in the finished game is that history has become so corrupted that many people in the world now believe Richard Nixon, instead of resigning over Watergate, committed suicide on camera and that memes such as the moon landing being hoaxed become prevalent.

The war has also led to the collapse of nations, the world economy, and many of the staple megacorporations. This civil upheaval leads to the rise of the “altcults”, alternative cultures similar in vein to the “phyles” from Neal Stephenson’s The Diamond Age. In fact, Cyberpunk V.3 has more to do with the new postcyberpunk literary movement and transhumanism than with the Gibson-Sterling mirrorshades movement.

In addition to rules changes to the Fuzion system and background, Cyberpunk V.3 also uses concepts taken from Pondsmith’s experience at Microsoft with computer and video games as well as corporate culture, such as a simpler character generation system using templates, web-based active content URL links for updates, and making groups, organizations, and corporations their own “characters”.

In addition, there is also the Fallen Angels, space-bound scavengers, the Ghosts, people who have uploaded their minds, and the Neo-Corps, the surviving corporations of the Cyberpunk 2020 world that are now organized in the form of organized crime syndicates. However, the six listed above are the only ones that have been mentioned in deep detail.

Two Cyberpunk 2020 novels have been published, both written by Stephen Billias:

Two different, independent collectible card games have been licensed and produced based on the Cyberpunk setting. The first, called Netrunner, was designed by Richard Garfield, and released by Wizards of the Coast in 1996 (the game has since been re-released as Android:_Netrunner but is no longer associated with the fictional Cyberpunk universe). The second was called Cyberpunk CCG, released in 2003, designed by Peter Wacks and published by Social Games.

Cyberpunk was ranked 10th in the 1996 reader poll of Arcane magazine to determine the 50 most popular roleplaying games of all time. The UK magazine’s editor Paul Pettengale commented: “Cyberpunk was the first of the ‘straight’ cyberpunk RPGs, and is still the best. The difference between cyberpunk and other sci-fi is a matter of style and attitude. Everything about the Cyberpunk game, from the background to the rules system, is designed to create this vital atmosphere. Cyberpunk is set in an unforgiving world where betrayal and double-crosses are common, trust is hard to find and paranoia is a useful survival trait.”[3]

Continue reading here:

Cyberpunk 2020 – Wikipedia

Cyberpunk 2020 – Wikipedia

Cyberpunk, mainly known by its second edition title Cyberpunk 2020, is a cyberpunk role-playing game written by Mike Pondsmith and published by R. Talsorian Games in 1988. Because of the release in 1990 of the second edition, set in a fictional 2020, the first edition is often now referred to as Cyberpunk 2013, following the fictional year, 2013, in which the game was set when it was first released in 1988. The third edition, published by R. Talsorian Games in 2005, is referred to as Cyberpunk V3.0 and is set further along the same fictional timeline as the former editions, during the 2030s.

This role-playing game is based on the works of William Gibson, Bruce Sterling, and other authors of the “Mirrorshades group”. The game includes a number of elements now associated with the 1980s,[citation needed] such as the idea of style over substance and glam rock.

The game tends to emphasize some aspects of the source material more than others. Much of the focus of the game is paid to combat, high-tech weaponry and cybernetic modification; however, performance-enhancing and recreational drug use is either played down or discouraged. Although artificial intelligence, genetic engineering, and cloning are barely mentioned in the core rulebook they are reintroduced in later add-ons such as the chromebook manuals.

The range of characters players can adopt is diverse, ranging from hardwired mercenaries with psycholinked weapons and boosted reflexes, to Armani-wearing corporate mega-yuppies who make and break national economies with the stroke of a pen.

Cyberpunk 2020 is the second edition of the original game, Cyberpunk 2013, often just called “Cyberpunk.” It was originally published as a boxed set in 1988, and R. Talsorian released a few supplements for this edition, including Rockerboy, Solo of Fortune, and Hardwired, the latter based on the Walter Jon Williams novel of the same name. Another supplement was Near Orbit (made obsolete by Deep Space in Cyberpunk 2020)

The second edition featured rules updates and changes, and additionally moved the timeline forward by 7 years, to 2020. The game’s timeline was also retconned to accommodate the German reunification in 1990.

The basic rules system of Cyberpunk 2020 (called the Interlock System) is skill-based instead of level-based, with players being awarded points to be spent on their skill sets. New skills outside their expertise can be learned but in-game time needs to be spent on this. A large part of the system is the player characters’ ability to augment themselves with cyber-technology and the ensuing loss of humanity as they become more machine than man.

Cyberpunk 2020 claims to lend itself to play in the street level, dark film noir genre, but certain aspects of the basic system can influence game sessions toward a high body-count, 1980s action movie style.

Although each player must choose a character class or “role” from those given in the basic rules, there is enough variation in the skill system so that no two members of the same class are alike. Because Cyberpunk 2020 is skill-based, the choice of skills around the class-specific special ability allows a wide range of character development choices including non-combatants.

The combat system, called “Friday Night Firefight”, emphasizes lethality. Several pages in the rules are devoted to discussing real combat vs. the illusions often seen on TV. Attempts are made to keep the combat as realistic as possible in a game setting. No matter who the character is, a single bullet can result in a lethal wound. This encourages a more tactically oriented and thought-out game play, which is in accordance to the rough-and-gritty ethos of the Cyberpunk genre. Also, the amount of damage a character can sustain does not increase as the character develops. The only way a character can become more damage resistant is to either become better at not being hit, physically augment their body with muscle (trained or implanted) or cybernetics, or wear armor.

Cyberpunk 2020, as the name implies, takes place in the year 2020. The game’s default setting is the fictional Night City, a city of five million people on the west coast of the United States located between Los Angeles and San Francisco. It is described as being near San Jose but the map puts it closer to Monterey. Later supplements to the game have contained information about the rest of the US and the world.

Following a vast socio-economical collapse and a period of martial law, the United States government has had to rely on several megacorporations to survive. This has given them a veritable carte blanche to operate as they will.

The Cyberpunk 2020 equivalent of character classes are roles, of which the main rulebook contains 9, and later supplements have expanded the number considerably. Each role has a special ability which gives a character a unique edge.

The game’s backstory had a series of powerful characters that influenced the world of Cyberpunk.

Firestorm was supposed to be the bridge between Cyberpunk 2020 (the 2nd edition rules and milieu) and Cyberpunk V.3 (the 3rd Edition rules and milieu). Its purpose was to shake up everything and get players prepared for the new background they were cooking up.

Set in 2023, the backstory has two deep-ocean-based megacorporations dueling for control over a third one (the period known as the “Ocean War”). When it escalates into open warfare, they each hire mercenaries. One hires the Japanese diversified technology and security services firm Arasaka and the other hires the American military technology and mercenary services firm Militech.

During the conflict, the long-standing bitter rivalry between Arasaka and Militech causes them to forget about their customers and go for each other. In the beginning they feud quietly (the phase called the “Shadow War”). But the covert war between the two heats up, becoming the Fourth Corporate War.

In the course of the adventure setting, the characters are hired to hunt down a pesky netrunner who is making their anonymous employer unhappy. Little do they realize that the hacker is the infamous (and already “dead”) Rache Bartmoss. Regardless of what they do, their employer pinpoints the apartment with an orbital mass-driver and vaporizes it.

Set in 2024, the second part of the Firestorm series sees Arasaka mobilize the Japanese Defense Force to take on Militech and the American military in a series of “proxy conflicts” (the phase dubbed the “Hot War”).

Waves of cyberviruses corrupt databases worldwide, leaving the isolated Arasaka Towers arcology in Night City the last viable data storage mainframe in the world.

Militech gathers together the surviving meta-characters and a Special Forces team played by the player characters into a “super team”. Their job: to take out Arasaka’s Night City arcology with a tactical nuke to deny its assets to Arasaka.

Then they find out that Alt Cunningham, who was captured by Arasaka earlier, is trapped inside the mainframe. Of course, Johnny won’t let Alt die a second time, so the team tries to break her out.

The end result is that the meta-characters go out in a blaze of glory. Johnny Silverhand dies at the hands of Arasaka’s cyborg assassin Adam Smasher in order to buy Spider Murphy enough time to break Alt into a series of datapackets and downloads her into the Net. Morgan Blackhand then takes on Adam Smasher atop Arasaka Towers while the rest of the team gets extracted out. The outcome of the duel is greatly disputed because the low-yield tactical nuke the team deployed sets off the 2-kiloton “self destruct” bomb Arasaka had placed in its data core. This destroyed much of downtown Night City and contaminated the ruins and anything downwind of it with lethal fallout.

The long-awaited third volume, Aftershock promised to tie all the loose ends together and herald the end of the old Cyberpunk 2020 (or “Cyberpunk V.2”) game world and usher in the beginning of the new Cyberpunk 2030 (or “Cyberpunk V.3”) game world. It was later cancelled and its material was folded into the Cyberpunk 203X rules book.

Cybergeneration takes place in an alternate future of the core Cyberpunk 2020 timeline, where a nanotech virus epidemic has resulted in a subgroup of teenagers with unusual, superhuman skills. It began as a supplement that still required the Cyberpunk 2020 rulebook, but the second edition became a standalone game.

Ever since the 1998 release of the Cyberpunk 2020 sourcebook Firestorm: Shockwave, fans of the game had been waiting for a third edition of the Cyberpunk game, known as Cyberpunk 203X. Over the years, the entire project had at times been discounted as vaporware, its delays due to other projects and Pondsmith’s involvement in the development of The Matrix Online.[citation needed]

The game was released first in PDF form on December 17, 2005 and as a conventional book on January 15, 2006.

The setting has been heavily updated from its last event book series, Firestorm, which covered the opening of the Fourth Corporate War. The aftermath of the Fourth Corporate War has resulted in widespread corruption of the Net and major losses of hardcopied data, to the point that all data is intangible and recent recorded history is in doubt. An example that pops up in Pondsmith’s demos at conventions, releases on the Internet, and in the finished game is that history has become so corrupted that many people in the world now believe Richard Nixon, instead of resigning over Watergate, committed suicide on camera and that memes such as the moon landing being hoaxed become prevalent.

The war has also led to the collapse of nations, the world economy, and many of the staple megacorporations. This civil upheaval leads to the rise of the “altcults”, alternative cultures similar in vein to the “phyles” from Neal Stephenson’s The Diamond Age. In fact, Cyberpunk V.3 has more to do with the new postcyberpunk literary movement and transhumanism than with the Gibson-Sterling mirrorshades movement.

In addition to rules changes to the Fuzion system and background, Cyberpunk V.3 also uses concepts taken from Pondsmith’s experience at Microsoft with computer and video games as well as corporate culture, such as a simpler character generation system using templates, web-based active content URL links for updates, and making groups, organizations, and corporations their own “characters”.

In addition, there is also the Fallen Angels, space-bound scavengers, the Ghosts, people who have uploaded their minds, and the Neo-Corps, the surviving corporations of the Cyberpunk 2020 world that are now organized in the form of organized crime syndicates. However, the six listed above are the only ones that have been mentioned in deep detail.

Two Cyberpunk 2020 novels have been published, both written by Stephen Billias:

Two different, independent collectible card games have been licensed and produced based on the Cyberpunk setting. The first, called Netrunner, was designed by Richard Garfield, and released by Wizards of the Coast in 1996 (the game has since been re-released as Android:_Netrunner but is no longer associated with the fictional Cyberpunk universe). The second was called Cyberpunk CCG, released in 2003, designed by Peter Wacks and published by Social Games.

Cyberpunk was ranked 10th in the 1996 reader poll of Arcane magazine to determine the 50 most popular roleplaying games of all time. The UK magazine’s editor Paul Pettengale commented: “Cyberpunk was the first of the ‘straight’ cyberpunk RPGs, and is still the best. The difference between cyberpunk and other sci-fi is a matter of style and attitude. Everything about the Cyberpunk game, from the background to the rules system, is designed to create this vital atmosphere. Cyberpunk is set in an unforgiving world where betrayal and double-crosses are common, trust is hard to find and paranoia is a useful survival trait.”[3]

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Cyberpunk 2020 – Wikipedia


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