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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 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 High Frontier 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 second was called Cyberpunk CCG, released in 2003, designed by Peter Wacks and published by Social Games.

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Cyberpunk 2020 – Wikipedia

Cyberpunk – Wikipedia

Cyberpunk is a subgenre of science fiction in a future setting that tends to focus on society as “high tech low life”[1] featuring advanced technological and scientific achievements, such as information technology and cybernetics, juxtaposed with a degree of breakdown or radical change in the social order.[2]

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.[3] 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”).[4] Much of the genre’s atmosphere echoes film noir, and written works in the genre often use techniques from detective fiction.[5]

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.

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. Replacing the celebration of conformity to norms intrinsic in 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 sexual revolution with an avant-garde style influenced by the Beat Generation (especially William S. Burroughs’ own SF), dadaism, and their own rhetorical ideas.[7] Ballard attacked the idea that stories should follow the story models popular since the time of Ancient Greece, that they 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.”[8]

This had a profound influence on a new generation of writers, some of whom would come to call themselves “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 Phillip 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, say the Isaac Asimov Robot series that laid its philosophical foundation. This novel was made into the seminal movie Blade Runner, released in 1982, 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 was 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.”

About that time, William Gibson’s novel Neuromancer was published, delivering the 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.[11] 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.[12]

In the subsequent decade, the archetypes so perfectly framed in Gibson’s Neuromancer became increasingly used as tropes in the genre, 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 exponents of the cyberpunk field include William Gibson, Neal Stephenson, Bruce Sterling, Bruce Bethke, Pat Cadigan, Rudy Rucker, John Shirley and Philip K. Dick (author of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, from which the film Blade Runner was adapted).[14]

Blade Runner can be seen as a quintessential example of the cyberpunk style and theme.[3]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:[15]Akira, Gunnm, Ghost in the Shell, Cowboy Bebop, Serial Experiments Lain, Dennou Coil, Ergo Proxy and Psycho Pass being among the most notable.[15]

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.[18][19][20]

In some cyberpunk writing, much of the action takes place online, in cyberspace, blurring the line between actual and virtual reality.[21] 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.”[17] 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.[22] The cityscapes of Hong Kong[23] and Shanghai[24] 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”.[25] 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.[23] 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.[26] 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”[27]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.[28]

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.[29]

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.[30] 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.[31]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.[32]

William Gibson with his novel Neuromancer (1984) is likely[according to whom?] 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.”[33]

Early on, cyberpunk was hailed as a radical departure from science-fiction standards and a new manifestation of vitality.[34] 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.[35] 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).[34] 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.[34] For example, Philip K. Dick’s works contain recurring themes of social decay, artificial intelligence, paranoia, and blurred lines between objective and subjective realities.[36] The influential cyberpunk movie Blade Runner (1982) is based on his book, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?.[37] 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.”[38] Other important[according to whom?] predecessors include Alfred Bester’s two most celebrated novels, The Demolished Man and The Stars My Destination,[39] as well as Vernor Vinge’s novella True Names.[40]

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.”[41]

Fredric Jameson considers cyberpunk the “supreme literary expression if not of postmodernism, then of late capitalism itself”.[42]

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.”[43]

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.[44] 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[45] and New Rose Hotel,[46][47] both based upon short stories by William Gibson, flopped commercially and critically.

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,[48]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.”[49] 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.[17]

Cyberpunk has influenced many anime and manga including the ground-breaking Akira, 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 are currently developing a cyberpunk game, Cyberpunk 2077.[50]

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. This was allegedly because the GURPS Cyberpunk sourcebook could be used to perpetrate computer crime. That was, in fact, not the main reason for the raid, but after the event it was too late to correct the public’s impression.[51] Steve Jackson Games later 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.

Shortly thereafter, Val / Variable Assembly Language For Use With Artificial Intelligence was utilized in conjunction with the underground’s programming language Perl to design an online punk role playing game, Chrystal City, to mask crimes against necessity law, illegal by anarchist ethic, in the global manifestation of a cyberpunk virtual reality intended for astral space.

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.

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 Phillip K. Dick and William Gibson respectively.

Vaporwave and Synthwave are also influenced by cyberpunk. The former has been interpreted as a dystopian[53] critique of capitalism[54] 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 [17] the Sony Center in the Potsdamer Platz public square of Berlin, Germany.[55]

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[56], 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 by the city’s political, physical, and economic isolation has caused many in academia to be fascinated by the ingenuity of its spawning.[57]

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.[58]

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.[59]

Role playing game publisher R. Talsorian Games, owner of the Cyberpunk 2020 franchise, trademarked the word “Cyberpunk” in the United States in 2012.[60] 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.[61][62]

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Cyberpunk – Wikipedia

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 Books – Goodreads

Cyberpunk is a subgenre of science fiction in a future setting that tends to focus on society as “high tech low life” featuring advanced technological and scientific achievements, such as information technology and cybernetics, juxtaposed with a degree of breakdown or radical change in the social order.

Cyberpunk plots often center on conflict among artificial intelligences, hackers, and among 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.The setting

Cyberpunk plots often center on conflict among artificial intelligences, hackers, and among 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.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”). Much of the genre’s atmosphere echoes film noir, and written works in the genre often use techniques from detective fiction.

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. Lawrence Person

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Cyberpunk Books – Goodreads

Cyberpunk 2020 | Cyberpunk Wiki | FANDOM powered by Wikia

Cover of Cyberpunk 2020

Cyberpunk 2020 is a cyberpunk role-playing game written by Mike Pondsmith and published by R. Talsorian Games.

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, 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 augmentations (cybernetic body modifications). However, performance-enhancing drugs 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 very 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.” Cyberpunk 2020 featured rules updates and changes, and additionally moved the timeline forward by 7 years, to 2020. The game’s timeline was also reconnected 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 sneaky 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.

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Cyberpunk 2020 | Cyberpunk Wiki | FANDOM powered by Wikia

Cyberpunk shooter ‘Ruiner’ hits PC and consoles September 26th – Engadget

The developer describes Ruiner as “a brutal action shooter set in the year 2091 in the cyber metropolis Rengkok.” You’ll play as a wired-up psychopath, apparently, who’s trying to save his kidnapped brother with the help of a mysterious hacker friend, while trying to take down the corporations that rule the world.

It’s all about quick reflexes, a sweet video-helmet, and a full complement of weapons. You’ll notice the various implements of death in the above trailer: the Storm V plasma rifle, the one-handed Katana, the Fury pulse railgun, the Electra high-voltage cannon, a Sonic-XR ultrasonic gun, and the Shock EMP grenade. That’s just a start of course, with a laser cannon, automatic shooter, splitter gun, deployable force field, rotary machine gun, lightning bolt generator, submachine gun, and basic pipe rounding out the arsenal at your disposal.

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Cyberpunk shooter ‘Ruiner’ hits PC and consoles September 26th – Engadget

Cyberpunk 2077 – IGN

Cyberpunk 2077 is based on renowned pen-and-paper-RPG designer Mike Pondsmith’s Cyberpunk system and created by CD Projekt (the acclaimed development group behind the hit RPG The Witcher.) Players are thrown into the dark future of the year 2077 and into a world where advanced technologies have become both the salvation and the curse of humanity. A multi-threaded, nonlinear story designed for mature players takes place in the sprawling metropolis of Night City and its surroundings. Along the way, visit places well known from Cyberpunk 2020, including a combat zone completely taken over by gangs, the legendary Afterlife joint and the nostalgic Forlorn Hope.

Freedom of action and diversity in gameplay is delivered thanks to the sandbox nature of the game and mechanics inspired by the Cyberpunk pen-and-paper system, fine tuned to meet the requirements of a modern RPG. Players experience the world through their own unique characters chosen from different classes — be they blood-thirsty mercenaries or cunning hackers that they will equip with vast selection of cybernetic implants and deadly weapons. Gameplay will pump adrenaline through players’ veins and be consistent with the celebrated Cyberpunk spirit — rebellion, style, edge, uncertainty. And of course, a cyberpunk reality cannot be deprived of murderous steel — guns, rifles, implants, dozens of gadgets and other varied pieces of equipment needed to survive on the streets of Night City.

NOTE: This game has been officially announced as a title in production and is likely planned for release on the PC platform, but it has not yet been officially announced for any specific system. Please check back for official info.

Publisher: CD Projekt

Developer: CD Projekt

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Cyberpunk 2077 – IGN

Urban Dictionary: cyberpunk

A subgenre of science fiction that nerds can never agree on the exact meaning of. A good guide line though is the two words in that portmanteau: “cyber” and “punk.” Does the movie/book/show/comic/whatever in question have a heavy emphasis on technology? (As opposed to aliens, space exploration, time travel, etc.) Then it’s got the “cyber.” Does it have a punk-like feel to it? (Dark, neon-filled setting, black leather and sunglasses, techno-punk soundtrack, devil-may-care attitudes, etc.) Then it’s got the “punk.”

Depending on which nerd you ask, examples of cyberpunk include: “The Matrix,” “Blade Runner,” “The Terminator,” “Total Recall,” “Snow Crash,” “Neuromancer,” “Burning Chrome,” “Hammerjack,” “Altered Carbon,” “Shadowrun,” “Repo: The Genetic Opera,” “Inception,” “Ultraviolet,” “Aeon Flux,” “Tron,” and probably tons of other classic examples this writer is forgetting.

Cliches to look for, that may indicate a cyberpunk story:

– Hackers – Virtual reality – A dark (in any sense of the word) future – Sunglasses – Leather – Pimpin’ suits – Razor Girls – Techno music – Neon – Urban settings – Evil corporate dudes – Anything related to Japan – Spunky teenage couriers on wheels (skateboards, bikes, roller blades, etc.) – A wise and mysterious black dude – Sarcasm – Robots – Gratuitous action/violence/boobies – Hearing yourself say “Damn this is so cheesy, but I love it so much!” – Giant, futuristic blimps

“It was made in 1999. True cyberpunk must be from the ’80s, like ‘Blade Runner’ and ‘Neuromancer.'”

“Dude, that’s like saying ‘Harry Potter’ can’t be fantasy, because it wasn’t written in the same decade as ‘Lord of the Rings.'”

“…it’s *post*-cyberpunk, is what it is.”

“Dude….waaat?”

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Urban Dictionary: cyberpunk

New Cyberpunk Game Asks Players to Invade People’s Nightmares – Motherboard

Amir is dying in front of me. There’s blood all over his apartment and he’s barely aware of his surroundings. I ask him who did this and he tries to answer, but only bloody wheezes get past his lips. It’s alright though, I’ve got other ways to get the information I need.

I pull a cable from the dream eater on my right hand, cradle Amir’s head, find the port on the back of his neck, and jack into his mind. Our consciousnesses merge and I’m wandering the fragmented, broken nightmares of a dying man. I need to see the moment he was attacked, but to get there, I’ll have to navigate his nightmares. The longer I stay, the more my own memories bleed into his. If I’m in his head too long, I’ll lose all sense of where Amir ends and I begin.

This scene takes place in the early hours of Observer, a new cyberpunk horror game from Polish developer Bloober Team SAthe indie developers behind Layers of Fear. Observer puts you in the shoes of Dan Lazarski, a corporate detective who specializes in neural interrogation.

He’s a leecha person with the tech and the temerity to jack directly into unwilling people’s minds and steal information. People in the world of Observer fear leeches because they tend to go crazy after rummaging around in the brains of society’s criminals. As players move through the game, they watch Lazarski ‘s sanity unfurl as he slams corporation-approved mood stabilizers to manage his fragile mental state and keep reality in perspective.

It’s not a “walking simulator” and it’s not an adventure game. There are jump scares, psychological horror, puzzles, detective work, and dialogue treesbut no combat to speak of, and few consequences beyond Lazarski’s slow descent into madness. Players explore their surroundings to move the story forward. The first case puts the detective in a tenement building rooting through the apartment of a dead hacker with a missing head. You scan the body for trauma, look for hidden panels, and open drawers searching for clues.

It’s a good game elevated by its amazing sense of place and Rutger Hauer. Cypberpunk icon Hauer is the man who played Roy Batty in Blade Runner and delivered everyone’s favorite monologue about tears and rain. In Observer, his likeness and voice lend weight to Lazarski. His noir-style monologues, gritty voice, and subdued performance made me imagine what Blade Runner would have been like with Hauer as Deckard instead of Harrison Ford.

Hauer is great but the main draw to Observer is its story and setting. The game takes place in Krakow, Poland in 2084. After a terrible digital plague called the nanophage wiped out most of the population, East fought West in a massive war that killed most people on Earth. One of the few places left relatively untouched was Poland, where a new “republic” organized around a megacorp and quickly took power.

Lazarski exists in this world as a leechfeeding off the dreams of the destitutebut the sudden reappearance of his missing son humanizes him.

Observer’s Krakow is as hellish as you’d imagine a city run by corporation to be. Trash litters the streets, dayglow advertisements assault you at every turn, and tech-junkies addicted to strange drugs quiver in dark alleys. Boomer Team SA nailed the high-tech, low-life atmosphere.

The way Observer tells that story is excellent. As Lazarski works cases, he’s also chasing after that missing son. But it’s also possible that the detective’s son is dead and the leech is just beginning to lose himself. Every stroll through the memories of a suspect teases out bits of his past until his official cases and his personal story blend together and Lazarski and the player are both so disoriented they have trouble telling what’s real and what’s not.

A stranger’s dream is a great place to set a horror game. Dreams are personal and strange and often only make sense to the dreamer. Entering, and even watching, the dreams of another person is an old fiction trope, one science is getting closer to making a reality.

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New Cyberpunk Game Asks Players to Invade People’s Nightmares – Motherboard

Observer Explores The Scary Side Of Cyberpunk – Kotaku Australia

The image above is that of a woman trapped at the moment before her violent death, endlessly repeating the combination to a secret door she’ll never reach. It’s just one small sliver of the sci-fi mind-fuckery that awaits in the Rutger Hauer-voiced cyberpunk horror game Observer.

Developed by Bloober Team, the studio behind Layers of Fear, Observer is a psychological cyber-horror game set in a dark, dystopian vision of 2084 Poland. Between war and the nanophage, a deadly virus that targets the cybernetically-enhanced, humanity is pretty much broken. The survivors have submitted to the rule of a shadowy corporation that controls where and how they live.

Veteran Dutch actor Rutger Hauer plays Daniel Lazarski, a corporate-funded cybernetic Observer, a neural detective with the ability to interface with the minds of others and explore their oft-fractured psyches.

Lazarski’s own mind isn’t perfect. He suffers from a condition that requires he take frequent doses of a special medicine or risk “desynchronisation”. The more stressed he becomes the lower his medication levels drop, causing glitches in his perception. He may be an elite cop, but he has the same vulnerable, electronically-accessible mind as most of the remaining humans in 2084. He can’t even trust himself.

The game opens with Lazarski receiving a call from the son he hasn’t seen in years. Adam Lazarski gives his father a warning: “You are not in control.” Then the call drops. Tracing the call to a run-down apartment building out in the sticks, Lazarski rushes off to find his son. When he arrives he finds a decapitated body that may or may not be Adam. As he investigates the crime scene a nanophage alert sends the entire building into lockdown. Lazarski is trapped inside with a murderer, but also something much worse humanity’s leftovers.

With most of the building’s tenants sealed inside their homes for their “own protection”, much of Lazarski’s interactions with the living involve conversations with small static viewscreens. Hauer’s voice warbles like he has a mouthful of moist pebbles, his inflection occasionally shifting erratically, as if glitched. The people he talks with range from the oddly friendly and upbeat to violent and angry. All of them are lost and broken.

While not learning horrible things about horrible people, Lazarski uses his special cybernetic enhancements to try to solve the murder and find his son. A sort of electronic vision allows him to see and interact with wires, bits of technology, and electrical components, even those buried deep inside human bodies. His biological vision allows him to scan for DNA and analyse blood.

His greatest tool, however, is the ability to jack into the brains of other people and explore their thoughts, hopes and fears. Mostly fears. In the extended clip below, Lazarski enters the mind of a dying murder victim in order to glean information about his attacker. It’s one seriously fucked-up trip.

Developer Bloober Team has earned a reputation for creating creepy horror games. They have mastered the use of off-putting sound and visual cues to layer on the fear. The difference in Observer is they have multiple realities to play with. There’s the real world, which isn’t always real to begin with, and then there’s the mindscape, where anything can happen. These digital mental constructs are packed with horrifying imagery, inventive puzzles, and the odd deadly creature relentlessly hunting for interlopers. Nowhere is safe. As Adam warns at the beginning of the game, Lazarski is not in control.

I’m about five or six hours into Observer, having had to stop playing early this morning because I needed sleep and certainly not because I was frightened. Between the main investigation and the side missions I’ve discovered exploring the future’s most horrible tenement, I have many more hours to go. I’m looking forward to it.

Observer is now available on PC.

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I had this conversation on my Facebook recently and it went absolutely ballistic, so I thought I’d bring it to Kotaku. Best Back-To-Back movies by a single Director. What are your favourites? Top of my list. Ridley Scott with Alien and Blade Runner. Imagine making those two movies back-to-back. Insane.

It’s understandable that most people don’t finish the story campaign in games that trade more heavily on their multiplayer, like Call of Duty or Battlefield. But you’d expect singleplayer-only games to be different, right?

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Observer Explores The Scary Side Of Cyberpunk – Kotaku Australia

‘Ruiner’ is not just a cyberpunk ‘Hotline Miami’ – Engadget – Engadget

“At first [Ruiner] started off as a sort of cyberpunk Die Hard adventure, where you hacked your way up a building. Even at this point working on early ideas, we thought, ‘Wow, this is like a party'”, added Tomkowicz. “We then thought of taking the gameplay direction similar to Hotline and we were still looking for a graphics designer. We found Benedict Szneider and showed him some early graphical references. He simply told us: No. Let’s do this in a different way,” she added. That’s how the Ruiner you see here started.

Tomkowicz jokes that for a lot of cyberpunk fans disagree that this can even be the right term. (“Not enough neon blue and pink!”) This isn’t cyberpunk, then, but it’s certainly inspired by it. As you tear your way through corridors and rooms, the environments wouldn’t look out of place in Ghost In The Shell or other near-future anime properties. There’s some Matrix-esque touches here and there too, but also a lot of run-down dirtiness. Think Syndicate Wars, think the original Alien movie.

The team says it look a lot of inspiration from Japanese animation — and that layer of misery and grit you’ll see smeared across the screen was another part of that. “The game should feel like you’re standing on the edge of a bridge, in the middle of the night,” explains Tomkowicz, half smiling.

First impressions might suggest a whole lot of mindless slashing and shooting, screen after screen, but there’s an elegance to the combat that’s hinted at even during the introductory stages: You can pre-assign your “dash” locations to avoid fire, take out a few enemies and reach cover all in one tidy movement.

Not that I could manage that. Coupled with other augments (shields and furthers methods of destruction) and using both analog sticks to steer and shoot, there’s a steep learning curve that kept getting me killed.

Yes, the game isn’t easy, but I wouldn’t call it unforgiving, either. If your anonymous dot matrix-headed protagonist falls, he’s swiftly resurrected to a few screens earlier, and you’re back in the thick of it. The addictiveness has its drawbacks though — it’s an exhausting game, and I needed a breather after my short demo at Gamescom. As for the team at Reikon, they’re still readying the game for PC and console launch September 26th — then there’s DLC incoming and then? “We need to rest,” says Tomkowicz.

Follow all the latest news live from Gamescom here!

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‘Ruiner’ is not just a cyberpunk ‘Hotline Miami’ – Engadget – Engadget

Observer Explores the Scary Side Of Cyberpunk – Kotaku – Kotaku

GIF

The image above is that of a woman trapped at the moment before her violent death, endlessly repeating the combination to a secret door shell never reach. Its just one small sliver of the sci-fi mind-fuckery that awaits in the Rutger Hauer-voiced cyberpunk horror game Observer.

Developed by Bloober Team, the studio behind Layers of Fear, Observer is a psychological cyber-horror game set in a dark, dystopian vision of 2084 Poland. Between war and the nanophage, a deadly virus that targets the cybernetically-enhanced, humanity is pretty much broken. The survivors have submitted to the rule of a shadowy corporation that controls where and how they live.

Veteran Dutch actor Rutger Hauer plays Daniel Lazarski, a corporate-funded cybernetic Observer, a neural detective with the ability to interface with the minds of others and explore their oft-fractured psyches.

Lazarskis own mind isnt perfect. He suffers from a condition that requires he take frequent doses of a special medicine or risk desynchronization. The more stressed he becomes the lower his medication levels drop, causing glitches in his perception. He may be an elite cop, but he has the same vulnerable, electronically-accessible mind as most of the remaining humans in 2084. He cant even trust himself.

The game opens with Lazarski receiving a call from the son he hasnt seen in years. Adam Lazarski gives his father a warning: You are not in control. Then the call drops. Tracing the call to a run-down apartment building out in the sticks, Lazarski rushes off to find his son. When he arrives he finds a decapitated body that may or may not be Adam. As he investigates the crime scene a nanophage alert sends the entire building into lockdown. Lazarski is trapped inside with a murderer, but also something much worsehumanitys leftovers.

With most of the buildings tenants sealed inside their homes for their own protection, much of Lazarskis interactions with the living involve conversations with small static viewscreens. Hauers voice warbles like hes got a mouthful of moist pebbles, his inflection occasionally shifting erratically, as if glitched. The people he talks with range from the oddly friendly and upbeat to violent and angry. All of them are lost and broken.

While not learning horrible things about horrible people, Lazarski uses his special cybernetic enhancements to try to solve the murder and find his son. A sort of electronic vision allows him to see and interact with wires, bits of technology and electrical components, even those buried deep inside human bodies. His biological vision allows him to scan for DNA and analyze blood.

His greatest tool, however, is the ability to jack into the brains of other people and explore their thoughts, hopes and fears. Mostly fears. In the extended clip below, Lazarski enters the mind of a dying murder victim in order to glean information about his attacker. Its one seriously fucked-up trip.

Developer Bloober Team has earned a reputation for creating creepy horror games. Theyve mastered the use of off-putting sound and visual cues to layer on the fear. The difference in Observer is theyve got multiple realities to play with. Theres the real world, which isnt always real to begin with, and then theres the mindscape, where anything can happen. These digital mental constructs are packed with horrifying imagery, inventive puzzles and the odd deadly creature relentlessly hunting for interlopers. Nowhere is safe. As Adam warns at the beginning of the game, Lazarski is not in control.

Im about five or six hours into Observer, having had to stop playing early this morning because I needed sleep and certainly not because I was frightened. Between the main investigation and the side missions Ive discovered exploring the futures most horrible tenement, Ive got many more hours to go. Im looking forward to it.

Observer is now available on Playstation 4, PC and Xbox One.

Visit link:

Observer Explores the Scary Side Of Cyberpunk – Kotaku – Kotaku

Observer Review – Twinfinite – Twinfinite

Observer on PlayStation 4

Right from the off, Observer is textbook cyberpunk. Grim and brooding with atmosphere, its world feels like a digital recreation of a William Gibson novel. Observer uses this unsettling ambiance to tee up a gripping horror narrative, but it also simultaneously weaves in themes of paranoia and espionage classic to the genre. It had me utterly captivated over the course of six hours, soaking up the tension of its eerie environment and locked into unraveling the mystery of its story. So captivated that even persistent technical issues such as frame rate drops and glitches almost werent enough to break my immersion. Unfortunately, though, slowly but surely the sum of these issues began to weigh heavy, culminating in a game-breaking glitch that stopped me dead in my tracks and disappointingly ruined the experience.

Observer is a first-person adventure game. I hesitate to use that popular and reductive term walking sim, but that is essentially what it is. As an Observer an augmented KGB police detective youll wander around a retro-cyberpunk vision of future Poland piecing together an ever thickening plot. Traversing a beaten up apartment complex, gameplay revolves around scanning crime scenes, interrogating residents, reading journals and emails, solving basic puzzles, and going inside the minds of victims to slowly reconstruct the order of events that lead to their death.

Observer is a story-heavy experience that relies on the curiosity of its world to compel players to explore, take their time, and absorb the macabre aura of its environment. It does this very well. You really cant understate the attention to detail packed into the nuances of its aesthetic. Observer is clearly inspiredby eighties science fiction, with flickering CRT monitors, analog computer controls, and film noir detective vibes. There are no clean lines and no bright colors in its palette; void of glamor, its dark and intimidating.

The plot is equally fascinating. Having received a somewhat cryptic phone call from his son, Adam, Daniel Lazarski is shocked to find a headless body in his sons apartment. Is it him, and if not, where is he? The scale of this thriller quickly expands as more lifeless bodies appear in the confines of this crumbling building, and it becomes apparent that Adam is involved in something sinister. Placed on lockdown, residents are unable to leave their rooms, and communication with them is through intercom only. Voice acting is decent for the most part, and conversation not only provides a breadcrumb trail to follow but also fleshes out Observers lore. The everyday struggle is well conveyed by these working class personalities.

Augmentation of the human body is a central theme in the game, playing on the quintessential cyberpunk trope of high tech, low life. A conflict between those who approve of implants versus those who are vehemently opposed to them is alluded to throughout. At the center of this conflict is the Necrophage a cyber plague that affects the augmented. The manufacturer of these robotic implants, Chiron, is the oppressive corporation responsible for blighting society with their benefits. As the story unravels, the Necrophage, Chiron, and Lazarskis sonbecome interwoven in a gripping tale that constantly kept me guessing.

For the most part, the gameplay that translates this story is engaging enough. Scanning crime scenes remind me of Telltales Batman series, linking evidence together using two different view modes organic sensitive, and technology sensitive retinal displays. Youll occasionally have to enter codes into keypads that require you to unearth information hidden in various rooms, but their location is never so obtuse as to frustrate with constant back tracking or head scratching. Overall, the game does a good job of shepherding you between objectives without ever feeling as though its holding your hand.

Developer Bloober Teams previous work includes the psychological horror Layers of Fear, and its lineage is certainly evident in Observer. Jacking into the digital memories of victims via implant is what gives the observer his name, and its during these sequences that some clever but familiar cinematic techniques are implemented. The world becomes confused and surreal, with eerie voices and hallucinations combining for some mind-bending and frightening moments. Later in the game, the technique cleverly expands the scope of the story beyond the zoomed in locale of the apartment to wider themes of corporate surveillance.

Alas, it is during these sequences that Observers technical frailties are exposed. Throughout the game, frame rate dips and stuttering had been notable, though only causing minor irritation and never impacting the ebb and flow of proceedings too greatly. Towards the end of the game, however, Observer finally became well and truly unstuck. Trapped in a room with no way out, only after fifteen minutes did I realize that the this was a room I was never supposed to be flashed into for more than a few seconds. Attempting to reload, though, my progress was blocked. Each time that I spawned from save, I found myself helplessly falling through the map into a black abyss. With no ability to manually save and no chapter select, I had encountered a game-breaking bug that forced me to restart the game.

It was an immensely disappointing turn of events. Nothing spoils the immersion of a narrative-driven ambient adventure game quite like a glitch that completely halts progress. Moreover, up until that point, even frame rate stutters wouldnt have convinced me to dock too many points from Observers final score, so compelling was its story and world building. These issues can and may be fixed via a patch, but at the time of this reviews publishing, its difficult for us to recommend a game with so many technical problems.

Despite the sour taste in the mouth left by upsetting technical shortcomings, Observer is a game that does deserve praise. Its grim, dystopian world is a truly brilliant imagination of cyberpunk, and it works superbly as a thematic setting for a horror game. The story itself invokes curiosity that tempts you to keep playing, compelling you to explore not just for clues about its immediate plot, but also the wider backstory and lore of its world. In that respect, Observer does everything that a good adventure game should do.

While gameplay might not break any new ground, puzzles and crime scenes provide enough interaction to keep you engaged beyond just watching the story unfold. The way in which the Observer uses implants as a means to explore memories is inventive, giving the narrative a grander sense of scale without technically leaving the building. The use of cinematic effects, too, cleverly shifts the games genre between thriller and psychological horror. In its best moments, these sequences play out like a blend of the Matrix and P.T. Yet in its worst instances, the game crashes and breaks, which is something that should never happen in any video game.

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Observer Review – Twinfinite – Twinfinite

Top 10 Best Cyberpunk Games of All Time – Twinfinite

Remember Me is an interesting, memory hopping cyperpunk adventure crafted by Dontnod, who youll probably know better for Life is Strange. The truly startling thing is that Remember Me is Dontnods debut title, and its definitely one to remember. The game sees you playing as Nilin, a memory hunter working for an underground resistance called the Errorists. Like many cyberpunk works, a megacorporation called Memorize has taken an unhealthy control over the world, and laid claim to peoples memories in a way as well.

Remember Me uses many typical cyberpunk themes, but its more a game about emotion and relationships, and how budding technology like social media can impact those. Across the adventure, Nilin has to recover her own lost memories, and even has the ability to reconstruct and view others. Remember Me does have a few problems, particularly in the gameplay and pacing departments. However, theres an incredibly ambitious story to see here, with a strong female lead that grows and changes throughout the experience. In terms of world building, characterization, soundtrack, and presentation, Remember Me stands tall with the best cyberpunk games, even if the gameplay doesnt match up.

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Top 10 Best Cyberpunk Games of All Time – Twinfinite

Ruiner looks like a cyberpunk Hotline Miami, coming out next month – PCGamesN

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What happens when you take Hotline Miami, Transistor, a splash of cyberpunk, and push it through the working hands of an indie developer? Thats right – you get Ruiner. Its a top-down shooter where youll smash through gangs and The Man to the soft encouragement of a woman whispering in your ear. Youll also be getting it pretty soon: September 26.

For more indie goodness, here’s the best indie games to play right now.

To mark the release date announcement, theres a new trailer which you can watch above. It shows off a bunch of the weapons, plus some of the combat – which is where the Hotline Miami and Transistor influences come into play.

Its then coated with a cyberpunk finish, plus some bassy EDM throughout. Despite the fact that weve not seen a huge amount of the gameplay, Im pretty into it – visually, at least, it looks phenomenal.

Theres also a comic on the website in case thats also your jam, plus loads of images and GIFs to feast your eyes on. I dont think theres been a better game to ogle as you wait until its release.

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Ruiner looks like a cyberpunk Hotline Miami, coming out next month – PCGamesN

Cyberpunk – Wikipedia

Cyberpunk is a subgenre of science fiction in a future setting that tends to focus on society as “high tech low life”[1] featuring advanced technological and scientific achievements, such as information technology and cybernetics, juxtaposed with a degree of breakdown or radical change in the social order.[2]

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.[3] 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”).[4] Much of the genre’s atmosphere echoes film noir, and written works in the genre often use techniques from detective fiction.[5]

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.

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. Replacing the celebration of conformity to norms intrinsic in 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 sexual revolution with an avant-garde style influenced by the Beat Generation (especially William S. Burroughs’ own SF), dadaism, and their own rhetorical ideas.[7] Ballard attacked the idea that stories should follow the story models popular since the time of Ancient Greece, that they 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.”[8]

This had a profound influence on a new generation of writers, some of whom would come to call themselves “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 Phillip 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, say the Isaac Asimov Robot series that laid its philosophical foundation. This novel was made into the seminal movie Blade Runner, released in 1982, 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 was 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.”

About that time, William Gibson’s novel Neuromancer was published, delivering the 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.[11] 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.[12]

In the subsequent decade, the archetypes so perfectly framed in Gibson’s Neuromancer became increasingly used as tropes in the genre, 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 exponents of the cyberpunk field include William Gibson, Neal Stephenson, Bruce Sterling, Bruce Bethke, Pat Cadigan, Rudy Rucker, John Shirley and Philip K. Dick (author of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, from which the film Blade Runner was adapted).[14]

Blade Runner can be seen as a quintessential example of the cyberpunk style and theme.[3]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:[15]Akira, Gunnm, Ghost in the Shell, Cowboy Bebop, Serial Experiments Lain, Dennou Coil, Ergo Proxy and Psycho Pass being among the most notable.[15]

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.[18][19][20]

In some cyberpunk writing, much of the action takes place online, in cyberspace, blurring the line between actual and virtual reality.[21] 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.”[17] 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.[22] The cityscapes of Hong Kong[23] and Shanghai[24] 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”.[25] 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.[23] 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.[26] 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”[27]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.[28]

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.[29]

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.[30] 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.[31]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.[32]

William Gibson with his novel Neuromancer (1984) is likely[according to whom?] 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.”[33]

Early on, cyberpunk was hailed as a radical departure from science-fiction standards and a new manifestation of vitality.[34] 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.[35] 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).[34] 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.[34] For example, Philip K. Dick’s works contain recurring themes of social decay, artificial intelligence, paranoia, and blurred lines between objective and subjective realities.[36] The influential cyberpunk movie Blade Runner (1982) is based on his book, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?.[37] 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.”[38] Other important[according to whom?] predecessors include Alfred Bester’s two most celebrated novels, The Demolished Man and The Stars My Destination,[39] as well as Vernor Vinge’s novella True Names.[40]

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.”[41]

Fredric Jameson considers cyberpunk the “supreme literary expression if not of postmodernism, then of late capitalism itself”.[42]

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.”[43]

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.[44] 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[45] and New Rose Hotel,[46][47] both based upon short stories by William Gibson, flopped commercially and critically.

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,[48]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.”[49] 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.[17]

Cyberpunk has influenced many anime and manga including the ground-breaking Akira, 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 are currently developing a cyberpunk game, Cyberpunk 2077.[50]

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. This was allegedly because the GURPS Cyberpunk sourcebook could be used to perpetrate computer crime. That was, in fact, not the main reason for the raid, but after the event it was too late to correct the public’s impression.[51] Steve Jackson Games later 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.

Shortly thereafter, Val / Variable Assembly Language For Use With Artificial Intelligence was utilized in conjunction with the underground’s programming language Perl to design an online punk role playing game, Chrystal City, to mask crimes against necessity law, illegal by anarchist ethic, in the global manifestation of a cyberpunk virtual reality intended for astral space.

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.

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 Phillip K. Dick and William Gibson respectively.

Vaporwave and Synthwave are also influenced by cyberpunk. The former has been interpreted as a dystopian[53] critique of capitalism[54] 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 [17] the Sony Center in the Potsdamer Platz public square of Berlin, Germany.[55]

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[56], 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 by the city’s political, physical, and economic isolation has caused many in academia to be fascinated by the ingenuity of its spawning.[57]

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.[58]

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.[59]

Role playing game publisher R. Talsorian Games, owner of the Cyberpunk 2020 franchise, trademarked the word “Cyberpunk” in the United States in 2012.[60] 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.[61][62]

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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 High Frontier 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 second was called Cyberpunk CCG, released in 2003, designed by Peter Wacks and published by Social Games.

Read more:

Cyberpunk 2020 – Wikipedia

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 Books – Goodreads

Cyberpunk is a subgenre of science fiction in a future setting that tends to focus on society as “high tech low life” featuring advanced technological and scientific achievements, such as information technology and cybernetics, juxtaposed with a degree of breakdown or radical change in the social order.

Cyberpunk plots often center on conflict among artificial intelligences, hackers, and among 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.The setting

Cyberpunk plots often center on conflict among artificial intelligences, hackers, and among 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.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”). Much of the genre’s atmosphere echoes film noir, and written works in the genre often use techniques from detective fiction.

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. Lawrence Person

Originally posted here:

Cyberpunk Books – Goodreads


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