Thursday, April 22, 2010
Cyberpunk implants in the Biogenic age
So I have been thinking hard about this game world. I am a fairly thoughtful person and am rather unencumbered by a previous love of cyberpunk beyond "Blade Runner was cool". As such a person I have taken a very realistic approach to my game setting so far. But right now the feel ("Minority Report" without psychics or Tom Cruise) is not quite what I'd take the time to play.
It is time to spark things up. I don't like the idea of a future with flying cars and I don't think AI robots wanting to rebel is realistic. But I'd like to at least hit action movie realism but not nerdcore sci-fi.
What to do?
Well, to add color to the game world I have been thinking about body modification. In a world where organs are grown in jars, burns are healed with "skin in a can" and cosmetic surgery has more in common with cloning than the "plastic surgery" of old.
Why not hybridize animal cells with human cells to create tissues and organs normally found in animals and transplant them to humans. So in 2032 hardcore body modification would be to have cat eyes installed, or a prehensile tail. Tattoos are piercings are so old fashioned after all. So when little Jimmy goes off to college, he can rebel by having wings and horns installed. But why not when Mom goes off to "Rejuvenation Camp" and literally gets a new face installed.
Now, biogenic implants that alter the structure of the face would be heavily regulated because it would alter the facial recognition profile for a person. So a person getting a new skull or just face might have some requests to submit to the government as well as practitioners would have strict licenses, supply companies would be required to verify licenses before products are sold.. etc.
Back-alley and underground alterations would be possible using stolen and possibly damaged or bad parts. Risks of disease and side effects would still not stop people seeking inexpensive and fast implants where few questions were asked. Criminal or underclass people using these services would be prohibited from polite society as nerve damage, disease or disfigurement would be fairly evident.
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