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.


  1. For my cyberpunkish game, I always just assumed that cosmetic surgery was an in patient and off-the-shelf procedure. Want to look like Harrison Ford, throw down your Euros and lay back. Your universal system ID is linked to your DNA and instantly updated and propagated with your new look.

    But the cosmetic side is so easy that the black market for face changes and "new you" resculpts is extensive and fairly safe (as you as you do not cheap out). Of course you new look is only "new" for a short while, it only lasts until you have to use your DNA-linked USID for something (or you get arrestewd and scanned).

  2. Thank you for the feedback, I agree DNA is the definitive way to identify a person. I also think that even in the future DNA samlpes would need to be compelled (or used like a signature or thumbprint) since DNA collection might pass disease in routine uses. For routine and more passive methods of identification, facial recognition has already proven to be effective - the last Super Bowl had the FBI deploy a crowd scanning technology to pick out terrorists.


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