Monday, April 5, 2010
I have been considering the "Cyberpunk Revival Contest" at 1KM1KT. Not really seriously entering the contest but rather as an excuse to declare a game world for the system I have blogged about. It is about time, really.
So under the idea of making Cyberpunk "cool" here are my thoughts:
Cyberpunk was cool because it was futuristic but not in a 50s utopian way. There were no rocket packs or lunar apartments where Jim would fly to work on Mars and be home for dinner. We knew that the 1980s was the future at one point and the threat of nuclear war sucked, so it stood to reason that the future would suck just as much in 2012 as it would in 1982. So Cyberpunk dictates the future must suck.
Cyberpunk was high tech in cool ways. There is lame high tech, like robot housekeepers or shiny robots that whine all the time in English accents, and cool high tech. The technology was cool because it was realistic things people would buy, who would want a robot housekeeper when you could plug your brain directly into a virtual reality? So Cyberpunk dictates technology must be realistically cool.
Cyberpunk would also not be Cyberpunk without the "punk" attitude. This might be the biggest missing piece which limits the appeal for the current RPG demographic. The concept of Punk has changed so much. Current Cyberpunks could be considered hackers, crackers, pirates, modders, vandals, gang members, university researchers, Facebook/Twitter/Myspace users... So, Cyberpunks are quite mainstream these days. Back in the 80s it was very tempting to think about a world where people made technology work for them -- but you have to remember that pre-PC days computers came with people to run them and technology was very proprietary and protected under trade secrets. Cyberpunk was made reality by the people who enjoyed it, we consumed the genre and thought "why not?". So, perhaps the rule of Cyberpunk for the future is that it must continue to evolve..
So, with these rules of Cyberpunk we must look to a future for the gameworld. "Blade Runner" was set in 22 years after the book was written (1982 written, set in the year 2014 according to Google). If we were to look at the far-flung future of 2032 what would we see? Well, we should first look at the year 1988 and consider how things are the same and different with 2010.
More on that later...
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