I don’t play a lot of video games. I don’t really have the time. The reason for my excitement wasn’t because it was a video game, though, but because it is being developed by the people who made the tabletop role playing game Cyberpunk and the follow up Cyberpunk 2020.
For the uninitiated, CP2020 was a game set in the near future where people got bionic implants as a fashion statement, the Soviet Union was still a threat, the world was run by corporations and cities were fortresses in a sea of diseased wasteland.
My kind of dystopia.
I spent a lot of time on that game, more studying it than playing it. I ran a few campaigns. Characters from that game eventually started to run into one of the first novella length stories I ever wrote, a work that one day I may have to revisit to see if it’s salvageable.
The problem with Cyberpunk, both the game and the genre, was that it hinged on technology always coming at us in double handfuls with little explanation, that every day would be like the dot com boom of the 90’s, except with some urban warfare and famine thrown in to make it more interesting. As we discovered that computers were just another disappointment and that we wouldn’t all be sitting with cables jacked into the back of our skulls to use Google, the veneer or an exciting, if dark, future began to wear thin.
The original release of the Cyberpunk RPG was set in 2013. We’re there now. I can’t go to the mall and get cyber-limbs. I don’t have to worry about about implants driving me crazy or cops in flying cars not wanting to help me because I can’t produce a corporate ID or sufficient credit card. The world is not as bad as they’d imagined, even if it’s dramatically more messed up in some other ways.
And we’re better for it.
Still, I’m kind of sad that I can’t get my arms replaced with chrome ones. And maybe a heads up display built into my corneas. That’d be neato.