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Willowhugger
Basically a question on what makes the mood and breaks it. Some common pitfalls that takes the story out of the territory are appreciated.

Here's my general thoughts on this area....

* The usual Techno-shock: I think it goes without saying the very nature of cyberpunk is that technology has not improved life in the world but has done either made it worse or just created new problems.

* The Rich and Poor Divide: Always important to keep in the sense of the planet.

* Screwed up Heroes: Case, Molly, Deckard, and the like all are suffering greatly in their own particular way. When you remove the dysfunctionality from the setting you lose something.

like bruce wayne, no one will ever be entirely happy.
Witness
Overcrowding and pollution are pretty integral to most cyberpunk, I would say.
Lindt
I think you did a pretty good job covering the bases.

The Haves, and the Have nots.
Technology making that gap bigger
Anti-Heros, or at least pretty screwed up heros.
Toptomcat
In its more extreme forms, nilhilism: the players can accomplish absolutely nothing of note, and always turn out to have been either pawns of some far greater power or entirely irrelevant. All victories are temporary or Phyrric.
While congruent with the genre, this can make for some very frusterating games...
Willowhugger
QUOTE (Toptomcat)
In its more extreme forms, nilhilism: the players can accomplish absolutely nothing of note, and always turn out to have been either pawns of some far greater power or entirely irrelevant. All victories are temporary or Phyrric.
While congruent with the genre, this can make for some very frusterating games...

I think on a related note is actually It's okay to be out for yourself. In a vaguely Casablanca way, the problems of one person doesn't make a difference for good or evil in the world. Thus, players have a obligation only to themselves and their own personal happiness. To that end they can seek out money, fame, and love without guilt because whatever they do to achieve it really doesn't have an impact on the world's good or evil.
ronin3338
The "punk" is the dystopian element. Large organizations that wield massive power and people leading small, meaningless lives, constantly faced with their own lack of ability to make any substantial changes.

The "cyber" part is the tech element.
Wounded Ronin
I think it just needs 80s pastiche.
Voran
I like looking at the way the art used to show the SR world has evolved over the versions. It's less "mohawks and leather + cyber" (also less Kevlar-bikini for the ladies) and more urban pragmatic with a bit of flair tossed in.

When I think punk (cyber or otherwise) I think discordant, almost desperate attempt to buck authority and carve out your own niche, with the sad side effect of while you feel you're an individual, if you look closely enough, you'll notice there are a million other people trying to do the same thing. In a way I think the desperation and (angst?) about it comes from realising that in some way, by trying to be anti-establishment (fight the man!) humans end up forming groups within groups that kinda perpetuate that 'problem' smile.gif So in Shadowrun, the effort to gather a trustworthy group to fight the power and do runs against the man while spending his cash, in the high end game you kinda end up with chars that if they live long enough, become establishments in themselves smile.gif
Arethusa
QUOTE (Wounded Ronin @ May 31 2006, 07:25 PM)
I think it just needs 80s pastiche.

I'm not sure if you're joking or not, but if you aren't, what does 80s pastiche have to do with cyberpunk? The 80s style of cyberpunk was dead and irrelevant 16 years ago. This has not stopped new and far more intelligent cyberpunk from being written. Hell, even Metal Gear Solid 4 is looking pretty cuberpunk.

Cyberpunk is not about 80s pastiche. It's not even about 80s classism or 80s materialism or 80s excess. It isn't even about modern classism, materialism, or excess, and isn't still about future classism, materialism or excess.

Cyberpunk is fundamentally about what is wrong with us. It is from this that all exploration of classicism, consumption, rapacious economics, explotative socities, nihilism, and dehumanization. Cyberpunk is about something being wrong with us and the future that will lead us to.
SL James
*sighs*

The clothing means almost nothing. Get off it already.
Platinum
Earth, Future, cyber-tech, corp extraterritorality, a global matrix and gangers.
Willowhugger
From a conversation I just had...

Cyberpunk is actually easy to define. People just have seemingly never bothered to realize that it's Noir combined with Science Fiction. The 80s are symbolic of the period its true but so are the 1920s and Detective Fiction. Both true and not necessarily absolute.

Yes, there's nothing wrong with REAL cyberpunk being set in a world where the PCs are essentially powerless. The Corporations replace Mob Bosses and corrupt Police Forces as systemic of the Noir feel to things. The whole point of Noir is being trapped in a world that isn't yours to control. Like Sin City, it's not "Sin City" if you don't have the Roarke Family controlling everything that the mob doesn't control.

Molly and Case are Noir characters because at heart they're the femme fatale and the archetypical Alcoholic/Net Addict Burnout.

Shadowrun does very well as emanating the genre of Noir that is part and parcel for the setting. The setting is composed of whores, cigarette smoke, junkies (look at the drug addiction rules), and burnouts. This is something that is made abundantly clear as an assumption of playstyle almost as much as Vampires are going to be Anarch Sympathetic jerkwads in V:TM's early books.

There's A LOT to mine here. I think Shadowrun hasn't really expanded beyond the possibilities of Noir though and occasionally forgets it Noir.
Richard Villers
Decloaking just to say I don't agree. Yes that Noir + Science Fiction is a good description of the base of Cyberpunk. But for me Cyberpunk is a dark vision of the near future seen from America in in the 1980's. Shadowrun however was Cyberpunk mixed with High Fantasy and has over time become a more general application of the literary theme that Cyberpunk is based on.

I posted about this 2 weeks ago.

But maybe that is a personal thing for me. I guess you could still call it Cyberpunk for a lack of a better name. Perhaps in time a new catchy label that encapulates the core of the fears will be struck and stick. Like Nanopunk?

I will recloak now and let you have at my idea. Please be gentle.
hyzmarca
QUOTE (Arethusa)
QUOTE (Wounded Ronin @ May 31 2006, 07:25 PM)
I think it just needs 80s pastiche.

Hell, even Metal Gear Solid 4 is looking pretty cuberpunk.

I must point out that Solid Snake has a mullet and is an unapologetic rip-off of Snake Pliskin.
Arethusa
He may have a mullet, though the MGS3 mullet wasn't really that out of place and the MGS4 mullet is practically a modern fashion mullet, at this point. I do not see the Snake Pliskin ripoff. There are references, and maybe it was that simple in the first two Metal Gear games. It's definitely not any more.
hobgoblin
hmm, im not dead yet and allready mullets are coming back in fashion?

somebody stop this rollercoaster, i want of!
bclements
QUOTE (Arethusa)
MGS4 mullet is practically a modern fashion mullet

Those words, they're english, but I don't understand them.
Arethusa
This is an example of a girl with a fashion mullet.

Snake's is shorter, obviously, but in MGS4, his hair length actually looks more or less uniform, which is borderline out of mullet territory. MGS2 was the only game with a true retro mullet, and even that is kind of debatable.
bclements
It's MGS. Damn near everything is debatable.
Glyph
Noir makes a nice film or literary genre, but shouldn't be used in a game for more than atmosphere. Otherwise, you wind up railroading your players. Also, keep in mind that a lot of cyberpunk novels do have the characters changing, or even saving, the world.
Platinum
If you want to see fashionable mullets... go here. http://www.mulletsgalore.com/
hyzmarca
Well, a big part of cyberpunk is traditional punk ideology, specificly anti-authorilism and individualism. For the most part, cyberpunk heroes are individualists in conformist socities.

As for MGS, Hideo Kojima's work is influenced by 80s cyberpunk movies. The most obvious example is Snatcher which is blatently inspired by Bladerunner and Terminator.
The cyberpunk inspiration wasn't very obvious in the original Metal Gear games due to the limitations of the technology but they are apparent in the Metal Gear Solid series.
SL James
QUOTE (hyzmarca)
Well, a big part of cyberpunk is traditional punk ideology, specificly anti-authorilism and individualism. For the most part, cyberpunk heroes are individualists in conformist socities.

Gee, you think that has anything to do with the old books written in the context of Neo-Anarchist "products"?
Liminaut
To me, cyberpunk is about a basic question: How do I stay human in a dehumanizing world?
SL James
Isn't that a contemporaty philosophical and theological question and, frankly, area of study?
Cain
That's also more related to the transhuman themes in other games. Shadowrun has a good chunk of that as well, but not to the same level.
SL James
... Yet. One of the Big Ten is focusing its efforts on transhumanism in 2070, so I think that will change over time.
Canis
What makes cyberpunk, cyberpunk? Mohawks, the answer is Mohawks and the Japanese running the world. Actually to me cyberpunk represents a dystopian future, as opposed to some sci-fi like Star trek that represents a utopian future. I pretty much agree with Arethusa. True hardcore cyberpunk (IMHO) is a showcase of all that is wrong with society (particularly the 80ís). Faceless corporations and greed run the world, technology rules rather than aids, pollution has ruined the environment, etc. The basic theme to me is dehumanization, objects/entities (gadgets, money, technology, bureaucracy) rule people not the other way around. Most of the good plots of cyberpunk (again IMHO) involve someone trying to retain their humanity in this hostile environment, not always with positive results (this is a dystopian future after all). Shadowrun seems to be departing from hardcore cyberpunk, but depending on your interests and personality this isnít necessarily a bad thing.

SL James
*Whistles innocently as he wanders off.*
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