Tuesday, 16 May 2017
I was a teenager when I got my first taste of cyberpunk: Mike Pondsmith's CYBERPUNK, to be precise, a "Roleplaying Game of the Dark Future" that sunk its hooks into me deep. I was at exactly the right age for Mike's heady mix of violence, loud music, black leather, and style over substance, and we played the hell out of that game for a few years. I sought out Neuromancer to get a sense of the source material, and I loved it profoundly, but felt a little cheated. There was so much more to cyberpunk than CYBERPUNK actually brought to the table.
Later games like SHADOWRUN also got a lot of play, but the problem was always the same. Cyberpunk roleplaying games always seemed to get the trappings of the genre, but not the ideas that were its beating heart. Style over substance was the ethos, but it had become a kind of trap, leading us to game after game that was basically a dungeon crawl with guns and grenades.
Almost thirty years later, I've finally found a cyberpunk game that wants more than that.