Cyberpunk

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"Transhumanism is about how technology will eventually help us overcome the problems that have, up until now, been endemic to human nature. Cyberpunk is about how technology won't."
Stephenls of RPG.Net, on the relation between transhumanism and cyberpunk

Cyberpunk is a Speculative Fiction genre centered around the transformative effects of advanced science, information technology, computers and networks ("cyber") coupled with a breakdown or radical change in the social order ("punk"). A genre that is dark and cynical in tone, it borrows elements from Film Noir, hard-boiled Detective Fiction and Post Modern Deconstruction to describe the Dystopian side of an electronic society.

The plot will more than likely take place Twenty Minutes Into the Future in some City Noir, Industrial Ghetto or Crapsack World that tends to be marked by crime, cultural nihilism and bad weather, where we use cutting-edge tech less for making a shining utopia and more for the sake of selfish profit and pleasure. Heroes are often computer hackers or rebellious antiheroes, while major villains are almost inevitably multinational conglomerates or Police States (or both).

If the work dates from the 1980s, there's a good chance that there will be a theme of Japanese economic dominance, with the evil corporations being sinister zaibatsu (possibly masterminded behind the scenes by Yakuza) and Japanese-sounding brand-names liberally scattered around. Many Anime have at least a hint, perhaps due to the fact that Japan is closer to actually being cyberpunk, with many relevant animators being critical of Japanese consumer culture.

Expect the philosophy of Transhumanism to be a feature, what with Artificial Limbs and cable jacks in the skull that lead to artificial realities. Artificial intelligences, artificial humans and insane cyborgs roam the earth, Philosophical and existentialist questions on transhumanist possibilities like "what is identity" and "What Measure Is a Non-Human?" are explored, and Everything Is Online.

The genre's vision of a troubled future is often called the antithesis of the generally utopian visions of the future popular in the 1940s and 1950s, but keep in mind that it is not a term that should be applied to every Speculative Fiction dystopia or Bad Future ever in the history of the genre, and does not need to always have an Anvilicious Science Is Bad message to it.

See Cyberpunk Tropes and Write a Cyber Punk Story for Cyberpunk's characteristic tropes and what sets it apart from other dystopias. The Other Wiki has an article and analysis on the subject. The story may fall on the Romanticism end of the Romanticism Versus Enlightenment scale.

There is some debate as to whether cyberpunk constitutes a Subculture or not, but whatever you do don't mix it up with cybergoth when speaking with those who identify as cyberpunks.

Related to Post Cyber Punk and Cyber Goth. Of course, several works fit on a continuum between the two tropes. See also Cyberspace, Dungeon Punk, Punk Punk. Compare also with Steampunk, which shares some similarities with Cyberpunk. See also Neo Africa.


Examples of Cyberpunk include:

Clear-Cut Examples[edit | hide | hide all]

Anime[edit | hide]

  • Akira is an extremely influential cyberpunk anime movie.
  • Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex: Government censorship of the media, refugees are treated poorly and social welfare appears to be nonexistent. As well, members of the military appear to be able to issue orders to civilians (something which is not permitted in most democracies except under martial law).

Also, assassinations are regularly ordered by the Prime Minister or other government officials (which the author of the original manga, Shirow Masamune, said meant that there had been a massive failure in the political process).


Comic Books[edit | hide]


Film[edit | hide]

  • Blade Runner is often described as a cyberpunk film, but actually lacks most of the defining features of the genre. Computer systems and networks hardly feature, the impact of technology and ubiquitous information on society is not really a major theme, and none of the main characters are the hackers and information-underbelly characters who populate cyberpunk.

"About ten minutes into Blade Runner, I reeled out of the theater in complete despair over its visual brilliance and its similarity to the "look" of Neuromancer, my [then] largely unwritten first novel. Not only had I been beaten to the semiotic punch, but this damned movie looked better than the images in my head! With time, as I got over that, I started to take a certain delight in the way the film began to affect the way the world looked. Club fashions, at first, then rock videos, finally even architecture. Amazing! A science fiction movie affecting reality!"


Literature[edit | hide]

  • John M. Ford was possibly the earliest pioneer in this genre with his 1980 novel Web Of Angels.
  • John Shirley is considered another of the genre's founding fathers, with his novel City Come A-Walkin' releasing around the same time as Ford's (see above). His later novels, in particular Black Glass and the Eclipse Trilogy, cemented his reputation.
  • K.W. Jeter could have launched the genre a decade early were it not for the publication of his novel Dr. Adder getting pushed back for twelve years (Jeter originally finished the manuscript in 1972, but no publishing company would accept it at the time due to its graphic violence and sexual content). It went unpublished until 1984, finding its way to shelves just in time to be completely overshadowed by a certain other book (see below).
  • William Gibson is often referred to as the father of the genre; he created the word "cyberspace", and, despite his lack of technical knowledge, his novel Neuromancer was the prototype for much of what followed.
  • Marc D. Giller's Hammerjack and its sequel Prodigal; both include virtually every trope associated with cyberpunk, but most notably the leather-clad "razor girls."
  • Bruce Sterling is another shaper of the genre. His works tend to be less bleak than Gibson's.
  • Neal Stephenson has been credited with founding the "post-cyberpunk" genre, working with more "modern" ideas such as memes, the Internet, and computer cryptography. He tends to stuff a lot of ideas into his books, which become brilliant when it works and confusing when it doesn't. Most notable is probably Snow Crash.
  • John Brunner's The Shockwave Rider invented the concept of an internet worm / virus long before the WWW, and it gave us a hacker hero long before WarGames.
  • Pat Cadigan is also considered to be a genre co-founder and major influence, starting with her 1984 short-story "Rock On"; as well as the later novels Mindplayer, and Synners, the latter of which which expands on the story and themes of "Rock On".
  • Many of Vernor Vinge's stories incorporate cyberpunk elements. The most notable is his 1981 novella "True Names", about a group of hackers who take on the US government—until they encounter something online much, much worse. Unlike other cyberpunk writers of the time, Vinge was a computer scientist who had actually used the Internet and had some idea of what it could do. The story's focus on online anonymity remains relevant today.
  • Michael Moorcock's Cornelius Quartet novels have often been described as early or proto-cyberpunk.
  • Negative consequences of technological progress are a common theme in the works of Dutch author Tais Teng. The most intense example of cyberpunk is his short story Silicium Snelwegen ("Silicon Highways"), in which broken computer chips are repaired by nanomachines imprinted with the personalities of specialists. The story becomes horrific when the main characters, personalized nanomachines busy repairing a chip, discover that their originals have been erased and they now exist only as data.
  • George Alec Effinger sets a lot of his work in cyber punk worlds, especially his Marid Audran novels.
  • Philip K. Dick is a notable precursor to cyberpunk, and many adaptations of his work fit squarely into the genre.
  • Elizabeth Bear's Jenny Casey trilogy.
  • Richard K Morgan's Altered Carbon trilogy sits firmly in the Cyberpunk genre.
  • Frank Schätzing's Limit extrapolates China's current internet-surveillance and police-state tendencies Twenty Minutes Into the Future. The result is quite cyberpunkish.
  • Marianne de Pierres' Parrish Plessis trilogy.
  • Daemon by Daniel Suarez. It's sequel, Freedom™ is more Post Cyber Punk.
  • Dan Simmons' Hyperion novels use a lot of cyberpunk tropes, particularly Brawne Lamia's backstory—she's a very noir private eye, who joined the Hyperion Pilgrims after a cyber-entity asked her to figure out who had tried to murder him while he had taken on a human body, and why. However, unlike many other cyberpunk stories, the Hyperion universe isn't actually all that dystopic—at least not until the Techno Core, the self-aware computers that seceded from humanity decide that it's time to wage war against their biological creators.
  • Jeff Somers' The Electric Church series.
  • Kim Newman, writing as Jack Yeovil's Dark Future novels blended elements from Horror with Cyberpunk, taking place in a near-future whose environment was ruined by corporate greed and cybernetics and genetics were predominantly used to enhance military and sexual capabilities.


Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Max Headroom has TV networks that jack into peoples brains, and "The System", its rather odd prediction of the Internet.
  • VR.5
  • Dark Angel
  • Two episodes of Ghostwriter feature Julia Stiles as a hacker seemingly airlifted from cyberpunk, some of which she actually references.
  • The miniseries Wild Palms was something of a noir-cyberpunk hybrid dealing with virtual reality.
  • Kamen Rider Double fuses this genre with it's predeceasing genre of Film Noir.


Music[edit | hide]

  • Death Grips: Their debut album, The Money Store, deconstructs hip-hop tropes (violent lyrics, distrust of police, and namedropping of websites and contemporary subjects) and pairs them with computer-y, glitchy beats, giving the whole thing a bleak, dystopian, cyberpunk kind of feel.
  • Sigue Sigue Sputnik: Mixing punk and electronic music in the style of Suicide (band), this band takes its inspiration from movies like Blade Runner, The Terminator, A Clockwork Orange, and Mad Max. The band members dress in an outrageous fashion involving brightly coloured hair and lots of fishnets, and involve dystopic and post-apocalyptic themes in its songs, as well as many references to violent video games, high-tech sex (not necessarily with a human) and the suggestion they are from the future. They also play the evil corporation completely straight, by effectively being it.
  • The Protomen. When you're a Rock Opera about a dystopian version of Mega Man, it's rather unavoidable.
  • Billy Idol's CD Cyperpunk.


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • The first cyberpunk video game was Psychic City, a 1984 Role-Playing Game that was only released in Japan. It was set in a post-apocalyptic city where a supercomputer mind-controls its inhabitants, and is sending soldiers and robots to capture the psychic protagonists On the Run.
  • Snatcher, by Hideo Kojima. Everything, down to the main character's design, screams "I wanna be Blade Runner." It even has the Gibson Shout-Out used by Centurions, in the form of a second Deckard-a-like who even sort of looks like Harrison Ford. Too bad this one dies a rather painful death early on, setting the game's events in motion. The game also borrows cyberpunk themes from Akira.
  • Binary Domain, a game which stands out for being classic Cyberpunk in an era when Post Cyber Punk is much more common. Evil corporations, human-like robots, rebellion against authority, global economic and environmental collapse, deep separation between the haves and the have-nots...
  • Grand Theft Auto II
  • Both System Shock games.
  • Syndicate and Syndicate Wars by Bullfrog.
  • Spectre VR. Overtly cyberpunk in theme and presentation, and was once sold in a bundle with Snow Crash.
  • Final Fantasy VIII was the most Cyberpunk-themed Final Fantasy game in the series before the appearance of Final Fantasy XIII. There is a good dose of Technology Porn to be found here and in Final Fantasy XIII.
  • Sim City Societies: You can Create Your Own Cyberpunk City.
  • Beneath a Steel Sky: A British 1994 sci-fi Point and Click Adventure Game initially released for DOS and Amiga. Underworld was its working title.
  • The Jak and Daxter series, from the second game onward.
  • The Neo-Tokyo mod for Half-Life
  • The Neo-Tokyo level in TimeSplitters 2.
  • Neuromancer an 1988 adventure game by Interplay Productions, loosely based on Gibson's novel.
  • Decker is an indie 'hacker simulation' that seems to be influenced by Cyberpunk 2020 RPG.
  • Bloodnet, a 1993 RPG-adventure by Microprose. It merges some essential cyberpunk themes with vampirism.
  • Blade Runner, the 1997 Adventure Game by Westwood Studios. Shares setting and some characters with Ridley Scott's movie but follows different plot.
    • And has a similar play style to the Tex Murphy games, another cyberpunk-influenced series.
  • Dystopia is a Half-Life 2 mod that relies heavily on the idea of cybernetic implants and Cyberspace.
  • The original Shin Megami Tensei I and its sequel both heavily involve cyberpunk themes. While the power of the authorities in both games are religious in nature rather than technological, they do use technology to communicate their message (it brings to mind the large television screens the Mesians would use to broadcast propaganda. Beyond that, the grey featureless walls, the endless maze-like architecture and people dressed in rags with advanced technology at their side all plays on this theme.
  • Though not as obvious, the First Encounter Assault Recon series takes place in such a setting. Most of the cyberpunk elements are understated, as the series places greater emphasis on supernatural psychic phenomena, but most of the elements are there - advanced technology that does not necessarily benefit mankind, superpowerful Mega Corp as the primary villain, and a generally dark atmosphere. Transhumanist elements are touched on, though in this setting it is focused on the transformative effects of weaponized psychic technology rather than cybernetics. Cybernetic augmentations married with psychic technology are present, along with genetic experimentation, and characters like the Point Man, Paxton Fettel, Michael Beckett, and Alma are all considered transhuman due to their psychic abilities, with one character stating that they would be like "a god among men."
  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution turns the Transhumanism Up to Eleven. This installment is also more "traditionally" cyberpunk than its predecessors, given its set in 2027; focuses on bionic augmentations (nanotech is in early stages of development); the fact that the protagonist, Adam Jensen, works for a corporation rather than a government agency and that the game plot focuses on corporate espionage and side quests are essentially cyberpunk film noir in all its glory. The plot, however, has Post Cyber Punk themes as well; it portrays technological advancement as a tool not of enslaving the populace but of liberating them from their overlords, and it portrays at least one corporation (led by a staunch opponent of augmentation regulation) sympathetically.


Web Original[edit | hide]

  • Thorne is an adult game (NSFW, obviously) with a cyber punk setting. Despite the fact that it's a porn game, it has fantastic character design and setting.
  • Kara clearly takes place in a cyberpunk setting, and touches on many common cyberpunk themes.


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • Perhaps the first Western cartoon to use Cyberpunk motifs was the Centurions episode "Zone Dancer". The plot took elements from Blade Runner and Neuromancer, the dialogue actually used the word "cyberpunk," and as an additional Shout-Out, one of the guest star characters was a computer hacker named Gibson.
  • Phantom 2040. This futuristic series—based on The Phantom, a Superhero from The Thirties—was a surprisingly thoughtful take on the genre.
  • Samurai Jack takes place in a future with lots of cyberpunk atmospheres, especially the first city he finds himself in after his time travel.


Other[edit | hide]


Having Some Elements[edit | hide]

Anime and Manga[edit | hide]


Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • Adam Warren's comic version of the Dirty Pair; the original anime lacks this element, however.
  • Last Man Standing has a bit of Cyber-punkism with the evil Mega Corp known as Armtech, but some it's fantastical elements don't make it a clear cut case.


Film[edit | hide]

  • Tron
  • The Fifth Element: It's cyberpunk, but fabulous.
  • RoboCop
  • The Matrix Arguably takes the whole cyberspace theme to its most extreme conclusion, but perhaps too extreme to be considered truly Cyberpunk, ironically enough. The quasi-religious symbolism and the idealism of the protagonists pretty much disqualify it too.
    • The Matrix starts out cyberpunk, but then veers into Post Cyber Punk after the heroes become accustomed to jacking in and out of the Matrix at will. Note the distinction seems to be that the heroes of The Matrix are messianic action heroes, with superhuman powers by dint of skill hacking into the Matrix; if they were underpowered rebels fighting a losing battle and Zion turned out to be a Matrix Within A Matrix, it would probably be considered Cyberpunk.
    • However, The Matrix does keep with the core Cyberpunk theme of technology as a tool of control.
  • Sneakers an unconventional choice, as it's based on the (then) present and features only one technological wonder (the MacGuffin), but it touches on several of the basic tropes and themes of cyberpunk and hacker cinema. There's a gang of genius quasi-criminals, shady .gov types, and this quote:

Cosmo: [I] learned that everything in this world--including money--operates not on reality . . .
Martin Bishop: But the perception of reality.

  • Repo! The Genetic Opera is a cyberpunk (though arguably, it could be called biopunk) musical.
  • WarGames
  • Brazil has all the plot elements, but with ductwork and teletype machines in place of the Internet. It even has a guerrilla plumber in place of a hacker.
  • Chinatown: While not an example in and of itself, it's the type of Film Noir that inspired the setting: with an unspeakably Corrupt Corporate Executive conspiring to control the city's water supply so he can turn the Los Angeles basin into a sprawling urban wasteland. (he succeeds.) He even looks like Tyrell.
  • Inception: The film's certainly more noir but the technology and the general theme of Corporate Espionage is very punk.
  • Avatar: The inhabitants of the Pandora can connect to a natural/organic version of the internet via neural connection fibers, who are being threatened by a mining corporation.
    • Earth in Avatar is overpopulated and has technology and adverts everywhere, and looks a little like Los Angeles from Blade Runner.
  • If the criterion is just "Having some elements," then you have to list Metropolis. Just about every techno-dystopia has been influenced by it. Some people might argue that Metropolis has magical elements, but that simply because up until about 1940, screenwriters didn't usually try to come up with Applied Phlebotinum explanations for fantastic things that scientists, particularly scientists of the future, are able to do. So, whatever, for example, Rotwang does to make the robot look like Maria, isn't magic, isn't just science so highly advanced it just looks like magic to the unintitiated, and there's not point in spending a lot of time explaining it, especially in a silent film. A long series of intertitles with "Applied Phlebotinum" is where the audience starts taking bathroom breaks.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • Nineteen Eighty-Four and Brave New World (both the Trope Codifiers for Dystopia in modern thought), while they lacked the hacker element crucial in Cyberpunk, have the general theme of technology being used as a tool of oppression. 1984 has surveillance networks and telescreens dominating every aspect of life. Brave New World (a deconstruction of the concept of creating a utopia through technology) has society succumbing to hedonism and mass consumerism under a corporate-like system based on Ford's assembly line, to the point where even humans are engineered and mass produced (the punk element is provided to a degree by the Savage).
  • Many of Philip K. Dick's works are influential in cyberpunk, including titles like Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep (which was adapted into the movie Blade Runner) and A Scanner Darkly.
  • Jeff Noon's "Vurt", "Nymphomation" and "Automated Alice" have many elements of Cyberpunk, heavily influenced by Lewis Carroll (so there's a lot of mindscrew)
  • The Brawne Lamia chapter of Hyperion contains elements of Cyberpunk.
  • Alfred Bester's The Demolished Man and The Stars My Destination, written in 1953 and 1956 respectively, include many of the tropes characteristic of Cyberpunk. Both involve amoral, anti-heroic protagonists, megacorporations and alpha-societies with seedy underbellies. The Stars... explicitly describes cyberware, including the enhanced reflexes so beloved of Cyberpunk Tabletop Games, and a backstreet 'Freak Factory' for extreme biological body modifications.
  • Asimov's novel The Caves of Steel anticipates the dystopian urban decay, and the bland foods made from algae.
  • Beat writer William S. Burroughs wrote several books that would later have an influence on the genesis of cyberpunk fiction, despite Burroughs not really being thought of as part of the science-fiction canon of writers.


Live Action TV[edit | hide]


Music[edit | hide]


Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • The art, style, and language of Misspent Youth by Robert Bohl are full of cyberpunk tropes. It's a game where you play teenage punks in a sci-fi Dystopia, out to smash the Man. The system includes group world creation, so a cyberpunk game is not always guaranteed, but the game is designed to address all the same themes of technology as oppression. In fact, in the world creation step, you make Systems of Control — sci-fi-based social or technological ways The Authority (the GM-like role and group-generated in-fiction antagonist) has to oppress and ruin the lives of the Youthful Offenders; the "player character" role.
  • GURPS has guidelines on how to make a cyberpunk campaign and at one point had the awesome but sadly discontinued Cthulhupunk.
  • Shadowrun is half Cyberpunk, and half Dungeon Punk.
    • Shadowrun borrows blatantly and shamelessly from William Gibson's work, right down to a big chunk of the terminology used (Matrix, Street Samurai, etc). Gibson reportedly dislikes Shadowrun due to the magical aspects.
  • R. Talsorian Games' Cyberpunk 2013, its second (Cyberpunk 2020), and (to a lesser extent) third editions are more "traditional" Cyberpunk games.
  • And of course, Rifts. It mixes elements of pretty much every genre in the world, Cyberpunk not least.
    • In the introduction of the original Rifts core book, there's a paragraph remarking on how when the game was being developed, it would be Palladium Book's answer to Cyberpunk. Kevin Siembieda admits that there are quite a few Cyberpunk elements.
  • Iron Crown Enterprise's Cyberspace RPG.
  • Eclipse Phase straddles the line between Cyberpunk and Transhumanism. On the one hand, many people do wind up with a totally different understanding of culture, life, and even humanity, and on the other, there are even more trying to keep the old forms of government and commerce alive... often as a means to control others. Also, from the outside, the more transhuman beings usually appear horrifying and incomprehensible.


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Many sci-fi games by Origin, including Bioforge, Cybermage, and Crusader: No Remorse and No Regret.
  • While it is a space sim, Black Market shows a long list of Cyberpunk influences, from implants to megacorps.
  • The Half-Life series also features elements of Cyberpunk.
  • The MMORPG City of Heroes has very literal Cyber Punks in the Freakshow, a powerful gang of drug-fuelled cyborg punks who have to be seen to be believed. They are pretty much the main comic relief faction of the game, while still managing to be a considerable threat in their own right. Case in point from a bank robber: "I'm gonna buy a sports car, then weld it to me!"
  • Final Fantasy VII, definitely. It becomes rather obvious when your bioengineered antihero protagonist battles an army of corporate thugs on a freeway, with a gigantic sword, on a motorcycle. However, it tones it down for the rest of the game, so it's not a straight example.
    • Final Fantasy VII: Dirge of Cerberus covers cyberpunk themes like virtual reality, consciousness transference, and is about a Noir-ish Anti-Hero battling a Transhuman who had put his mind into the Internet. It's much fluffier and more magically based than you would usually associate with cyberpunk, though, and never asks any really tricky questions about identity.
  • Chaos;Head. Surprisingly, being set in present day, its tone is probably more modern than numerous other futuristic fictions.
  • Mirrors Edge. Although it's set in a Shining City, it nevertheless has cyberpunk features like rebellious, marginalized heroes opposing an oppressive government, and information running is the key aspect of the story.
  • Devil Survivor: It's an Atlus game set in modern urban Japan society! And it's Tokyo no less! However, without giving away any spoilers, the message is very much against cynicism.
  • The Cybrans from Supreme Commander. Every cybran is a cyborg.
  • The DS version of Drawn to Life: The Next Chapter has a quasi-Cyberpunk world called the Galactic Jungle. It features an authoritarian Council that make many unneeded rules, like no sneezing.
  • Technobabylon comes complete with Cyberspace in the form of the "Trance," people engineered from birth to be suicide bombers, and on and on
  • Mario Football, and especially its sequel Mario Strikers Charged Football, which combines this with Mario characters and soccer!
  • Perfect Dark has many cyberpunk elements (A Is, hacking, industrial espionage etc.) although it's a straight Science Fiction story as well.
  • Deus Ex and Deus Ex Invisible War also count. You have corporate statists (who fix prices and centrally plan the economy) operating under the name of the World Trade Organization. You have AI's, technological augmentation of the human body, and technology as a tool of social control. The plot, however, does have some transhumanist elements, but whether or not these elements are merely the rationalizations of potential dictators attempting to use technology to create some form or global dictatorship is deliberately left ambiguous.
    • However, the fact is that most of the factions are Well Intentioned Extremists, including your employer who is a transhumanist who actually seems to care about the common people.


Web Comics[edit | hide]


Web Original[edit | hide]

  • The last about thirty years of the Chaos Timeline definitely have this vibe going on, courtesy of the Logos (hackers) and the more earlier achieved advanced state of computer technology and networks than in our history.
  • The lifestyle and technology in the novel Theatrica relfect cyberpunk themes, such as the techno raves, the intranet system, and the barcodes on the back of people's necks.


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • Batman Beyond. Gotham City's evolution seems quite natural- still crowded, dirty and corrupt, only now the cars can fly.
  • The Tiny Toon Adventures episode "Real Kids Don't Eat Broccoli" is a parody of Blade Runner.
  • Futurama has some elements, including at least one recurring antagonist Mega Corp, though the government is more comically inept than corrupt, and it's all Played for Laughs. The heroes are just getting by, doing their jobs and occasionally saving the universe.
  • Invader Zim
  • Coming off the heels of The Eighties, it's no surprise that Sonic Sat AM featured these themes. The show has industry and technology radically transforming society and the world. The world has become a ugly place, with youths revolting against a corrupt government. However, being a Saturday morning cartoon featuring Sonic the Hedgehog, it's not as depressing it should be.


Real Life[edit | hide]

  • Corrupt multinational corporations, incompetent governments, media outlets that serve as nothing more than the propaganda departments of the government (or certain political stances otherwise), skyscrapers, computers, The Internet, websites that will ruin your life, artificial limbs, Gullible Lemmings, online freedom fighters whose morality is questionable, the degeneration of culture in general, the rise of Asian countries like China and Japan, global warming..... nothing you can't see on the Internet or read about in the news.
  • Japan. Japan's economic structure of state-linked crony corporations is very Cyberpunk. The Mega Corp was consciously modeled on these Japanese "Zaibatsu" (favored merchants) even moreso than the large, bureaucratic managed corporations of 1950's America. William Gibson, the father of the genre himself, even said "Modern Japan simply was cyberpunk." [1] However, Japan doesn't use technology as a tool of control to nearly the extent that Cyberpunk requires, and nor does it have the resistance against the current social order required by the genre, which makes it lean more towards Post Cyber Punk.
    • Add to that Japan's significant technological lead over pretty much every other country (various devices being released there well ahead of other areas).
  • Similar to Japan, Hong Kong has a domestic economy that (unlike its highly laissez-faire international economy) is strongly cartelized by a series of politically-favored corporations. The similarity to the Japanese Zaibatsu model, where the economy is highly managed by "collaborative efforts" between the government and crony corporations, is unmistakable (for more, see Joe Studwell's book Asian Godfathers). And Hong Kong Island's skyline certainly looks like something out of Blade Runner. However, unless China starts cracking down on Hong Kong's civil liberties, it isn't nearly dystopic enough to be considered Cyberpunk.
    • Hong Kong has been referred to as "Shadowrun on location."
    • You could argue that some of China's larger cities (such as Shanghai) are like Cyberpunk, for the same reasons as Hong Kong.
  • England has the highest concentration of closed-circuit television cameras in the world today. The British "Surveillance State" is arguably an example of technology as a tool of social control; a very significant theme in Cyberpunk.
    • That's more like a reference to Nineteen Eighty-Four, though then again, 1984 could be thought of as proto-cyberpunk.
    • This extends to its dependent states, such as Guernsey and particularly Sark, the former of which is run primarily by the owners of locally operating firms (who put all public construction through their firms, thus making the MP expenses look like nothing, and resulting in schools that are just refurbished warehouses, built for profit margin rather than a decent environment.) and English people (who abuse the island's tax status and purchase houses, perform routine maintenance and then sell them on at an inflated rate, meaning the average small house costs over £350,000), while the latter island recently repelled an attempt by the Barclay Brothers to put corporate sponsored politicians in, effectively trying to annex the island as their personal corporate enclave. Following their failure, they pulled their investments from the island, collapsing its economy and causing the unemployment to rise to over 50%.
  • Think about it. Corporations can decide who gets to eat and who doesn't based on some silly comments or some...irreverent moments captured on film in your Facebook page. As some more internet-savvy people have pointed out, if you're foolish enough to put it on your Facebook page and have it public & connectible to you...
    • If someone puts embarrassing info on a Facebook page and does not cover his or her tracks, he or she is hardly a punk, cyber or otherwise.
      • Well, maybe if you go back to the original meaning of "punk".[1]