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January 17, 2013 4:42 AM   Subscribe

Back in 2000, R. Talsorian Games released on their website a series of overviews of what they considered to be classic Cyberpunk movies, along with notes on incorporating their characters and ideas into games.

Do note that there's spoilers all throughout these articles.

1. Escape From New York
2. Blade Runner
3. Tron
4. Videodrome
5. The Terminator
6. Max Headroom, episode 1
7. Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome
8. Robocop
9. Predator
10. Batman
11. La Femme Nikita
12. Terminator 2
13. Sneakers
14. Nemesis
15. Leon / The Professional
16. The Crow
17. Strange Days
18. The City of Lost Children
19. Escape From LA
20. The Crow: City of Angels
21. Dark City
22. The Matrix
23. Unbreakable
24. The One
posted by Pope Guilty (111 comments total) 40 users marked this as a favorite

 
Shouldn't that be "the color of MetaTalk"?
posted by Halloween Jack at 4:45 AM on January 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


Have you seen a TV tuned to a dead channel lately? ;)
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:46 AM on January 17, 2013 [12 favorites]


Checking the list... re-checking the list. Winner: None.

A strange game.
The only winning strategy is not to play.
posted by Slap*Happy at 4:58 AM on January 17, 2013 [5 favorites]


White Wolf did this with their World of Darkness games, giving books, movies, and music that either provided inspiration or could set the mood. Of course, as much as I love the idea of Changeling, it was brutally obvious how much they'd lifted fom Charles de Lint's version of Jack the Giant Killer. Or Vampire and Anne Rice.

I'd like to go on record, again, that Chiba is about as far from Cyberpunk as you can get. We have the Gap, Outback Steakhouse, freaking Tesco, Costco, and just about every other sign of suburban life.

Why yes, I am still bitter about the irrational excitement I felt when I was told I'd be living in an actual location from the future. Damn you, Gibson!

posted by Ghidorah at 4:59 AM on January 17, 2013 [5 favorites]


Have you seen a TV tuned to a dead channel lately? ;)

Think the latest Doctorow novel riffs on this, using it to mean the sky is bright blue. (Which is what I thought when I first read Neuromancer)
posted by fightorflight at 5:01 AM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


No Akira. Fail.
posted by MartinWisse at 5:07 AM on January 17, 2013 [10 favorites]


Since Neuromancer is tied up in production hell forever and ever, I nominate that Quentin Tarantino move straight to Count Zero.

He's done his war movie. He's done his cowboy movie. He's done his Knight Errant movie. He's done his horror movie. Only one direction left to go. (Well, apart from the family feature - even Lynch had The Straight Story.)
posted by Slap*Happy at 5:08 AM on January 17, 2013


You can tune TVs to channels?
posted by fleacircus at 5:12 AM on January 17, 2013


WHOA.

So, back in the olden days of VHS tapes and stores that rented them, my friend and I used to watch movies on Friday nights. We'd go over and get a dollar rental, stay up late and watch a movie. Our selection process was incredibly complex: the box art had to indicate that it was awesome. Or at least had lots of ACTION. We would ask each other what the odds were that a police car would flip over, and if so, would it be on fire while a guitar went WAAAAAAAAAAA. Pretty quickly we worked our way through all the action movies that everyone knows and were on to the D list - and if that sounds fun to you, check out "The Annihilators"

Anyway, one night we saw a movie that had an astounding amount of shooting. Like, even to our action-addled brains, there were a lot of rounds expended. Probably the most mind-boggling bit - at one point a guy is trying to escape from two guys who are carrying machine guns that should probably be mounted on a vehicle. So in order to get away he shoots a circle in the floor around his feet, plunges to the floor below, and then does it again. Our minds were blown.

Later, we could never remember the name of the film. It had cyborgs and shooting, but no actors that we recognized from anything else. We couldn't even remember what the box looked like. The sheer fact that we couldn't figure out a way to see it again made it even more impressive. And over time I think we built it up into something that couldn't be equaled.

So I glanced down the list and thought, huh, I think i've seen most of these, what's "Nemesis"?

I read the synopsis, and got a funny feeling that I remembered that, so I had a look around youtube.

And there it was.
posted by dubold at 5:13 AM on January 17, 2013 [17 favorites]


That list certainly excels at stretching the definition of cyberpunk to the breaking point...and beyond.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:14 AM on January 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


Everyone watch dubold's link, now. It is ridiculous.
posted by word_virus at 5:22 AM on January 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


I always thought Olivier Gruner deserved to be in more movies. I mean, Nemesis was awful, but I liked him in it.
posted by Ghidorah at 5:23 AM on January 17, 2013


That list certainly excels at stretching the definition of cyberpunk to the breaking point...and beyond.

Yeah, looking at the one for La Femme Nikita, I felt this was more "films that provided visual inspiration for the design of our game" rather than "films that would fit into a genre called 'Cyberpunk.'" Although, to be fair, as soon as the idea of cyberpunk was half-articulated, it became a lot more "important" to draw firm genre lines between what "was" and what "wasn't" in the "Canon" than actually producing the damn stuff. In this, it was kind of living up to the "punk" part of the name. "You're not cyberpunk, and I'm telling everyone."
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:25 AM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


I was totally going to do a post about RTGs original boxed set Cyberpunk game (released 25 years ago this year!) but now I'm thinking I can't be arsed and we should do it here instead.
posted by longbaugh at 5:32 AM on January 17, 2013


FWIW, the creators of The Witcher are working on a Cyperpunk video game based on this game.
posted by empath at 5:36 AM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


For those of you who've never seen it: a tv tuned to a dead channel.
posted by mr vino at 5:56 AM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


I loved Max Headroom for many reasons, but I think it was mostly because of Matt Frewer's voice.
posted by h00py at 5:59 AM on January 17, 2013


$30 for 480p footage of static?

Besides, YouTube has taken it upon itself to introduce the younger generations to this artifact--when a YouTube video fails to load, a faux-static animation plays in the video frame.
posted by simen at 6:01 AM on January 17, 2013


I love Matt Frewer for many reasons, but I think it's mostly because he was the bad guy in The Crimson Permanent Assurance.
posted by Ghidorah at 6:02 AM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


White Wolf did this with their World of Darkness games...

The suggested reading section is often the best part of an RPG sourcebook. No reason to hide your influences, you know? We're all friends here.
posted by lumensimus at 6:05 AM on January 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


"In the early 1980s, I felt that we were indeed a movement. Certainly the five of us exchanged a lot of letters and phone calls. We believed that science fiction needed to take its cues from the present--computer technology, corporate power structures, Japanese economic ascendency--rather than the mid-century pipe dreams of World Governments and Galactic Federations. For me, the movement was about global culture, anarchy and high-energy prose.

But by 1987, cyberpunk had become a cliché. Other writers had turned the form into formula: implant wetware (biological computer chips), government by multinational corporations, street-wise, leather-jacketed, amphetamine-loving protagonists and decayed orbital colonies.

These changes led a number of us to declare the movement dead. For us, cyberpunk in its new incarnation had turned technology into an end in itself and lost its original impulse.

Ironically, as the term cyberpunk was losing its meaning for us, it was escaping, virus-like, into the mainstream, where it continues to thrive."

Confessions of an ex-cyberpunk. Lewis Shiner. (previously)
posted by Stagger Lee at 6:34 AM on January 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


That list certainly excels at stretching the definition of cyberpunk to the breaking point...and beyond.

Yeah, uh, Predator? The Professional?
posted by adamdschneider at 6:39 AM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]



Yeah, uh, Predator? The Professional?
posted by adamdschneider at 6:39 AM on January 17 [+] [!]



And yet, no Johnny Mnemonic.
posted by Stagger Lee at 6:44 AM on January 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


Besides Doctorow, Gaiman did this in Neverwhere, using the nearly the same line. It actually prompted me to post this AskMefi.

I read through their explanation for Beyond Thunderdome and find it kind of weak. Post apocalyptic != cyberpunk.
posted by Hactar at 6:46 AM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Indeed. I clicked on the link for The Crow to see if there was any explanation. There wasn't. I did, however, read that "The Crow has remained one of my top 10 films of all time" and realised that there wasn't much point in me reading any of these.
posted by ninebelow at 6:46 AM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


But by 1987, cyberpunk had become a cliché. Other writers had turned the form into formula: implant wetware (biological computer chips), government by multinational corporations, street-wise, leather-jacketed, amphetamine-loving protagonists and decayed orbital colonies.

But by 2007, steampunk had become a cliché. Other writers had turned the form into formula: cogs and gears (maybe water boilers), government by Victorian pastiches, street-wise, leather-bodiced, port-loving protagonists and decayed sooty cobblestone streets.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:49 AM on January 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


There's a bit of a drop off after 9, but 1-9 are basically movies that I would watch any number of times. Well, maybe not so many times for Tron. Throw in the two good Aliens movies, which pad out quite a lot of Cyberpunk movie lists*, and it's pretty perfect.

* Cyberpunk movie lists require a lot of padding as nobody actually had a go at deliberatly making any cyberpunk movies till the 90s, and when they did they were mostly awful. Snobby SF lit types, ie me, would consider most of the listed movies to share some qualities without quite being Cyberpunk as such.
posted by Artw at 6:53 AM on January 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


And Akira, yup, that should definatly be there. Probably the most Cyberpunk of the bunch.
posted by Artw at 6:55 AM on January 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


Everyone who loves these movies has seen the new Dredd film, right? Because it fits in perfectly.
posted by Artw at 6:57 AM on January 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


The 80's were the apex of sci fi-action movies. I attribute this to the decade being the last in which computers weren't good enough to do really good-looking CGI yet, leading it to be the golden age of that most glorious thing: practical SFX.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:03 AM on January 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


What, no Alphaville?
posted by Lazlo Hollyfeld at 7:05 AM on January 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


The Strange Days scriptment is a thing of wonder.
posted by Artw at 7:08 AM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


I was reminded the other day that R. Talsorian Games' first version of Cyberpunk was Cyberpunk 2013.
posted by Mezentian at 7:10 AM on January 17, 2013 [5 favorites]


The 80's were the apex of sci fi-action movies. I attribute this to the decade being the last in which computers weren't good enough to do really good-looking CGI yet, leading it to be the golden age of that most glorious thing: practical SFX.

Scripts hadn't hadn't had Robert McKee stomp the life out of them either.
posted by Artw at 7:14 AM on January 17, 2013


Wait. Hackers is missing from this list?
The Net, sure, but Hackers?

And, also missing, which were Capital C Cyberpunk films back in the day: Cyberpunk (well, duh, but it is a docco) and the two Tetsuo flicks. This list is so broad that I am surprised The Cube doesn't make the cut.

I am pretty sure we used to talk about Blue Thunder and Runaway too, the latter being a pretty obvious knockoff of some other film.
posted by Mezentian at 7:15 AM on January 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Hackers was fucking atrocious. I can't think of a way in which it wasn't awful.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:17 AM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


The way in which it is rewatchable an infinite number of times.
posted by Artw at 7:18 AM on January 17, 2013 [5 favorites]


R. Talsorian! There's a name from the dim past of ads in the back of of Dragon Magazine. Teenagers From Outer Space, wasn't it?
posted by Chrysostom at 7:23 AM on January 17, 2013


If someone had turned up to my first Cyberpunk 2013 session with a Netrunner named "Acid Burn" or "Zero Cool" I would have killed him, got Trauma Team to revive him and then shot down the AV-4 and killed him again.
posted by longbaugh at 7:24 AM on January 17, 2013 [6 favorites]


Okay, the R.T website is a thing of 1990s beauty, but the front page is Geocities back.

Talsorian is responsible for Castle Falkenstein? I think that was my first encounter with steampunk
back in the day.

And apparently Talsorian went away and came back, just like FASA, to monetise their intellectual property. Good luck with that.

Also missing as contenders: Freejack and The 13th Floor.
posted by Mezentian at 7:26 AM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Predator? No clue. None at all.
The Professional? Totally has a cyberpunk vibe, without your actual cyberpunk trappings. It was widely regarded as fitting by my friends, who called themselves cyberpunks.

Johnny Mnemonic I haven't seen since it came out on video, but I recall it was not well received. I never have seen New Rose Hotel.

ANd now I am going to hack my dreams, chummers. Shadowrun 4 lyfe.
posted by Mezentian at 7:36 AM on January 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Predator? No clue. None at all.

Minigun.

If someone had turned up to my first Cyberpunk 2013 session with a Netrunner named "Acid Burn" or "Zero Cool" I would have killed him, got Trauma Team to revive him and then shot down the AV-4 and killed him again.

Which is pretty much why it's a joy to watch.
posted by Artw at 7:38 AM on January 17, 2013


eXistenZ - it even has the facepunchingly annoying spelling that is the hallmark of all cyberpunk!
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:42 AM on January 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


If we're talking near and proto-cyberpunk film then the thing of amazement that is Jonathan Stanley's HARDWARE is deserving of discussion too - previous post here.
posted by Artw at 7:44 AM on January 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


Ahhaha, Freejack. I still sometimes say, "Target: 200 meters" in my cheesiest, incredibly stilted Mick Jagger voice for no reason at all.
posted by adamdschneider at 7:50 AM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]



Johnny Mnemonic I haven't seen since it came out on video, but I recall it was not well received.


Oh god, it's awful. But it's also classic cyberpunk. There are very few films that deserve the title more, and almost none of them are on the list.
posted by Stagger Lee at 7:58 AM on January 17, 2013


Shadowrun 4 lyfe.

Go buzz!
posted by Nomyte at 8:02 AM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


The thing to remember about Johnny Mnemonic is that it was fucking terrible.

Talking of terrible movies from 1995 that are sf and "punk" and have cool sounding casts that somehow contribute nothing, here's Comics Alliance rewatching Tank Girl, the epitome of that kind of thing.
posted by Artw at 8:02 AM on January 17, 2013


The Professional? Totally has a cyberpunk vibe,

Just because something is influenced by some of the same sources as cyberpunk doesn't mean that thing is cyberpunk. I'd say that about most of the list in this FPP. "Noir," post-apocalyptic," and "urban fantasy" are not in and of themselves the same thing as cyberpunk, even if it sometimes contained those elements.

I was struck by the irony of neither "Johnny Mnemonic" nor "New Rose Hotel" making this list.
posted by aught at 8:04 AM on January 17, 2013


Stagger Lee: "
Johnny Mnemonic I haven't seen since it came out on video, but I recall it was not well received.


Oh god, it's awful. But it's also classic cyberpunk. There are very few films that deserve the title more, and almost none of them are on the list.
"

And, I still lovingly refer to the "room service monologue" as a favorite of mine. And, as much as I do like to look at Dina Meyer, how did Molly's eyes become visible, especially with leaving in Jonesy and the monofil thumb spool and the proto Bridge crowd and the killing floor (sort of)?

Boy howdy, has Gibson's work suffered cinematically. Of course, there's Johnny, and then there is the most boring Gibson movie ever, despite a lovely cast and some promising staff behind it, which sort of sucks as I loved the story.

(Yeah, my nick comes from Gibson too...)
posted by Samizdata at 8:08 AM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Nomyte: "Shadowrun 4 lyfe.

Go buzz!
"

Null persp, chombatta.
posted by Samizdata at 8:09 AM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Gibson's VR episode of The X Files would easily make any Top 10 Worst X-Files list.
posted by Artw at 8:12 AM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]




But by 1987, cyberpunk had become a cliché. Other writers had turned the form into formula: implant wetware (biological computer chips), government by multinational corporations, street-wise, leather-jacketed, amphetamine-loving protagonists and decayed orbital colonies.

But by 2007, steampunk had become a cliché. Other writers had turned the form into formula: cogs and gears (maybe water boilers), government by Victorian pastiches, street-wise, leather-bodiced, port-loving protagonists and decayed sooty cobblestone streets.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:49 AM on January 17 [3 favorites +] [!]


Yeah, in that piece he's getting at something more than just the exhaustion of an aesthetic though. The focus on aesthetic is really the heart of his criticism of what I guess I can call late or post-cyberpunk.
posted by Stagger Lee at 8:13 AM on January 17, 2013


I agree, Akira should've been here - it was so very much like what Gibson, Sterling, et. al were writing about. I'd also nominate Aeon Flux (the cartoon, not the movie) for its skewed, futuristic take on power, relationships, and the most flexible terrorist/dom ever, and Ghost in the Shell because of the merging of technology, humanity and the meaning of consciousness.
posted by Zack_Replica at 8:14 AM on January 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


SF lit Cyberpunk never went away, it just infected the mainstream to the point where it's ideas we're utterly mainstream and the only thing that stood out as a distinct thing was the leather-jacket-and-mirrorshades stuff.
posted by Artw at 8:15 AM on January 17, 2013


Samizdata:how did Molly's eyes become visible, especially with leaving in Jonesy and the monofil thumb spool and the proto Bridge crowd and the killing floor (sort of)?


The character isn't Molly in the film: due to a conflict with the studio that bought the rights to Neuromancer, they couldn't use the Molly character in the Johnny Mnemonic movie. So, they made up an uninteresting female sidekick who was only somewhat cyberpunky in nature.
posted by AzraelBrown at 8:32 AM on January 17, 2013


Echoing Akira and Ghost in the Shell as especially conspicuous omissions. Lawnmower Man was terrible but was self-consciously marketed as 'cyberpunk.' And what about Wargames? Or Three Days of the Condor as an early progenitor?
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:42 AM on January 17, 2013


I remember Cyberpunk 2020. It was the game where you wanted to max out your Empathy stat, making your character a veritable living saint...so you could spend all that Empathy on cyberware, ending up with a near psychopath on the borderline of insanity. Good times.
posted by happyroach at 8:43 AM on January 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah, it's basically a copy of CoCs San Loss vs. Mythos Knowledge dynamic, but as game mechanics that can min/maxed producing results that make little "real world" or dramatic sense go that one particularly stuck out.

Too many die rolls in the fire fights too.
posted by Artw at 8:47 AM on January 17, 2013


On the Leon article:

1) I guess it may be grandfathered in via its relationship with Nikita, which is itself borderline but has plenty a Cyberpunk RPG player could pull from, but boy is the justification the guy gives for it super weak.
2) wow, the American edit ("The Professional") sounds really awful. Commiserations, Americans, was there ever a proper release?
posted by Artw at 8:56 AM on January 17, 2013


aww ... I remember playing the hell out of Cyberpunk 2013 in high school, on weekend long binges fueled by pizza, Dew and adolescent wish fulfillment. My gaming group had gotten our dystopian imaginations primed with a year of playing Car Wars, and so had already made a habit of picking up movies for inspiration. Certainly, a lot of the stuff wasn't "canonically cyberpunk", but if you wanted to roleplay a mercenary who had been broken down in a cruel training regimen and turned into a lethal killing machine, then why not take a combination of Predator, La Femme Nikita and John Woo's The Killer into your character concept?

Going back through memories, I think our group's list would've been (assuming 1992 cutoff)

Blade Runner
Max Headroom
Akira
Brazil
The Warriors
A Clockwork Orange
Sid and Nancy
Escape from New York
Streets of Fire
The Killer
Bubblegum Crisis
Megazone 23
Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome
La Femme Nikita
Robocop
Hardware
WarGames
The Running Man
Total Recall
Repo Man
Less Than Zero
Bright Lights, Big City
New Jack City
Juice

and, yeah, a bunch of these selections are not canonical either but in so far as opening ourselves up to the influences within the culture that shaped the urban dystopias of cyberpunk fiction, they were a lot of fun to dive into. And while much of the fiction was about the 'cyber-' end of things, my group also got into the '-punk' part, thus the tilt towards rock films like Streets of Fire.
posted by bl1nk at 8:57 AM on January 17, 2013 [6 favorites]


I nominate that Quentin Tarantino move straight to Count Zero.

GOD. NO. I would nominate him to move straight to a monastery.
posted by bongo_x at 9:28 AM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, that first scene in the Killer when he waltzes up in the nightclub and puts that cartidge down on the table with "death" etched into the casing (right?)...that's pretty cool.
posted by adamdschneider at 9:28 AM on January 17, 2013


and the two Tetsuo flicks.

My first thought was "those aren’t even that old". I was wrong. Yikes.
posted by bongo_x at 9:29 AM on January 17, 2013


I'm going to backpedal a bit here.

I like that the author is looking for cyberpunk themes in films, rather than just listing everything with a vaguely cyberpunk aesthetic. I don't think he entirely succeeded, but it's good that he tried. I think that a proper attempt to pick out the themes would have involved some research, with only about five names credited for all of the foundational writing, it would have been fairly easy to more concretely nail down the themes, rather than relying on one's own preconceptions and gut instincts. Still, I DO like that he was willing to list films that seem unrelated, based on a thematic relationship rather than a visual one.
posted by Stagger Lee at 9:29 AM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]



GOD. NO. I would nominate him to move straight to a monastery.
posted by bongo_x


I'm not sure monks deserve that, but I agree with the sentiment.
posted by Stagger Lee at 9:30 AM on January 17, 2013


I mean, Nemesis was awful, but I liked him in it.

No way, Nemesis is a fantastic action film. So much so other movies stole action sequences out of it. If you can get past the hokey early 90's stylings, it's a fun watch. It sits right next Cherry 2000 as a good goto for B movie magic.
posted by P.o.B. at 9:56 AM on January 17, 2013


Boy howdy, has Gibson's work suffered cinematically. Of course, there's Johnny, and then there is the most boring Gibson movie ever, despite a lovely cast and some promising staff behind it, which sort of sucks as I loved the story.

I actually really like that one, sort of. It's problem is that they seemed to only have had enough money to shoot footage for half its running time so about half of it is flashback but using voiceover on footage we've already seen.
posted by juv3nal at 10:27 AM on January 17, 2013


The most cyberpunk thing I've seen in quite a while, possibly ever.
posted by wobh at 10:44 AM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


The list predates 2000. There was a (shorter) list like this in the Cyberpunk 2020 handbook itself. I'm guessing that it's the same list (without the '90s movies) but it didn't have these notes or explanations, just the title, leaving you to be baffled at the criteria for its inclusion. :)
posted by anonymisc at 10:44 AM on January 17, 2013


For those of you who've never seen it (: a tv tuned to a dead channel.)

This means I'm officially old, right?
posted by ersatz at 10:55 AM on January 17, 2013


I played Cyberpunk 2020 back in high school and I actually remember reading these articles as they came out. I also remember hearing about how Cyberpunk v3 was going to be out Real Soon Now, but it didn't come out until I graduated college and moved cross-country, so I didn't have anyone to play it with anyway.

Then, I saw the trailer for Cyberpunk 2077 and I got all excited and ordered Cyberpunk 203x online.

A bit later I got an e-mail from Ross Talsorian saying that Cyberpunk 203x was actually out of stock, I presume from all the other people who had the same idea.
posted by ckape at 11:04 AM on January 17, 2013


A bit later I got an e-mail from Ross Talsorian saying that Cyberpunk 203x was actually out of stock, I presume from all the other people who had the same idea.

I don't have it/haven't read it, but the general internet impression I get is that you dodged a bullet there in that 203x is supposedly not particularly good.
posted by juv3nal at 11:21 AM on January 17, 2013


$30 for 480p footage of static?

Besides, YouTube has taken it upon itself to introduce the younger generations to this artifact--when a YouTube video fails to load, a faux-static animation plays in the video frame.
posted by simen at 3:01 AM on January 17 [+] [!]


ACTUALLY.

The look of an old television tuned to a dead channel isn't static - skies don't look like static. It's a sort of flickering blankness, which does look like a sky with lots of light pollution.

THE MORE YOU KNOW.
posted by Sebmojo at 12:41 PM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


The list predates 2000. There was a (shorter) list like this in the Cyberpunk 2020 handbook itself. I'm guessing that it's the same list (without the '90s movies) but it didn't have these notes or explanations, just the title, leaving you to be baffled at the criteria for its inclusion. :)

I'm pretty sure that list had some of our noted exceptions though - I remember Aliens in particular being there, also obscure bits and bobs like Overdrawn at the Memory Bank. Probably though it varied from version to version.

What I'd love to get hold of is the similar list in one of the WH40k books, which is basically a guide to all the things they stole from to build the early WH40K world. Them being total magpies it had a lot on it, and some pretty quality stuff.

Or maybe the thing is a false memory, I've never been able to find it.
posted by Artw at 12:48 PM on January 17, 2013


Artw: "What I'd love to get hold of is the similar list in one of the WH40k books, which is basically a guide to all the things they stole from to build the early WH40K world. Them being total magpies it had a lot on it, and some pretty quality stuff.

Or maybe the thing is a false memory, I've never been able to find it.
"

That would be SOOOOO awesome, as I have been reading through a lot of the Black Library stuff lately. There was a sequence with a tech-marine directly interfacing with a Chaos-infested machine spirit that went quite cyberspacy.
posted by Samizdata at 1:12 PM on January 17, 2013


There's a free "re-imagining" of the Cyberpunk RPG, but the destination of the links is down right now (and even when it's up, it's pretty tough to navigate.)
posted by Zed at 1:54 PM on January 17, 2013


Talking of terrible movies from 1995 that are sf and "punk" and have cool sounding casts that somehow contribute nothing, here's Comics Alliance rewatching Tank Girl, the epitome of that kind of thing.

Why the scare quotes? Iggy Pop and Jamie Hewlett automatically make that movie more punk than 90% of nerd fantasies. I'm looking forward to the new videotape, since The Witcher is good.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 2:02 PM on January 17, 2013


Hackers was fucking atrocious. I can't think of a way in which it wasn't awful.

Hackers was lovingly awful, though. It related to cyberpunk the way that Galaxy Quest related to Trek fandom, maybe. It managed to be a sincere movie version of a hacker/phreaker fantasy while simultaneously observing how silly many of its own tropes were. One of very few cyber-* movies of the time that actually seemed to have some familiarity with its own source material.
posted by hattifattener at 2:08 PM on January 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


They'd clearly read The Hacker Crackdown. How much they understood of it is up for debate.
posted by Artw at 2:15 PM on January 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


2) wow, the American edit ("The Professional") sounds really awful. Commiserations, Americans, was there ever a proper release?

DVD. There was actually a 2-DVD set released, with one of them being "Leon", and the other being "The Professional". Having only seen the second, seeing the first was a revelation about how all the story holes were the result of an editor, and I came away with a new appreciation for a good film editor.

the general internet impression I get is that you dodged a bullet there in that 203x is supposedly not particularly good.

I did get it, and no, it isn't. There's some good stuff in there, but some really horrible stuff. (Someone else I know who got it bitched about the fact that there's a lot of GI Joe-style dolls posed with gear photographed to be a lot of the art, but that's really the weakest complaint.) It's very self-conciously trying to be transitional to post-cyberpunk. Where the previous versions had the roles, there's now, basically, bunches of societal groups, most of whom dislike each other and making it hard to create a mixed group.

There's almost no nonbiological implants - the old-school cyberpunk style characters have nanotech devices that form frames over their limbs to do the old-school cyber tech; one of the groups has biotech implants that the Shapers from Sterling would drool over a bit; there's a group that's basically theme-park kids who use remote-control mecha to do their stuff; a bunch of cyborgs-from-birth so they don't lose their shit... and all of these groups think they're the bestest ever and all the rest suck.

There's also a system of relationships and reputation that is missing huge amounts of what needs to be there to make it work. (There's another post-cyberpunk game, Eclipse Phase, that does a lot of what CPv3 wanted to do and does it much better, including the rep/faction game.)
posted by mephron at 2:35 PM on January 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


bl1nk's list includes so many films that deserve to be here: Warriors, Less Than Zero, Repo Man for sure. And maybe Liquid Sky too, although I never liked that. But Akira never did it for me either.
posted by Mezentian at 2:58 PM on January 17, 2013


I was going to say something about how I wasn't particularly concerned about if 203x was any good and I can afford to have a few bad gamebooks, but if the art is terrible that's another thing entirely.
posted by ckape at 3:07 PM on January 17, 2013


There's a free "re-imagining" of the Cyberpunk RPG, but the destination of the links is down right now (and even when it's up, it's pretty tough to navigate.)

pdfs for that section of his site are mirrored on dropbox
(don't know if there's any missing non-pdf content)
posted by juv3nal at 3:30 PM on January 17, 2013


With all the talk in recent years (though it inevitably ends up being for naught) of a Neuromancer or Snow Crash film actually happening I started to think of the prospect of a revival of the cyberpunk genre.

I don't think it's in any way possible. Cyberpunk was almost completely based on an aesthetic of technology that in todays world is laughably anachronistic. I can't even imagine a way that these things could be appropriately updated for a dystopian technological setting that would in any way resemble the original cyberpunk visions.

I would love it if they would just say fuck all, and make it a vision of 80's cyberpunk, completely ignoring all modern technological advancements since 1988.. but it would probably end up looking like Johnny Mneumonic. A film that, for all its flaws, I really enjoyed. I could look past the changes to Molly, thought Reeves believably played the data courier carrier.. but when people watch it today without any cultural perspective it seems more dated then almost anything out there. The very concept of a data courier itself is outrageously unsecure and ridiculous to think of in todays environment.
posted by mediocre at 5:45 PM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


And re: Hackers. I remember at the time writing a review for it on a BBS that said something to the effect of "I would rather douse myself in kerosene and immolate myself while rolling on even a single copy of this film in a desperate attempt to make sure it is never seen again then be subjected to it once more."

The soundtrack wasn't terrible though, and time has given it a laughable quality. But apart from naming a character Emmanuel Goldstein, I don't really know how it could possibly be further from any real knowledge of the subject matter.
posted by mediocre at 5:49 PM on January 17, 2013


What I'd love to get hold of is the similar list in one of the WH40k books

That sounds like the original Rogue Trader - it had more a feel of "look around at all the cool stuff you can use to play the game" that was soon replaced by that vibe of "Here is the official stuff you must purchase from us for the game to be legitimate".
posted by anonymisc at 5:59 PM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't think it's in any way possible. Cyberpunk was almost completely based on an aesthetic of technology that in todays world is laughably anachronistic. I can't even imagine a way that these things could be appropriately updated for a dystopian technological setting that would in any way resemble the original cyberpunk visions.

This video is some of the best cyberpunk I've seen, almost like they've systematically double-checked that every trope from 2020 got crammed in there. It was done just two years ago, for a modern audience. I think it works fine.
posted by anonymisc at 6:07 PM on January 17, 2013


The soundtrack wasn't terrible though, and time has given it a laughable quality. But apart from naming a character Emmanuel Goldstein, I don't really know how it could possibly be further from any real knowledge of the subject matter.

If you take life less seriously it's a lot more fun.
posted by flaterik at 6:23 PM on January 17, 2013


This video is some of the best cyberpunk I've seen yt ,

No, this video is some of the best cyberpunk I've seen. (someone would have linked Shadowrun eventually).
posted by Mezentian at 6:49 PM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ugh, Shadowrun. I had managed to forget about that until you reminded me.
posted by ckape at 10:16 PM on January 17, 2013


"This badly needs elves and dwarves!"
posted by Artw at 11:35 PM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Joke all you want about Shadowrun being D&D in the future with computers and cybernetic implants, it won't change the fact that the setting's unique insanity spawned a rather rabid fanbase among both tabletop and video gamers.

On the video game side alone, you have a $1.8 million Kickstarter project (one of only 17 projects to crack a million in 2012), quickly followed by a second Kickstarter for an entirely different game that took in another half million. And this is after Microsoft's gaming division released a big steaming dump on the franchise's lore with a game that was Shadowrun in-name-only.
posted by radwolf76 at 3:25 AM on January 18, 2013


you have a $1.8 million Kickstarter project

Woah.
I had no idea.
Imagine what Battletech could raise.
posted by Mezentian at 4:16 AM on January 18, 2013


AzraelBrown: "Samizdata:how did Molly's eyes become visible, especially with leaving in Jonesy and the monofil thumb spool and the proto Bridge crowd and the killing floor (sort of)?


The character isn't Molly in the film: due to a conflict with the studio that bought the rights to Neuromancer, they couldn't use the Molly character in the Johnny Mnemonic movie. So, they made up an uninteresting female sidekick who was only somewhat cyberpunky in nature.
"

Well, it sucked, nonetheless. I still want to see Molly on screen, damn it, ESPECIALLY with her rerouted tear ducts.
posted by Samizdata at 5:29 AM on January 18, 2013


mediocre: "And re: Hackers. I remember at the time writing a review for it on a BBS that said something to the effect of "I would rather douse myself in kerosene and immolate myself while rolling on even a single copy of this film in a desperate attempt to make sure it is never seen again then be subjected to it once more."

The soundtrack wasn't terrible though, and time has given it a laughable quality. But apart from naming a character Emmanuel Goldstein, I don't really know how it could possibly be further from any real knowledge of the subject matter.
"

Well, there's something I should tell you about me. A secret only those people close to me know. Some of them are surprised to find out about it.

Well, here I go...

I like Hackers.

I mean, if you are going to fail, do it with style. Because, you know, RISC is good.

(And this is coming from a person who is notorious for ripping the king hell out of bad CS in movies/TV. I mean, c'mon, even Halle Berry's breasts couldn't interest me in watching Swordfish a second time, and that's the only reason I watched it the first time. I am the kind of guy that notices Harrison Ford in Firewall using the light bar from a fax machine rather than the optical array amidst my seizures from the rest of it. My father calls me regularly to taunt me about Garcia on Criminal Minds, I am that predictable.)
posted by Samizdata at 5:38 AM on January 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


And someone needs to make a damn Kickstarter to make a decent decker-simulator already. I can only play Neuromancer and the Genesis version of Shadowrun so many times.

(And NOT a hacker simulator. I want full on neon and chrome decker cyberspace world.)
posted by Samizdata at 5:40 AM on January 18, 2013


even Halle Berry's breasts couldn't interest me in watching Swordfish a second time

That bullshit is still the gold standard for hilariously bad "hacking" scenes.
posted by adamdschneider at 8:24 AM on January 18, 2013


adamdschneider: "even Halle Berry's breasts couldn't interest me in watching Swordfish a second time

That bullshit is still the gold standard for hilariously bad "hacking" scenes.
"

The breasts were okay too, even if, much like Close Encounters of the Third Kind: Special Edition, my imagination turned out better than reality.

In that case, I just chalk up having to see such things as DOING IT FOR SCIENCE!

Besides, something tells me (like my life) that hacking has to be something other than wireframe Lego action.
posted by Samizdata at 12:07 PM on January 18, 2013


And I am NOT badmouthing Legos. That shit'll get you shanked around here.
posted by Samizdata at 12:08 PM on January 18, 2013


Lego shank
posted by anonymisc at 12:28 PM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I started rewatching Johnny Mnemonic last night (extended cut) and it is surprisingly better than I remembered, if 100% packing just about every Cyberpunk cliche under the sun.

It made me realise just how indebted the remake of Total Recall was to cyberpunk (especially Blade Runner) too.
posted by Mezentian at 3:15 PM on January 18, 2013


I liked playing Shadowrun better than Cyberpunk even though it felt kinda silly. (It's possible that FASA may have recycled mechanics that were familiar to me from Battletech/Mechwarrior.)

With regard to Ridley Scott and Blade Runner, I've always considered Black Rain to be cyberpunk-ish in its Japanese cityscapes and Yakuza-driven plotline, despite having nothing to do with technological dystopia (except perhaps in the film's explication of its title, but that's a few steps removed from the usual cyberpunk dystopia).
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:15 PM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Samizdata: "And someone needs to make a damn Kickstarter to make a decent decker-simulator already. I can only play Neuromancer and the Genesis version of Shadowrun so many times.

(And NOT a hacker simulator. I want full on neon and chrome decker cyberspace world.)
"

Have you tried Dystopia? It has some very nice depictions of cyberspace, although the hacking you do in there is limited by the fact that it's a hacking sub-game inside a team vs. team FPS.
posted by radwolf76 at 3:11 PM on January 19, 2013


radwolf76: "Samizdata: "And someone needs to make a damn Kickstarter to make a decent decker-simulator already. I can only play Neuromancer and the Genesis version of Shadowrun so many times.

(And NOT a hacker simulator. I want full on neon and chrome decker cyberspace world.)
"

Have you tried Dystopia? It has some very nice depictions of cyberspace, although the hacking you do in there is limited by the fact that it's a hacking sub-game inside a team vs. team FPS.
"

Actually, I have in the past. Might have to try a newer version. Was fun enough, except for the whole "finding other people to play with" thing.
posted by Samizdata at 4:17 PM on January 19, 2013


Everyone who loves these movies has seen the new Dredd film, right? Because it fits in perfectly.

I just saw it tonight. The soundtrack, the colors, the camera work, the theme, the poor blood-splatter CGI (PROTIP: blood is not magenta)... this is the best film of 1998. I mean that in a very, very good way. Especially in terms of the soundtrack.

Wife: "He looks like they just made him eat a pickle! LoL!"
Me: "Here are some classic Dredd covers uncovered by GIS on my iPad."
Wife: "They didn't make that pickle anywhere near enough sour. I do like the leather butt shots, tho."
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:57 PM on January 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Mike Pondsmith Talks Reinventing Cyberpunk
posted by Artw at 4:20 PM on February 5, 2013


Speaking of RPGs and reinventing cyberpunk, Interface Zero, a cyberpunk setting for Savage Worlds is kickstarting their second edition.
posted by Zed at 5:01 PM on February 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Is today some kind of special day or something? There's 5 or 6 Kickstarters all started today that I've an interested in.
posted by Artw at 5:03 PM on February 5, 2013


He's on to us! Abort Phase 2 of Operation Separate Artw from his money! Repeat: abort!
posted by Zed at 5:06 PM on February 5, 2013


Oooh! Prizes!
posted by Artw at 5:36 PM on February 5, 2013


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