Many people think that Cyberpunk 2020 is outdated, because the game makes assumptions on the future that – meanwhile – have proven to be wrong.
That’s okay. Let them. They are right.
But: What can be done about that? There are three basic “roads” open to “revamp” or adjust Cyberpunk 2020 to keep it up with the pace of technology and society:
- Ignore the problem. Hey, to err is human. To ignore is divine. You can just say that Cyberpunk 2020 follows a timeline that may have been our own up until nineteen80something. But which went another way since then. This way you can just stick with the oversized mobile phones and the huge “computer in a suitcase” stuff from CP2020. Our world went iPod. CP2020 went Cyber. Deal with it – by not dealing with it.
- Revamp the system. This is the Cyb3rpunk way to go: Either redo the whole system (or use the HARDWIRED setting instead, which is less of a contradiction to our “real here and now”) or – if you don’t want to trash your ongoing CP2020 campaign – move the timeline ahead 5-10 years and use this “gap” to place historical events that explain the change in the setup (you can use the articles tagged “cyb3rpunk” on this website for inspiration).
- Use your imagination, dammit! “So a mobile phone costs over a hundred eb and still looks rather huge in CP2020? Well, players, of course you can have a sleek mobile phone for free from one of the corporations – but I thought we were playing CYBERPUNK here. And Edgerunners sure are paranoid, so they use “overexpensive” (and dead-ugly) mobile phones from a small manufacturer in some far-away land that doesn’t sell out its customers to the IRS and the LEDiv.” This third road is somewhat a mix of the 1st and 2nd way to handle “contradictions”. It’s not the most elegant (that would be totally revamping the setting) nor the most time-efficient (that would be to ignore everything), but it takes “the best of both worlds”. The only thing you have to do is take a fresh look at CP2020 tech and gear and make up explanations for seemingly (key word!) incorrect prices and stats. Memory Unit seem too small? “That’s 1 MU for Data PLUS the necessary encryption or license attachment”. Laptop computer seem too huge? “That’s because in 2020 you need extra powerful radio transmitters to cut through all the electronic smog”/”That’s including acid rain protection”/”That’s the model of the only independent manufacturer left in the ISA”/”That’s pimp style, because size DOES matter”.
4 thoughts on “Defending CP2020”
Point 3 is also my way. After many years without CP2020, friends and I decided to play again. But what happend during 1997 (last time we played) and 2002 (start of new group)??? Right, the Internet became omnipresent. Because of our personel experienece with the internet, players now asked: uuuh, why meet people in bars, not just e-mail them, or: hey, I look up what is new on the market on http://www.arasaka.com, look up http://www.ebay.com and by some nice stuff, without any risk of getting shot outside.
WRONGO! No serious Edgerunner, or even no thinking individum will easily use the puplic internet anymore, because it is just the biggest spy- and advertisement-ware you can imagine. That was our redefinition of the internet for the game in 2002. Now look around what happens!! Not in 2020, but in 2008 (real time) governments and mega-corporations work together to use the internet against its user (think about yahoo-China, debates in germany about mega online-searchs, or Bush`s United States…just for example)
Welcome Punk, cyberpunk is not dead, it is just the begining….
Like the old saying goes:
WE AIN’T SEEN NOTHING YET!
#1 is the way to go for me.
In addition to being the least work, it allows for cheesy 80s references, or to quote the great Doc Rotwang: “My cyberpunk future is 1985’s cyberpunk future, a Thompson Twins video shot on the Blade Runner set.”
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