Signs You’re Trapped in 90’s Cyberpunk

Cyberpunk in the 90’s was a special kind of madness.  Technology for mobile phones, the internet, and robotic prostheses was just starting to take off in a big way.  Everyone seemed certain that virtual reality and cybernetic implants were just around the corner.  And, best of all, none of those technologies had matured enough for people to realize that the ideas they’d always had about what those things would look like were batshit crazy.  The result was a pastiche of techno-babble and nonsense that has never quite faded away.  Which unfortunately means that there are probably still people trying to figure out a way to make the insane concepts that characterize 90’s cyberpunk into a reality.  You might want to keep this list of signs that you’re starting to slip into that insanity handy, just in case…

  1. Cybernetic augmentations are so cheap that even the poorest mugger on the street will have a dozen internally mounted switchblades.  Guns that don’t erupt out of one’s elbow are surprisingly rare.
  2. It’s common knowledge, even publicly admitted, that every corporation, government, and private citizen is corrupt now that all of the old laws have been swept away.  That said they will still kill anyone who tries to hack into their servers.
  3. Internet use now is a full body sport with a very real risk of death from cyber-crime that is carried out either through use of expensive full body immersion gear or cranial implants.  And no one really sees a problem with that.  Or a keyboard.
  4. Possibly because browsing Reddit now requires one to fend off no less than a dozen virtual ninjas and trolls, computer nerds have become the most beefed up hardened warriors one could find.  Most are familiar with at least three styles of swordplay in addition to being crack shots.
  5. You lost your left eye about the same time you lost your last baby tooth.
  6. When you lost your left eye, you immediately had a replacement grafted to your skull.  It glows red and makes loud whirring, clicking noises whenever it’s dramatically convenient.
  7. You or those you meet will never, ever shut up about how losing your left eye is just like the Norse god Odin trading his own left eye for wisdom.  In fact, you’re probably named Odin.  Which says some horrible things about your parents.
  8. Speaking of parents, at least one died under tragic (most likely violent) circumstances when you were young.  If there is a survivor, they work two jobs and may have forgotten they have a child altogether.
  9. God is dead.  Thinly veiled allegories to god, however, apparently live forever.
  10. Black leather.  Black leather EVERYWHERE.
  11. Sunlight is a thing of the past, unless of course it’s a few pale rays fighting their way through the choking cloud of pollution that casts you into eternal night.  The only people who have even seen the sun are the corporate fat-cats living in the over-city.
  12. The line between playing a video game and taking twenty hits of acid is now more or less gone.
  13. Everyone’s online.
  14. The online community is so small that everyone knows each other.
  15. No one sees the contradiction between items 13 and 14.
  16. Everyone over the age of 25 is dead inside, and can be dispatched without remorse by the hero, because they know what’s REALLY important.
  17. Sewer-dweller is a viable career choice.
  18. Everyone under the age of 18 is either an innocent cherub, or a hardened sociopath.And finally, the last sign that you’re trapped in 90’s cyberpunk:
  19. Cellphones are an expensive luxury reserved only for the ultra-rich.

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