(Spinoff) What is cyberpunk and what is a cyberpunk RPG?

Cosmic Hobo

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I'll be honest: I am not seeing this "fuck the man" attitude anywhere in Blade Runner or Neuromancer. The only punks in Neuromancer are the Panther Moderns, and they are explicitly called out as being nihilists whose movement will be gone tomorrow. Everybody in the rest of the novel does what they're told because they're being paid.

Blade Runner is about a guy who works for the man shooting down runaway slaves.

Neither work features anybody with a particularly political view, except for Riviera, and he spends his time making sure that his girlfriends go political, then turning them over to the secret police.

I think that you are heavily conflating the political aims of the punk movement with the surface description of cyberpunk, and warping most of the source material to fit that idea rather than allowing the works in question to stand for themselves.
I can’t think of anything more punk than slaves escaping their bondage and fighting for their freedom and their lives. What could be more “the Man” than slave owners, slave masters, slave makers, and escaped-slave murdering cops?

This is why the distinction between cyberpunk characters and cyberpunk settings is important. And where the punk elements are expressed. Deckard is the Man and therefore not a punk until the end when he realizes that the replicants are human enough and decides to protect Rachel. The replicants are punk as fuck throughout.
 
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Daigoro

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Bruce Bethke’s story Cyberpunk was written in 1980.

Blade Runner was released in 1982.

Neuromancer was published in 1984.
Ok, but Cyberpunk the short story wasn't published until 83, and the term wasn't applied to the genre until after Neuromancer came out, so it's still backwards to insist that "punk" as the social movement was their defining characteristic.
Also note that the text you quote directly undermines your claim that cyberpunk “just means troublemaker”.

consciously attempting to coin a term that encompassed both punk attitudes and high technology.”
That looks like a bit of Wikipedia editorialising. The original quote is:

How did I actually create the word? The way any new word comes into being, I guess: through synthesis. I took a handful of roots—cyber, techno, et al—mixed them up with a bunch of terms for socially misdirected youth, and tried out the various combinations until one just plain sounded right.

So it's an accident of nomenclature that "punk" is in the genre name, and it wasn't specifically, deliberately chosen as being a particularly defining trait. If the story had been called cybergoon or technohudlum or robo-thug instead, then we wouldn't be having this conversation. (Although if it was robo-thug, we'd probably be arguing that the genre doesn't contain enough Kali worship.)

And if cyberpunk was always supposed to be about destroying "the system," why don't we call Luke Skywalker a cyberpunk? The only difference between his story arc and Neo's in The Matrix is the aesthetic of their settings.
 

lucrien

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This is why the distinction between cyberpunk characters and cyberpunk settings is important.
I'm not sure that's a distinction you'll find much support for. Usually [genre] characters and [genre] settings are used to describe the characters and settings that typify the genre. A Gothic setting is one as one might expect to find in a Gothic novel, not strictly limited to buildings of a specific architectural style. Gothic characters are all those that are generally found in Gothic stories, not just the ones who are descended from certain Germanic populations.

Didn't we just establish that there are more works in the genre than Blade Runner and Neuromancer?
I think the argument is rather that any definition/concept of cyberpunk that does not contain Blade Runner or Neuromancer is questionable--in the same way that there are certainly magical realist works other than One Hundred Years of Solitude, but any conception of the style that bypasses it altogether might be suspect. If we can't all agree that some base set of works belong to a genre, we might be talking about completely different things.
 

Harlander

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I think I'm coming towards something that might make for a useful description. Cyberpunk isn't always from the perspective of the powerless opposing the powerful, those without authority countering the schemes of those with it, the poor striving against the rich.

But it's always about the interface between those extremes, and the sparks that are raised when those two worlds rub against eachother. Couple that with a focus on technology and its consequences, and the definition meshes pretty well with my less analytical gut-feeling "what is cyberpunk" thoughts.
 

Cannibal Smiliest

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Didn't we just establish that there are more works in the genre than Blade Runner and Neuromancer?
They’re the foundational works.

Look at Akira: Kanesha doesn’t give a damn about sticking it to the man; he wants to get into Kei’s pants, and while Kei wants to bring down the government, she gets nowhere. Her mentor dies in an alley, and a vast inhuman force decides the situation anyways.

The thing is, I don’t have to show that every cyberpunk work has a strong punk element; I just need to show that the major works _don’t._
 

Cannibal Smiliest

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I can’t think of anything more punk than slaves escaping their bondage and fighting for their freedom and their lives.
I would argue that punk is punk because it involves privileged members of a society stepping away from a society that they benefit from and criticizing it from an outside perspective. I think that it's a middle-class phenomenon - we were promised this, we got this, and now we're pissed about it. "Trustafarian" is a thing.

Whereas nobody is going to go "That's guy's so punk rock, saying that he'd 'rather not' be whipped and made to work for no money and sold like cattle! He don't give a fuck what anybody thinks!"

Deckard is the Man and therefore not a punk until the end when he realizes that the replicants are human enough and decides to protect Rachel. The replicants are punk as fuck throughout.
But he's only trying to protect Rachel. He's not setting out to free all Replicants, or telling off his boss, or starting a revolution. Depending on which ending you go with, he's being hunted, or he's retreating to Colorado. He only cares about Replicants as it applies to him.
 

Cosmic Hobo

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They’re the foundational works.

Look at Akira: Kanesha doesn’t give a damn about sticking it to the man; he wants to get into Kei’s pants, and while Kei wants to bring down the government, she gets nowhere. Her mentor dies in an alley, and a vast inhuman force decides the situation anyways.

The thing is, I don’t have to show that every cyberpunk work has a strong punk element; I just need to show that the major works _don’t._
You seem to have a wildly overinflated sense of the importance of this conversation. We’re not proving things for all time. The dictionary will not change based on these posts. The destiny of nations will not alter. Decades of literary criticism won’t suddenly become meaningless.

I’ve always found it odd how pointlessly argumentative most gamers seem to be. Any declarative statement or airing of preferences is almost universally taken as a personal affront and a challenge to “prove” this or that. It’s honestly baffling.
 

Cosmic Hobo

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I would argue that punk is punk because it involves privileged members of a society stepping away from a society that they benefit from and criticizing it from an outside perspective. I think that it's a middle-class phenomenon - we were promised this, we got this, and now we're pissed about it. "Trustafarian" is a thing.
You certainly could but you’d be wrong save for the fake ass Mallpunks. Check out the actual history of the first generation of punks. Iggy Pop grew up in a trailer. Johnny Rotten grew up basicaly squatting in a converted store front. They were certainly not mildly disappointed middle class kids shaking their fist at society. Most punks grow up dirt poor, and like most people born into poverty, they generally stay that way.
 
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