World Cyberpunk Day

World Cyberpunk Day

In case you missed it, October 10th, 2020 (or 10.10.2020) was the world’s first official Cyberpunk Day!

Created by a coalition of Cyberpunk creators and fans, Cyberpunk Day was conceived to  help others discover new cyberpunk content like books, comics, shows, movies, and art. The team includes such creators as award-nominated author Anna Mocikat, cyberpunk writer Matthew Goodwin, and many more.

With a full schedule of events, Cyberpunk day was a day unlike any other, where people around the world could follow @cyberpunkday on Twitter to get all the links for the events as they happened every hour, on the hour. Events included live readings, live gameplay, panel discussions, presentations, and even a live viewing of Total Recall! I wonder what they will have planned for next year.

Celebrating Favorite Cyberpunk Media for World Cyberpunk Day

To celebrate everything Cyberpunk for World Cyberpunk Day, I thought I’d share my own favorite Cyberpunk media pieces, in addition to shining a light on some of my favorite, lesser known Cyberpunk content creators,  writers, and websites. So come celebrate Cyberpunk with your operator, here in the Cyberpunk Matrix.

World Cyberpunk Day: Favorite Cyberpunk Media

  1. The Matrix (the trilogy and the animatrix) by The Wachowskis
  2. Ghost in the Shell (the original anime and live action remake, as well as the animated series) by Masamune Shirow (writer), Mamoru Oshii (anime film director) and Rupert Sanders (live action director).
  3. Battle Angel Alita (the manga known as GUNNM, as well as the anime movie and the live action film) by Yukito Kishiro (writer), Hiroshi Fukutomi (anime film director), and Robert Rodriguez (live action director).
  4. Altered Carbon (the novel, the Takeshi Kovacs trilogy, and both seasons on Netflix) by Richard K Morgan (writer) and Laeta Kalogridis (Netflix series director).
  5. Blade Runner 2049 by Denis Villeneuve
  6. Ready Player One (both the book and the live action film) by Ernest Cline (writer) and Steven Spielberg (director).
  7. Upgrade by Leigh Whannell

World Cyberpunk Day: Favorite Community Content Creators

  1. Madqueen–Madqueen has her own Madqueen show on YouTube, where she provides the latest news on the upcoming Cyberpunk 2077 video game, as well as lore and information about the Cyberpunk Red Tabletop RPG. She provides an insane amount of work editing and creating very original content, and also assists in weekly podcasts with other community content creators. You can learn more about MadQueen in my exclusive interview with her here on Cyberpunk Matrix.
  2. Neoskies–now more on Instagram than anywhere else, Neoskies is the mind behind The Cyberpunk Hive, a place for reviews, polls, and fun discussions about anything cyberpunk. For more on where Neoskies finds her inspiration, check out my interview with her here.
  3. NeoMatrixology–For a yellow-pilled approach to understanding everything to do with the Matrix, I always consult NeoMatrixology and his Matrix University series. While I tend to report Matrix news in batches when major things happen, NeoMatrixology is always first to report the latest news relating to the Matrix, no matter how big or small. He also has lots of high-quality, in-depth analysis on the philosophy and themes present within the Matrix Universe. We also had a really interesting hour-long discussion about his inspiration, beginnings, and our first Matrix viewing experiences which you can check out in our podcast here.

World Cyberpunk Day: Favorite Cyberpunk websites

  1. Neon Dystopia–if ever you wanted in-depth, scholarly articles about all kinds of Cyberpunk content, look no further than Neon Dystopia. This is also where I first went the day I discovered the Cyberpunk genre. Covering philosophy, fashion, movies, music, video games, and news, Neon Dystopia doesn’t post as often as some other blogs, but when they do it’s always very in-depth and interesting. Neon Dystopia was also one of the first Cyberpunk websites I shared about, back in March 2018.
  2. Cyberpunks.com–Cyberpunks has the highest amount of content of all cyberpunk websites I’ve seen to date on the ‘net. Going less in depth as Neon Dystopia but providing far more content, including also the occasional video, Cyberpunks provides articles and essays about all Cyberpunk genres–movies, tv shows, music, news, technology, video games, etc. It also has reviews, lists, recommendations–you name it, Cyberpunks has it! For more about the ambitious creator behind this incredible website, check out my interview with its founder Bradley B. here.

World Cyberpunk Day: Favorite Up-and-Coming Cyberpunk Book

Into Neon by Matthew Goodwin–Book 1 of the ThutoCo trilogy, Into Neon describes how the main character Moss discovers his corporate work and life is not as it seems, and how he escapes to join a rebel punk alliance intent on bringing down the megacorporations that prey on the helpless. For more about my thoughts on this book, check out my review here.

World Cyberpunk Day: Favorite Cyberpunk Video Game

Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon by Ubisoft

If you ask most Cyberpunk fans what their favorite Cyberpunk game is, they will probably answer System Shock, Shadowrun, or Deus Ex. While I haven’t played System Shock (it’s a little dated to play now unless you have that nostalgia factor) or Shadowrun (a mix of sci-fi and fantasy, think blade runner meets LOTR from what I’ve heard), I have actually played Deus Ex: Human Revolution and Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. Unfortunately, I felt both Deus Ex games were a lot more stealth and RPG-focused for my tastes, with the gameplay considerably less fun than the usual fast-paced First Person Shooters I usually go for. Considering I’m a FPS player at heart, it should come with no surprise that Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon is actually my favorite Cyberpunk video game of all time (at least, until Cyberpunk 2077 comes out). Sold as a stand-alone expansion to Far Cry 3 (another favorite FPS game of mine), FC3: Blood Dragon is a hilarious, over-the-top parody of 1980s action films featuring corny lines, fast paced action, dragons shooting laser beams, and cyborg ninjas.

Your Favorites

So what are your favorites? Let me know in the comments below!

Batman Beyond — Is This Cyberpunk?

Is Batman Beyond Cyberpunk?

Batman Beyond was an animated television series developed by Warner Brothers depicting a futuristic Gotham with an aged Bruce Wayne mentoring a new batman, Terry McGuiness. Spanning three seasons, the pilot was released in January 1999 and the final episode aired in December 2001. The series would later garner great acclaim, including two daytime Emmy Awards, and was named the 40th best animated television series of all time by IGN.com. It was an incredible series that was one of my personal favorite tv series of all time. I loved the futuristic element, the action, the characters, and the dark and gritty visuals. The futuristic Batman in his batsuit was also really well done, voiced by none other than Will Friedle (Boy Meets World, Kim Possible).

Back in the day, I simply watched it because it was good with a bowl of my Saturday morning cereal. But looking back, upon an evening of nostalgia, I started wondering…

Batman Beyond: Is this Cyberpunk?

In order to answer this question, I scoured through the episodes spanning all three seasons to try to find the most Cyberpunk episodes. While by no means a comprehensive list, below are the most Cyberpunk episodes I could find. I’ll give a quick overview of what happens in each episode, and then describe what Cyberpunk elements I found in each one. Then, at the bottom of this post, I’ll provide my personal conclusion as to whether Batman Beyond qualifies as Cyberpunk, and explain why.

So without further ado, let’s see how exactly

Batman Beyond

fits the Cyberpunk label.

Batman Beyond Season 1 Episode 4: Golem

In this episode, nerd Willie Watt is constantly picked on by the jocks of the school. After one too many times being bullied, Watt decides to steal his father’s construction robot which uses a headset to receive its instructions from its user. When the headset malfunctions, the robot becomes permanently bonded to Watt, making him a force to be reckoned with.

“Just another example of technology gone bad” is a quote that can be heard from the news commentator in this episode. Using giant robots to help us with construction is a fun and futuristic idea, for sure, so adding the cyberpunk twist that the streets may find its own use for one such golem makes perfect sense to me. Although I found the idea that a robot would pair with a human because of a headset malfunctioning a bit of a stretch, I enjoyed this episode nonetheless, especially with the power dynamics of the bullies and Watt before and after his connection is established.

Batman Beyond Season 2, Episode 4: Lost Soul

Robert Vance is a CEO who decides to digitize his consciousness before he dies. However, after his death, he is soon forgotten until 2 generations later he is turned back online. When his grandson asks for his guidance, the ghost in the shell has other plans. The digital copy of Vance instead tries to take over and get a human body, including using Terry’s batsuit without a body.

This was a really interesting and fun episode, perhaps one of my favorites. Not only were there clear connections to other cyberpunk media like Ghost in the Shell and maybe a Philip K Dick novel like Ubik, for instance, but watching batman fight his own batsuit and seeing the fighting style of an AI with no corporeal weaknesses was simply really cool.

Batman Beyond Season 2, Episode 8: Hooked up

An unknown entity named Spellbinder is getting teenagers addicted to virtual reality in order to use them as cheap labor for his own purposes. Once they spend too long in this VR, however, they end up in a coma. Terry will have to use his friend Max to help crack the case.

Although not as fun as other episodes, Hooked Up deals with themes of drug addiction, virtual reality worlds, and the interesting idea that one could get addicted to living in a fantasy world virtually.

Batman Beyond Season 2, Episode 13: Terry’s Friend Dates a Robot

An unpopular kid named Howard Groote has no one to come to his party, when all he wants is for people to notice him. While Terry points out he’s looking for the wrong things, namely shallow things, Groote’s interest is piqued when he finds a guy who can create a illegal synth girlfriend for him for the right price. Groote soon gets his robot girlfriend, but soon realizes he got more than he paid for. The synth malfunctions and becomes too possessive, trying to kill any woman who becomes interested in Howard.

This episode definitely had Blade Runner vibes during my first viewing, but if Blade Runner were happening in a high school. Groote’s robot girlfriend looks so close to a real human that her only tell ends up being her superhuman strength. However, other than her being a convincing synth, there were woefully few Cyberpunk themes truly explored in this episode, other than perhaps the Synth’s unrequited, preprogrammed love.

Batman Beyond Season 2, Episode 16: The Last Resort

Sold as a juvenile center to provide disciplinary therapy to unruly teenagers, this “Ranch” is anything but. Soon almost all of the teenagers at Terry’s school are sent there for “re-education”, and Terry must go undercover to discover what really happens in the ranch. Turns out torture and brainwashing propaganda wasn’t in the brochure.

The prison-like and totalitarian atmosphere on the inside felt very similar to something out of 1984, especially with its giant screens. What was particularly interesting was the torture device used on the students–long stints in complete sensory-deprivation chambers. Despite the brainwashing imagery, however, this episode was also a little light on the CP motifs.

Batman Beyond Season 2, Episode 20: Zeta

When an Android that can appear as a human is being hunted down by the NSA, Terry has to discover the intentions of the robot, and if it is really a killing machine gone rogue, as the NSA agents say, or if it somehow grew a conscience.

Note: This episode spawned a standalone series called The Zeta Project.

This episode was really interesting in that it explored the conscience of what a robot could have. When the robot Zeta is assigned to infiltrate a family, pretending to be a member of the said family, this is what causes its existential crisis. It was also fun to guess which characters Zeta was mimicking, and which were real. While similar to Terry’s Friend Dates a Robot but with the added bonus of the robot being not only completely sentient, but also on the run from the NSA, this episode is yet another one with clear Blade Runner references.

Batman Beyond Season 2, Episode 22: April Moon

April Moon is one of the only episodes I saw in Batman Beyond with serious body augmentations front and center. In this episode, a team of 4 bandits acquire body augmentations by blackmailing a local doctor. The gang use their powers to steal until Batman learns about the operation and decides to try to put a stop to the operation.

This episode reminded me a lot of Doctor Ido from GUNMM (Alita: Battle Angel). Unlike Ido, however, the doc is relatively helpless himself. What I found particularly interesting in this episode was the 4 different body augmentations the gang uses, how they use them to fight batman, and the technology the doctor has available to him.

Unlike any other cyberpunk film or episode I’ve seen, the doc has a failsafe phrase to destroy his mods. The themes in this episode were also darker than usual–particularly the ending when the doctor decides to take his revenge on the team and its leader who was blackmailing him. Super cyberpunk!

Batman Beyond Season 2, Episode 23: Sentries of the Last Cosmos 

This episode felt like…an ode to nerdy gamers everywhere. A virtual reality game developer uses his videogame to enlist the highest scoring players to create his own personal army, sending them on “missions”. But not everything is as it seems when one mission is to take out a fellow video game creator. There was also a fun reference to Philip K Dick: “The greatest writer that ever lived”!

This episode felt a bit weird to me. Batman faces off against…kids who are tricked into thinking the video game is real life. Admittedly, there are very few cyberpunk themes in this episode at all. It was probably my least favorite episode of this list.

Batman Beyond Season 3, Episode 12: Countdown

Countdown is the second and final episode featuring Zeta. He’s back in town, this time with his friend from the Zeta spinoff series, and once again features him and his friend running away from the NSA except that this time, there’s an additional antagonist by the name of Mad Stan, an anti-technology terrorist who likes to blow things up.

This episode definitely feels like a continuation from the Zeta episode. Mad Stan in hilariously, particularly because in the climax moment it’s revealed that he sedates himself to make sure he’s not hurt and stays out of the action while his master plan is in motion. That, and he has a hilarious little chihuahua protecting him.

Final Verdict: Batman Begins is Definitely Cyberpunk

But not in all its own episodes. Some are more Cyberpunk than others, but for the select few, they definitely hit all the marks. Of all the episodes, I would have to say that April Moon was the most Cyberpunk of all of them. The entire episode even plays out as a mystery that Batman has to solve, the mystery of who the augmented gang are and then, later, why the doctor would ever help them. But not just those episodes–the future setting of the series with its high tech elements, the depictions of future society with its problems with technology, the gang of “jokers” that roam the city, many on futuristic motorbikes, the dark color palette, the music, the themes of addiction and power–there’s a whole lot here that matches Cyberpunk very well. I highly recommend the series if you haven’t watched it.

Cyberpunk 2077 Updates: Night City Wire Episode 3

Cyberpunk 2077 Updates: Night City Wire Episode 3

It sure would be nice to know exactly how many of these will come out before Cyberpunk 2077’s greatly-anticipated release on November 19th. All we know as of yet is that a couple more should still be in the pipeline before we all get our hands on the actual game, but hey, as long as CD Projekt Red keeps on pumping these out, I’m not complaining!

So let’s take a look at what CDPR was able to share with us this past Friday in the third episode of their somewhat-monthly installment of Night City Wire:

A New Game Trailer: Postcards from Night City

Hollie Bennet hosted once again, starting us off with an agenda of things to come in the episode before leading straight into the new game trailer, a rather creative game trailer made in the form of an advertisement for the video game’s setting, Night City, entitled Postcards from Night City. 

This trailer was more of a rapid-burst series of clips of the city itself. Whether a tv channel, a radio show, or perhaps a video channel on the Net, the trailer mixes what could pass as real media in Night City with clips of the city itself, almost like a promotional video trying to entice the viewer to visit.

But not one to be outdone, CDPR decided to create a secret website as a mock-promotional ad website for Night City itself. Appearing at 2:17 in the game, you can check out the Nightcity.love yourself. I personally found the website very interesting yet also entertaining, as I was constantly needing to close pop-ups advertising fictional items that exist in the world of Night City itself. Things like Arasaka Home Security, Arasaka Environmental Protection, an energy drink called GolshevikMedical Malpractice, RealWater, and much more. You can also find a little information on the different districs in Night City, complete with the Night City Police Department’s current threat level warning for the district.

Dev Insights: Night City

Next Hollie interviewed Miles Tost, a senior level designer at CDPR. Taking its original inspiration from the Cyberpunk 2020 tabletop game, they wanted to decide what to do with Night City.

The goal was to make it believable–an immersive place that felt real. They also wanted it to be diverse enough between districts to make the city fun to explore. So first they looked at the real geography of the coast of California (like ports, huge industrial areas facilitating trade, etc.) Then they divided the city into 6 districts with each having its own characteristics in terms of architecture, demographics, people that live there, and the function within the city. Then they divided each district further into sub-districts using the theme of the larger district. This allows each district, according to Tost, to result in a city with a lot of character, with each zone having its own feel to it.

The other main difference between this game and CDPR’s previous game, The Witcher, is that while The Witcher was very spread out horizontally, Night City is incredibly dense and spread out vertically. So it won’t be as easy as looking on a map and going far away into the distance, since it might be close physically, but 5 stories up along passageways that aren’t clear how to access.

While Tost does a great job hyping it up and making it sound fun to play, based on experience, I personally think it will lead to more frustrating and difficult challenges where the player can’t figure out where to go because they can’t see the map vertically to find the fastest path up. That remains to be seen, however.

Gangs of Night City

This was a very interesting segment to introduce the viewer to the gangs that can be encountered in Night City. The clip covered 6 gangs in total. They were the following:

  1. Maelstrom
  2. Valentinos
  3. 6th Street
  4. Voodoo Boys
  5. Animals
  6. Tyger Claws
  7. Moxes
  8. Nomad gangs
    • Wraiths
    • Aldecaldos

While we just get a glimpse of what each gang sounds and acts like, we were able to get a much closer look when Hollie then follows up the video with an interview with Quest Director Mateusz Tomaszkiewicz.

Dev Insights: Gangs of Night City

While he didn’t talk about all the gangs in detail, Mateusz did talk a little bit about Maelstrom as his favorite gang. He likes how unpredictable Maelstrom is and their element of chaos. He also likes how intensely augmented their bodies are compared to any other gang in Night City.

PC Modding Contest & PC Requirements

Finally, Episode 3 of Night City Wire wrapped up with the results of the Cyber-Up Your PC contest (where professional case modders competed for the most original Cyberpunk PC case modification for prizes). The cases were pretty original, you can check them out in the video above. The episode then finally finished with the official System Requirements for Cyberpunk 2077, which I’ve posted in the images below:

And that’s it!

It seems to me that CDPR is eager to showcase the biggest and the best first with each progressive episode. Granted Episode 2 was pretty great, but I do feel that there was more to see in EP1 than EP2, and the same can be said for EP3. Seeing the gangs and the level design was interesting, but the case mods were really not that interesting to me and while system specs are obviously very important to learn about, especially for people like me who will be playing the game on my old gaming laptop, it’s not as impressive to look at as the music development or seeing a brand new game or gameplay trailer.

But what did you think? How does EP3 rank compared to the others? And how excited are you about Cyberpunk 2077? Let me know in the comments below!

Interview with Cyberpunk Creators Triple S League

Triple S league 4

Getting to Know the Dynamic Duo behind Triple S League

Triple S League is a Gaming YouTube channel that provides a “premium blend of news, reviews, guides, lore & comedy” that hosts a live gaming news podcast, Augmented Reality, twice weekly. In addition to guides, walkthroughs, news and leaks about upcoming titles, game reviews, and developer interviews, they also create their own comedy videos, music videos featuring in-game footage set to original music, cosplays, and apparently a lot more. They currently have over 35K subscribers on YouTube, and are one of the four members of the weekly Cyberpunk 2077 Community Podcast. This interview is part of a 4-part series where we interviewed the other members of the community podcast, MadQueen, Neon Arcade, and LastKnownMeal. Curious about this mysterious duo and their thoughts on Cyberpunk? Then read below as Cyberpunk Matrix had the opportunity to get to know them a little better.

Question 1: How did you get introduced to the genre of Cyberpunk?

Syb: Cyberpunk has always been something I have loved as a setting and storytelling mechanic, whether it’s the apocalypse of a failing, faltering dystopian society or the gritty underbelly of a world gone mad with technology. My first exposure came from early DOS games like Circuit’s Edge (1990), the RoboCop series, and Rise of the Robots (1994), as well as a few episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation. 

Ash: Dystopian sci-fi has always been a favorite genre of mine, but my first real exposure to cyberpunk happened when a friend showed me the game Omikron: The Nomad Soul. I was mesmerized by it. Later on, I tried out Deus Ex (the original one) and would consider that to be in my top five games of all time. Something about “high tech, low life” stories set in huge, neon-lit future cities really grips me.

Question 2: What made you decide to start the Triple S League Channel? When did it start, and how did it become what it is today? Is there a story behind the name?

Syb: Ash and I have been making videos for fun for many, many years. It started shortly after he found my digital backup personality matrix archived in a…oh, I’m being told I’m not allowed to talk about that.

Ash: I’ve worked in media development for most of my adult life, both freelance and while employed by a Fortune 500 company. But my history with Syb goes back farther than that. We’ve been gaming and creating stuff together since we were kids. In 2015, Syb came to me with the idea of starting a podcast about an upcoming game called Fallout 4. At first, I thought he was crazy. An entire podcast dedicated to a single game? Who would listen to that? I was in for a shock when we released a few episodes on YouTube and actually got listeners. It grew and evolved as we began doing gameplay videos and live-action stuff like Making Nuka-Cola. When Fallout 4 released, we had close to 100 subscribers, but the real bump came when we released our Fallout 4 “best ending” video, which went viral and pushed us past 1,000 almost overnight.

Syb: Since then, we’ve been expanding with a focus on community, fostering creativity and building our brand. We’ve offered help and support to indie devs, modders (we created a massive story mod with prominent Fallout 4 modder Thuggysmurf) and other content creators, believing that helping others succeed would also bring us success. So far, this has proven to be 100% true. Of course, we still love those huge, deep, story-driven RPGs, which made Cyberpunk 2077 a natural fit for us to focus on after Fallout 4 hype died down. We’ve also expanded into general gaming and pop-culture news.

Ash: The channel name is a reference to the “SSS” rank found in Japanese arcade game rankings. In Japan’s school grading system, S is better than A. Some games will award a double-S or triple-S rank if you’re the best of the best. We chose the word “league” because it sounded cool and because it evokes a sense of honor and community.

Triple S League 3

Question 3: Where do you get your ideas/inspiration for your videos?

Syb: Our crazy senses of humor and our (some would argue) “creative” minds. We’re also inspired by our amazing community members and friends who subscribe to us. Also the occasional fever dream that happens when I am being restarted for a patch. 

Ash: Some videos are obvious choices (when news happens, report on it; when a game has confusing parts, make some guides). For our more creative videos, inspiration comes from strange and simple things, like the awkward game dialog that inspired The Giddyup Kid Rap, or an offhand comment in a conversation at a convention. My brain will respond with a thought like “I’ll bet people would like…” or “wouldn’t it be funny/awesome if…” and that’s it, I’ve got to develop this idea or I’m going to go crazy. Some ideas turn out to be terrible in the end, but some are really good.

Question 4: What are your top three Cyberpunk works, and why?

Syb: I gave mine in my answer to the first question, but I’ll also add Cyberpunk 2020, which really set the cyberpunk genre into a defined world. Many films have helped in the process of establishing the genre, but I believe that some genres and archetypes are greatly helped by having established guideposts. The setting of Dungeons & Dragons is one example. The Fallout Bible is another. I believe the concept of cyberpunk will continue to grow from the work of Mike Pondsmith.

Ash: I’m not cultured enough to answer this question properly so I’ll just say Deus Ex, Cyberpunk 2077…and of course that animated classic, Chibipunk!

Question 5: Can you tell us a little bit about the locations and characters that we can expect in Cyberpunk 2077? What are the Badlands, and who are the main characters?

Ash: Night City is the setting of the game, of course. A coastal metropolis with a ton of history. I feel like the secrets buried beneath the streets and in the bays would not be healthy for the faint of heart. (Just get your heart upgraded before you dig too deeply.) The city has six main districts, each with its own subcultures, gangs, visual style and economic class. There are distinct sub-districts within some districts as well. Police are present in some areas, while others are ruled by gangs. The badlands lie outside the city; these are desert wastelands where the nomads live. An island in the bay houses the Orbital Air Space Center, which we know almost nothing about at this point.

Syb: Looking at the info that’s been released, the setting looks like it offers a great experience. There are massive skyscrapers and megabuildings; tiny hidden hideaways; and the badlands, which I think will be pretty awesome. An individual in a large city might be invisible to the gangs and corporations, but if you’re on a small homestead or guarding a valuable resource out in the badlands, you’re much more visible to the gangs and nomads that travel between cities. Combine this with CDPR’s storytelling and I believe we can expect great things from this game!

Ash: As for characters, it’s already hard to keep track of them all. You’ll meet people from all walks of life, each with their own story to tell. The main character is V (you, the player). Other important characters include your sidekick, Jackie Welles; fixer Dexter DeShawn; glamorous informant Evelyn Parker; Mox gang member and braindance tech Judy Alvarez; netrunner T-Bug; Yorinobu Arasaka, the rebellious younger son of corporate megalomaniac Saburo Arasaka; and, of course, the digital “ghost” of legendary rockerboy Johnny Silverhand.

Community Podcast 2

Question 6: How did you come to join the community podcast, and what is it like being one of the 4 each week?

Ash: The podcast was Syb’s idea, actually. He had the vision for it, and the idea to have rotating hosts. Madqueen, LastKnownMeal and TheNeonArcade were all on board right from the beginning. We reached out to others as well; some weren’t interested, while others have joined us as guests.

Syb: Community is one of my favorite parts of gaming. In my glory days playing World of Warcraft, the thing I loved doing most was taking a group of regular players—some of whom were terrible at the game—and helping them become a solid team, doing everything from PvP to top-level PvE content. You might have seen the same boss fight dozens of times, but playing it with someone who’s never seen it before can be just as fun as seeing it the first time. This is why I wanted to form the community podcast and make it a real community thing. I’m so thankful that Madqueen, LastKnownMeal and TheNeonArcade were willing to try it out!

Ash: Perhaps the most exciting part is that both CD Projekt Red and R. Talsorian Games have taken notice of what we’re doing. We’re on their radar in a way we never would have been if we’d each done our own thing. We’ve had J. Gray, Paweł Sasko, Lilayah and others as guests, and they’ve seen how we cooperate, how we share information freely with each other. I believe the CDPR folks were surprised and impressed by how we cooperated on the December 2019 ARG, rather than competing with each other for those views.

Syb: When I explain it to other YouTubers and marketing people, the reply is often, “Why would you want to give away something? You should focus on controlling it. Don’t be stupid; just use others as a stepping stone.” I think these attitudes are the cause of much of the pain we see in today’s world. When people only look out for themselves instead of seeing what can be built with others, we tend to miss out on the best things.

Question 7: What are you looking forward to most for Cyberpunk 2077?

Syb: This really feeds from the previous question. After I’ve seen the story and played through the main game, I think the real fun will begin in the form of the community, creations and subculture that is built around it. I cannot wait to see the mods that people come up with! As for the game itself, I am most interested in seeing how the gangs work, how they interact, their stories and histories, etc. I can’t wait to dig into the lore, and I hope it’ll be deep.

Ash: A humongous world of stories set in my favorite genre of video game. The struggle against corrupted powers. Kick-ass weapons and cyberwear. Also, tracking down that “hello stranger” NPC and seeing if she actually has hair, and if she’s interested in ‘befriending’ a rogue nomad with a heart of gold (or titanium, or whatever they make it out of).

Final Question (8): What does Cyberpunk mean to you?

Syb: Advancement. In many ways, it’s the advancement of people into what is the inevitable outcome of evolution. Will we form ourselves into heartless machines fused into insanity? Or will we retain the best of humanity and learn from the darkness?

Ash: To me, it’s about the importance of retaining our humanity, our souls, our ability to empathize and connect. In the future, cyberpunk may not be fiction. We already depend on computers to a scary degree. Cybernetic limbs are not far off. When we give ourselves over and become part machine, whether it’s a psychological dependence or a physical replacement of meat with metal, are we really improving ourselves? Or are we destroying ourselves and giving our power to something else? These are questions to ask now, not tomorrow, because tomorrow might be the day we need an answer.

Want more from Triple S League?

You can check out their YouTube channel here. They also have a discord, which can be joined here, as well as Twitch, Twitter, and Spotify. They even have a Patreon too if you feel so inclined. Thanks for chatting with us, Triple S League!

Review: Into Neon: A Cyberpunk Saga

Into neon cover

Into Neon: A Cyberpunk Saga

Into Neon is the first in the ThutoCo Cyberpunk Saga trilogy by author Matthew A. Goodwin, available on Amazon in paperback for $10 or on Kindle for less than $2.

Goodwin’s own moniker for his book, a Cyberpunk Saga, is a pretty good description of this book in and of itself. Into Neon feels like a perfect match for the genre that it markets itself in. With a simple, straightforward story filled with a giant evil corporation, a rag-tag team of dissenting punks trying to bring it down, neon lights and body augmentations, Into Neon fits right in.

The Premise

Moss lives a fairly simple life in Burb 2152. He has a couple friends, works with his drudge — an automaton with advanced AI that can be controlled remotely while still have a programmable personality — and is happy living under the benevolent watch of ThutoCo. That is, until one day a stranger walks into his hex and changes his life forever. He learns that ThutoCo is not as it seems, and that his help is needed. What comes next is a tale of discovery, adventure, and courage. All with a shiny Neon sheen.

Characters

Moss has two friends who live in his burb, Gibbs, a colorful yet friendly character always lusting after women that pass by, and Issy, a flirty yet hard working police officer. Goodwin creates a fun interaction between these three friends. Next we have the crew outside the burb, with many characters including Ynna and Burn. Both competent, dedicated characters with very colorful descriptions, these characters I felt were well written as well.While Gibbs and Moss have a more youthful, naive air about them (since they both come from the pampered, isolated corporate burb) Burn and Ynna have a much harder, grittier edge to them. However, sometimes I felt like they missed a bit of depth, and couple have been fleshed out a little more. Which very well might be possible in the subsequent novels.

Complexity

Into Neon’s story is incredibly straightforward, which is a huge contrast to novels from the likes of, say, William Gibson. It depends on your reading style, but for me personally this resulted in an easy, page-turning read that I quite enjoyed. With language or a plot that’s too complicated, or no clear goal in the story as is sometimes the case of other writers, Goodwin’s novel is like a breath of fresh, cyberpunk-processed air. No nonsense, just a simple, fun, straightforward Cyberpunk tale.

Final Verdict: 7/10

Goodwin kept a good pace in his novel, and both the action and emotion in the story were good, but again, nothing extraordinary here. Into Neon is a solid cyberpunk novel that checks all the boxes. Goodwin has crafted a fun new world with interesting new technology. I particularly enjoyed the descriptions of transhumanism (body augmentations), the way people in this world are so readily willing to give up human limbs in favor of artificial ones, and the process of getting such an augmentation was one that felt real enough that I could see it happen in the non-too-distant future. This novel was a solid, fun cyberpunk novel, and although nothing in particular stands out it’s a great cyberpunk saga and an easy read, and I highly recommend it for anyone who wants to spend a fun neon-filled evening with an exciting page-turner. You can also check out more from Matthew Goodwin on his blog, ThutoWorld.com.

 

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