Speculative fiction that imagines the ways in which technology could impact human life offers limitless possibilities, including many dark and disturbing ways to misuse it. Cyberpunk 2077 and the TV series black mirror the two fell into the same rut of becoming hyper-focused on a possible offshoot of technology – perfect copies of a human mind – thus missing the opportunity to explore other creative ways in which technology could make the bleak future. Cyberpunk as a genre focuses on a variety of ways in which advanced technology alters what it means to be human, including cybernetic augmentations raising transhumanist themes, immersive digital realms questioning the nature of reality, and intelligence artificial questioning the definition of what it means to be. a person. This makes Cyberpunk 2077 and black mirror the myopic focus on digital copies of human minds is a disappointment.
The staple of the cyberpunk genre that showcases creeping capitalism, where life has become a commodity and the wealth gap has become insurmountable, is present in mega-corporations like Arasaka in the Cyberpunk 2077 video game, but preoccupation with digital copies of human consciousness has prevented the game, and the black mirror series, to go in more imaginative directions. Cyberpunk 2077 introduced the idea of Engrams, with an Alt Cunningham Engram wandering the net, and Johnny Silverhand’s Engram sharing a body with the player character, V. black mirror tried to present various ways in which technology could impact human life, from social media gone bad to virtual reality fighting games used for cybersex, but the introduction of cookies into the tradition of series quickly became his only concern for far too many episodes.
Gamers hold out hope in the next-gen version of Cyberpunk 2077 will redeem its rocky start, but even though the update irons out bugs and optimization issues, the main storyline will remain unambitious due to its focus on digitized human copies. Engrams have never been a major focus for cyberpunk Tabletop RPG, which featured human augmentation, rebels living outside of societal norms, and the ideal of building an enduring personal legend in a world where life is otherwise cheap and disposable. The central plot focusing on two Engrams, Cunningham and Silverhand, comes at the expense of a deeper exploration of the setting’s technological changes. The 2014 black mirror special white christmas introduces the concept of Cookies, analogous to Engrams of Cyberpunk 2077. This episode explored the idea of torturing digital copies of a human mind to create a better smart home, and later to extract a confession for a crime.
Black Mirror focuses too much on tortured copied minds
Although much later focus on cookies black mirror episodes were critically acclaimed, it showed a lack of imagination and willingness to explore other facets of technology, doubling down on White Christmas’ basic concept to the point of redundancy. USS Callister was another black mirror variation on the abuse of copies of human minds, this time for a man’s sadistic fantasies. Hook up the DJ submit the cookies to a mock test to calculate match compatibility, and black museum again, tread the same tired ground with mass-produced copies of a human mind undergoing constant electrocution. San Junipero provided the only altruistic take on the Cookie concept, with copies of human spirits living in an idyllic virtual reality like man-made afterlife, but the multiple episodes rehashing the Cookie concept proved tedious and wasted part of the potential of the series.
Cyberpunk 2077 still touches on some of the central themes of tabletop RPGs. V is initially associated with Jackie Wells, who plays the cyberpunk Ideals of the TTRPG. Wells reveres the legends of Night City’s past, as he is willing to die to create his own lasting legacy. However, this is more of an afterthought for V, as the presence of the Silverhand engram and sharing a body with a digital human copy quickly become the sole focus of the game’s main story.
The transhumanist themes of human augmentation are still technically present, as the player can upgrade his cyberware on Street Docs throughout the game, but V has little time to reflect on his changing body, with another personality struggling to control it. A few side missions explore other imaginative consequences of technology, like the boxing match against twins whose linked cyberware caused them to blur their identities. A greater focus on creative concepts like this could have created a stronger story in Cyberpunk 2077but as with black mirror Cookies, engrams take up too much space in the game.
Johnny Silverhand is a fascinating character in Cyberpunk 2077, and having an Engram for the ride offered an opportunity to joke around even with a game focused primarily on single-player missions. Alt Cunningham’s physical death and rise to become a powerful Net figure who rivals god-roaming AIs beyond the Blackwall, allowed Silverhand’s greatest regret to have meaning beyond his personal vendetta. against Arasaka. Later in the game, the engram of the slain Saburo Arasaka takes over his son’s body to regain control of society. None of these are particularly bad storyline additions, but they all center around the concept of engrams, excluding a more diverse exploration of the genre’s potential.
Cyberpunk 2077 explores engrams from all angles, avoiding story variety
Cyberpunk 2077 The default ending, certainly the least “punk” conclusion the game offers, features V seeking help from the Arasaka corporation. They are unable to find a way to keep V’s body alive, and the character can either accept the inevitability of their impending death and live out their remaining months to the full, or attempt immortality as an engram, in custody. from Arasaka. From the base tracing device of the relic biochip that V takes into his body, to Cyberpunk 2077 ending, Engram remains a singular fixation in the game’s story. While side missions offer some variety and supporting characters like Evelyn Parker explore other possible abuses of human augmentation, Cyberpunk 2077The main story of focuses on exploring the concept of Engram from every possible angle, excluding other ideas.
The notion of Arasaka’s virtual prison for copies of Engram may remind players black mirror episodes like white christmas Where black museumand Patriarch Arasaka’s second chance at life in his son’s body presents a different technological response to the afterlife of San Junipero. There’s nothing inherently wrong with taking the concept of science fiction and exploring it to the fullest, but in the case of both Cyberpunk 2077 and black mirrorthey did so at the expense of the endless variety and creative opportunities offered by science fiction.
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