Eventually, role-playing games like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Paranoia, Buck Rogers, or Cyberpunk became mere covers for Dungeons and Dragons. My family’s allegiance to Jehovah (as opposed to Jay-H.O.V.A.) was such that anything a stranger told you was bad was automatically bad, without the need for any exhausting or speculative cognition on our part. Generally speaking I leverage this state of affairs as a dialectic cudgel, swiping with vigor at this or that, but my mom gave me an incredible gift here that almost certainly informed my life. I think a lot of people go right to D&D, and that’s it. You can play Dungeons & Dragons your whole life, I’m not gonna tell you that would be bad. It is at least as good and probably better than a lot of the shit you get up to. But she didn’t let me start with it, and the reason doesn’t matter now. I was made to cast a wide net, and I hauled up treasure.
Cyberpunk 2020 was one of of those treasures.
When I heard that CD Projekt had picked up the license to do their thing, the thing that they have proven so adroit at doing, it is reasonable to say that I freaked the fuck out; when I heard that it wasn’t a regular old licensing thing but was actually a collaboration with the Cyberpunk dude I lost what remained of my shit.
Going hard on something like MAX-TAC or cyberpsychosis right out the gate - in the very first publicly available materials - is fascinating to me. They’re core to the setting, but I consider that stuff to be fairly inside baseball. They’re tied into one of the mechanisms the game uses to govern a character’s power, which are themselves tied into the idea that having your forearm replaced with a shotgun has an effect on your empathy, your humanity. To see that dichotomy at the conceptual core of their offering has the effect of tantalizing a motherfucker for real.
After we had the kind of argument we usually have about something wholly innocuous, I went into the conference room to grab a few of my Chromebooks, the Guide To The Net, all the shit that set my young heart to fluttering. The art that had calibrated a year or more of my personal cool barometer was not to Gabriel’s liking, it was in fact bad, but the part of me that didn’t know then still doesn’t know, and I love that young man precisely for not knowing.