The allure of cyberpunk
Cyberpunk. What do you visualise when you hear that word? Perhaps it’s a Blade Runner-esque dystopian existence. A city of futuristic skyscrapers and dark streets, illuminated only by flickering neon signs. Perhaps you imagine a society in deterioration where robots, vagrants and shady private eyes share the streets.
Close. Cyberpunk is a sci-fi subgenre where advanced technologies and hyper-connectivity are intertwined with elements of social rebellion and the grit of a post-industrial world.
And it’s a hugely popular theme in gaming culture, which in itself, is a popular theme in cyberpunk. It’s where the future and the past blur beyond distinction, where the virtual and the real are tightly interwoven and where rules, are already broken.
Deus Ex GO
An esteemed member of The GO Trilogy which includes the award-winning Hitman GO and Lara Croft GO, this strategic challenge game has classic cyberpunk stamped all over it.
Secret agent and main character Adam Jensen can hack into any system. It’s your task to help him unravel intricate puzzles and solve the game’s complex mysteries. Yet despite his skills, he’s just as vulnerable to a beating from a baton-wielding security guard as anyone else.
This juxtaposition recalls the groundbreaking cyberpunk novella True Names, where a group of computer hackers (known as warlocks) are seemingly invincible as they dominate networks across the world. However, no matter how powerful a warlock may be, all it takes is an adversary to unmask their real-world identity or True Name, to bend them to their will. In Deus Ex GO, Jensen’s fate is in your hands.
Deus Ex GO
Dystopian Puzzle Challenge
Lead character Red is the ultimate heroine of the cyberpunk era. The famous singer is targeted by a mysterious organisation and loses her memory, but escapes and arms herself with the mightily powerful Transistor sword.
This sci-fi RPG boasts stunning hand-painted artwork throughout and the action is set in a surreally futuristic city, which you must fight your way through. Any time you use the Transistor to launch an offence against your enemies, you call up one of its many functions like the Crash or the Spark which give you more power to deflect and challenge your obstacles. And as you level up, you’ll earn access to new functions. In this game, in pursuit of the truth, you’re both a vengeful sword slinger and a hacker; and it’s an incredibly cool combination.
A key theme running through the cyberpunk genre is the conflicting dynamics between the real and the virtual worlds. In the minimalist puzzler Nightgate, this conflict reaches its apex. The game is set in the year 2398 and the last form of life on earth is a network of highly intelligent computers.
In this ultra-dark digital world you must guide your small circle of light through a complex 3D colour patterns, hitting checkpoints while carefully avoiding obstacles (anything in red is not a friend to your mission). As you take on level after level, the challenge intensifies but it’s easy to become absorbed in the abstract nuances and find your rhythm alongside the atmospheric synth sounds.
Cyberpunk inspires imaginative contemplation of possible future worlds and of the unknown. True to genre, Nightgate sends us on a voyage of discovery, into that unknown.