[dropcap size=big]C[/dropcap]yberpunk is a popular genre and Technocrat certainly pulls several of the tropes found in other titles and incorporates them into Technobabylon. There are too many to count just in this single article, but pretty much everywhere you look in the city of Newton you can see the inspiration from the classics. From the chrome to the dystopian society you’ll find something ‘punk to enjoy.
The first thing that generally springs to mind when thinking about Cyberpunk is the use of cybernetics, or “chrome” as it’s commonly called. You’ll only spot this once throughout the entirety of Technobabylon and that’s due to one person being allergic to the genetic engineering so prevalent in the late 21st century. “Gengineering” is the rage these days and you can easily get biological modifications as long as you’ve got the money.
The other major theme generally found in stories of this type is the use of a much more advanced form of the Internet. Whether you call it a “Matrix”, “Virtual Reality”, or (in this case) “Trance” it’s all the same. You’re jacking into a digital representation of the world. You can do pretty much anything that a computer can do today but with a lot more processing power and a lot more imagination. You have to connect to several terminals using “wetware” in order to complete a lot of the puzzles. At least when you’re playing as “Mandala” and Max.
All right. Now for the fun part. When you think of society in a ‘punk setting it’s usually one of stark contrasts. The rich and affluent live and work in shiny and futuristic highrises. You can see this when you’re wandering around CEL headquarters, the majority of crime scenes, and of course pretty much anywhere the government controls. This is the face of the city in Technobabylon and it shows just how well off people can be.
The flip side, of course, is the run down streets and buildings designated for the lower class citizens. You’ll be seeing a lot of these areas when playing as Latha as she’s been running jobless for two years and is forced to wear 3d printed overalls to designate her as such. Her flat is a disgusting mess and as she wanders the streets barefoot the dinginess of the seedier side of town shows apparent. You even get to see the inside of an illegal Internet cafe. Drugs are also a somewhat major theme as it’s often used to ease the pain of reality.
Fans of Orwellian “big brother” themes should also find a lot to love in Technobabylon. In fact, the central theme is based around a super advanced artificial intelligence known as “Central” which pretty much governs everything in Newton. In fact, there’s a lot more to Central than originally meets the eye which makes revelations later on in the game all the more potent. Let’s just say that it believes that it has the best interests of the citizens even though some might think it oversteps its bounds and leave it at that.
There are more Cyberpunk themes sprinkled liberally throughout the entirety of Technobabylon, but the above are pretty much the main tropes that occur threaded within the tapestry of the game as a whole.
Technobabylon is the selection for the June 2015 “Not Crowdfunded, But…” series. You can read more Technobabylon articles here.