Saturday, March 24, 2012

Games I Love - Cyberpunk 2020

As a role player I have dabbled in many systems and games over the years. There was always a few games that stood out for me, ones that I usually stuck with for extended periods of time due to theme or system. I'm going to spend some time over the next few weeks taking a look back at the games that ignited my imagination in one way or another.
First up is Cyberpunk 2020. This game was by R. Talsorian Games and was first released as a box set in 1988, the name at the time was Cyberpunk 2013, but was changed to Cyberpunk 2020 in its second release in 1990. The world has gone to hell and mega-corporations have taken over for much of the U.S. Government. These corps have no oversight and do pretty much whatever they please. Characters play mercs called Edgerunners, people living on the edge of society looking to score the next big deal. Cybernetics, gear, netrunning, artificial intelligence and cloning are all part of the landscape.
I think what I found so appealing about the game was its darkness. Drugs and addiction were were a regular part of our game play, after coming from D&D and always playing the heroes it was fun to play someone with questionable morals. The combat system was brutal and very lethal, If you pulled a gun you had better shoot first and straight or you were on a one way trip to the county morgue. If I remember correctly the system included rules for blowing off body parts, gruesome stuff. I believe the combat system went by the name Friday Night Firefight.
Despite being based heavily on William Gibsons Neuromancer, we never really spent much time netrunning, the system felt tacked on to me, we were much more focused on playing shady scumbags living in the shadows. One of my favorite parts of the game was the cybernetics; want to swap out your arm for a stronger one, sure! Want to scoop out your eyes and get nightvision add to your new cybernetic eyes, you can! There were pages and pages of all kinds of hardware that you could add to your body. The only problem was the more you added the less human you became, eventually succumbing to cyberpsychosis. It helped to balance the gameplay and make sure everyone did not become a hulking machine that could dish out and absorb tons of damage.
If you've never had a chance to play this game, check it out. Its still avalble out there, just stay away from the newest version CP 203X, its a steaming pile of junk.

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