The History of Cyberpunk

Exploring the history of Cyberpunk through literary works and film

The relationship of advanced technology and Dystopian futures representative of man's progression with machines

1982-06-25 00:00:00

Blade Runner

Ridley Scott captures the quintessence of the future cyberpunk movement, with Harrison Ford as Rick Deckard, a Blade Runner who specialises in terminating human clones used for labour

1984-07-01 00:00:00

The Sprawl Trilogy

William Gibson's debut novel, Neuromancer legitimized cyberpunk as a mainstream branch of science fiction literature. This was followed by Count Zero in 1986 and Mona Lisa Overdrive in 1988.

1984-10-26 00:00:00

The Terminator

A human-looking indestructible cyborg is sent from 2029 to 1984 to assassinate a waitress, whose unborn son will lead humanity in a war against the machines, while a soldier from that war is sent to protect her at all costs.

1986-08-01 00:00:00


Written by Walter Job Williams, The Orbital Corporations now control the world. In the ruins of an America ravaged by the Rock War, ex-fighter pilot Cowboy, who can be "hardwired" via skull sockets directly to his ride, has become a panzerboy, a hi-tech smuggler riding armored hovertanks through the balkanized countryside.

1987-07-17 00:00:00


In a dystopic and crime-ridden Detroit, a terminally wounded cop returns to the force as a powerful cyborg haunted by submerged memories.

1987-10-27 00:00:00

Hoshi wo Miru Hito

The game is set in a decadent cyberpunk-style future world in which everyone has extrasensory perception. These powers can also be used by the player characters when they confront the various monsters in the game through combat. The eventual target of the game is to defeat the villains. In order to accomplish this, the player's characters must go to the Ark City and eventually to outer space. Unlike the Final Fantasy series, the game does not give the player an automatic "game over" when it is impossible to win the battle. This makes it possible for players to accidentally walk into a walking dead situation every time they are forced to do battle with the game's monsters.

1988-08-01 00:00:00

Islands in the Net

Written by Bruce Sterling, it offers a view of an early 21st century world apparently peaceful with delocalised, networking corporations. The protagonist, swept up in events beyond her control, finds herself in the places off the net, from a datahaven in Grenada, to a Singapore under terrorist attack, to the poorest and most disaster-struck part of Africa. In the story, the fictional book The Lawrence Doctrine and Postindustrial Insurgency, named after Lawrence of Arabia, is banned because it deals directly with methods and tactics of an insurgent rebellion.

1988-08-01 00:00:00


The game is loosely based on the events of the novel Neuromancer by William Gibson. Locations, characters, items and nuances of cyberspace from the novel appear. Taking place in the year 2058 in Chiba City, Japan, the plot centered around the protagonist attempting to discover the truth behind the mysterious disappearances of his friends as well as other, less friendly cyberspace cowboys. Unfortunately, the player's character has fallen on hard times and has had to pawn his cyberspace deck. He awakes in a plate of Ratz' famous spaghetti, and the first order of business is to find some way to retrieve his old deck from the nearby pawnshop.

1988-11-26 00:00:00


On June 6, 1996 (1991 in the Japanese versions), a biological weapon known as Lucifer-Alpha under development in Chernoton, Russia, is released into the atmosphere, resulting in the death of 80% of the Eurasian population which in turn results in the death of half of the world's population. The contaminated area becomes uninhabitable for a decade, when Lucifer-Alpha mutates into a non-lethal form. This tragic event later becomes known as "the Catastrophe". Fifty years later, a breed of artificial life-forms or bioroids known as "snatchers" began appearing in the artificial island of Neo Kobe City, killing their victims and taking their place in society. Nobody knows exactly what they are or where they come from. As Gillian Seed, an amnesiac working for an Anti-Snatcher task force called J.U.N.K.E.R., the player's goal is to track down the source of the snatchers and discover Gillian's mysterious connections with them.

1993-08-01 00:00:00

The Bridge Trilogy

The trilogy comprises the novels Virtual Light (1993), Idoru, (1996) and All Tomorrow's Parties (1999). The 'bridge' may also be interpreted as a metaphor for the nascent technologies bridging contemporaneous life and the highly advanced future depicted in the Sprawl trilogy, where cyberspace and nanotechnology are fully developed and commonplace.

1993-08-01 00:00:00


The game puts the player in charge of a self-named corporation in a gritty near-future cyberpunk-style world in the year 2096. The teams of up to four cyborg agents are used in a series of deadly missions, which include assassinations, infiltration, theft and "persuasion" (using a device called a Persuadertron to capture individuals of importance). The game's objective is to establish world-wide dominance with the established syndicate, one territory at a time, while engaging and eliminating rival syndicates and putting down internal mutinies.

1995-05-26 00:00:00

Johnny Mnemonic

A data courier, literally carrying a data package inside his head, must deliver it before he dies from the burden or is killed by the Yakuza.

1995-06-30 00:00:00

Judge Dredd

In a dystopian future, Dredd, the most famous judge (a police officer with instant field judiciary powers) is convicted for a crime he did not commit while his murderous counterpart escapes.

1995-08-01 00:00:00

The Diamond Age

Written by Neal Stephenson, set in a future world in which nanotechnology affects all aspects of life. The novel deals with themes of education, social class, ethnicity, and the nature of artificial intelligence.

1996-07-01 00:00:00

Holy Fire

the story of an old woman who has gained a second youth—in a world in which radical life extension is available through highly intrusive technological means—and who has an ontological transformation as a result.

1998-07-11 00:00:00


Perhaps a precursor to 'Transcendence'. After her sudden death a teenage girl finds her father has uploaded her mind to computer form. With a rival corporation wishing to capture her the girl is uploaded to her boyfriend's laptop.

1998-08-01 00:00:00


The book is set in the Pacific Fringe – the only remaining industrialised part of the world – in a society where free market capitalism holds absolute sway. Even the dead, including the hero's wife, can be brought back to life as slave labour if they fail to meet their financial obligations. The internet has evolved radically so that emails can be seen fluttering around the recipient and pestering for attention, while strange online sexual experiences can be had through electronic surrogates called prowlers.

1999-03-31 00:00:00

The Matrix

A computer hacker learns from mysterious rebels about the true nature of his reality and his role in the war against its controllers.

1999-08-11 00:00:00

System Shock 2

The game takes place on board a starship in a cyberpunk depiction of 2114. The player assumes the role of a lone soldier trying to stem the outbreak of a genetic infection that has devastated the ship. Like System Shock, gameplay consists of first-person shooting and exploration. It also incorporates role-playing system elements, in which the player can develop unique skills and traits, such as hacking and psionic abilities.

2000-06-26 00:00:00

Deus Ex

Set in a dystopian world during the year 2052, the central plot follows rookie United Nations Anti-Terrorist Coalition agent JC Denton, as he sets out to combat terrorist forces, which have become increasingly prevalent in a world slipping ever further into chaos. As the plot unfolds, Denton becomes entangled in a deep and ancient conspiracy, encountering organizations such as Majestic 12, the Illuminati, and the Hong Kong Triads through his journey.

2002-02-28 00:00:00

Altered Carbon

In the novel's somewhat dystopian world, human personalities can be stored digitally and downloaded into new bodies, called sleeves. Most people have cortical stacks in their spinal columns that store their memories. If their body dies, their stack can be stored indefinitely.

2002-09-09 00:00:00


The game takes place in a post-apocalyptic 28th century. In the mid-22nd century, tensions rose between an expanded Chinese Empire and a joint European/North American Federation of the Free World. The unexplained apparent destruction of the first Chinese interstellar colony ship results in China launching devastating nuclear strikes with stealth missiles. In retaliation, the President gives the command to counter strike with cold fusion long-range missiles. World War III starts on February 17, 2143; it lasts less than 6 hours. It takes over three centuries for even the most rudimentary civilization to return. By the mid-26th century two great cities had risen from the ashes, thanks in large part to the "Ceres Project”. Originally an MIT project in the early 21st century aimed at storing every aspect of human knowledge on holodisk, it was eventually taken over by the military in response to the murder of the project leader. A "Subway" station in Neocron city. 200 years later, both cities are but shadows of their former selves: Neocron is diminished thanks to a succession of coups d'état as well as a mass exodus to Irata III, a colony 80 light years away formed by the missing Chinese colony ship, and Dome of York suffers from losing a devastating war with Neocron.

2003-02-26 00:00:00


In a Fascist future where all forms of feeling are illegal, a man in charge of enforcing the law rises to overthrow the system.

2003-08-01 00:00:00

Natural City

In the year 2080, the world is connected by a massive computer network. Combiners have developed a process that allows them to merge the souls of humans to machines

2006-03-15 00:00:00


n 2054, Paris is a labyrinth where all movement is monitored and recorded. Casting a shadow over everything is the city's largest company, Avalon, which insinuates itself into every aspect of contemporary life to sell its primary export -- youth and beauty. In this world of stark contrasts and rigid laws the populace is kept in line and accounted for.

2007-02-25 00:00:00


Dystopia takes place in a high-tech futuristic world spanned by computer networks. It places players into tense combat situations in its own cyberpunk universe, revolving around the conflict between two factions, the Punk Mercenaries (Punks) and the Corporate Security Forces (Corps). As either the Punks or the Corps, players battle against each other in both the physical world (known commonly as meatspace) and the virtual world (cyberspace), with actions in one having an effect on the other

2008-08-29 00:00:00

Babylon A.D.

Veteran-turned-mercenary Toorop takes the high-risk job of escorting a woman from Russia to America. Little does he know that she is host to an organism that a cult wants to harvest in order to produce a genetically modified Messiah.

2009-09-04 00:00:00


In a future mind-controlling game, death row convicts are forced to battle in a 'doom'-type environment. Convict Kable, controlled by Simon, a skilled teenage gamer, must survive 30 sessions in order to be set free. Or won't he?

2009-09-25 00:00:00


Set in a futuristic world where humans live in isolation and interact through surrogate robots, a cop is forced to leave his home for the first time in years in order to investigate the murders of others' surrogates.

2010-03-19 00:00:00

Repo Men

Set in the near future when artificial organs can be bought on credit, it revolves around a man who struggles to make the payments on a heart he has purchased. He must therefore go on the run before said ticker is repossessed.

2011-02-24 00:00:00

Gemini Rue

Gemini Rue takes place in the 23rd century within the "Gemini System", a star system recently declared independent from the Taurus and Pleaidas System through the war ten years prior to the beginning of the game. Though peace has come, the war left a power void, and the mafia-like Boryokudan crime syndicate controls much of the system, using its control of a drug called "Juice".

2011-09-13 00:00:00

Hard Reset

The world as we know it ceased to exist. Humanity is at the verge of extinction, living in the last closed city of Bezoar. Mankind wages war against the machines controlling vast areas of what became the Barrens. Machines want to control and assimilate The Sanctuary, a network that holds billions of digitalized human minds. Game hero, Maj. Fletcher, is a soldier of CLN - a corporation combat unit, established to protect the city. Machines are constantly assaulting the walls of Bezoar. Fletcher moves in when Bezoar's protective barrier is breached

2013-04-30 00:00:00

Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon

The game is set in a fictional 2007, where the world is suffering the aftermath of a nuclear war between the United States and Russia. Rex is an American cybernetic super-soldier. He and another American cyber-soldier named Spider travel to an unnamed island to investigate Colonel Sloan, an elite agent who has gone rogue. Upon confronting Sloan, he reveals his treachery, kills Spider, and knocks out Rex.

2013-06-03 00:00:00

Remember Me

The game is set in the year 2084, in a futuristic version of Paris called Neo-Paris. The Memorize corporation has invented a new brain implant called the Sensation Engine (Sensen), which enables roughly 99% of the population to upload and share their memories on the net, as well as remove unhappy or unpleasant memories. This gives Memorize an immense degree of control over the population and enables them to establish a surveillance state. This, in turn, leads to a small group of rebels forming under the name "Errorists": their mission is to bring down Memorize. The invention of the Sensen has also resulted in the creation of Leapers; memory-addicted humans who have absorbed so many memories that their Sensen has degraded and they have mutated into a subhuman form, now living in the sewers of Neo-Paris.

2014-04-18 00:00:00


The most recent addition to the cyberpunk genre, this movie stars Johnny Depp and explores the possibility of to creating a sentient machine that combines the collective intelligence of cyberspace and the human consciousness.

2014-05-27 00:00:00

Watch Dogs

In the backstory of Watch Dogs, a computer hacker is discovered to have been behind the Northeast blackout of 2003, which led to eleven deaths. This event prompted the Blume Corporation to develop ctOS (CenTral Operating System). The ctOS supercomputer connects to everyone and everything—including personal information, security cameras, and traffic lights. Over time, Blume installs ctOS supercomputers in multiple cities across the United States, including Chicago, Illinois, the setting of the game.

The History of Cyberpunk

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