(Oh man, does this make me feel old...)
Yesterday 20 years ago, the video game Syndicate Wars
was released by Peter Molyneux' studio Bullfrog, and from the moment I finished my first steps in its world I was smitten by it. In the game, you controlled a group of four cyborgs through a series of worldwide missions, stealing information, blowing up banks for money, brainwashing innocent bystanders, assassinating opponents, and occasionally flattening entire cities with massive explosions. Literally everything in Syndicate Wars
turned out to be destructible if your weapons were strong enough. It was the kind of game in which you killed a super-strong enemy agent by blowing up the base of a skyscraper, making it collapse on top of him.
It can also rightfully be called my smooth preparation towards seeing Oshii Mamoru's Ghost in the Shell
for the first time, as all cities in the game had billboard screens playing its trailer, arousing my interest in the title.
But that film wasn't the only thing openly being referenced in Syndicate Wars
: British magazine 2000 AD
got its fair share of love, and the entire game paid homage to everything cyberpunk, from William Gibson to James Cameron's The Terminator
. Virtual reality, augmented reality, corporate domination, technology as virtue and curse, extreme violence, bionic enhancements, drugs, artificial intelligence, philosophical questions regarding identity, expendability, the individual versus the multitude... it was all there, in spades. In the game's design, in what it made you do to succeed, and (most amusingly) in the backstories behind most missions.
To this day, Syndicate Wars
remains my most favorite video-game of all time, and all my love for cyberpunk can be traced back to it and its predecessor Syndicate
So in praise of its 20th birthday, I dedicate this week's question to cyberpunk. What is your favorite cyberpunk movie and why?
Chime in, in the comments below, and HAVE YOUR SAY!
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