So, after bashing cyberpunk as an MMO genre, time for me to play “good developer” and show why my evil twin was wrong. Why is cyberpunk a great genre for an MMO?

MMOs are cyberspace

In their purest form, MMOs are the dreams of cyberspace revealed. Most worlds are more Snow Crash than Neuromancer, but MMOs are often built around the concept of a space that exists entirely in the virtual. The creators of Second Life had to have read Snow Crash in the past and comes pretty close to realizing that despite all its flaws.

An MMO set entirely in cyberspace would have a lot going for it, really. You wouldn’t have to worry about explaining away issues like lag or logging off, they’re part of the game. No more silly “camping” metaphors or convoluted explanations about why when a character “dies” they’re not really dead. Given the descriptions of cyberspace in Neuromancer, a game set in gibsonian cyberspace would be have fairly low requirements, even.

There is a dedicated fan base

The cyberpunk genre may be niche, but fans (that would be you, dear reader) are enthusiastic. For example, this site has grown fairly fast without a whole lot of advertising. (Of course, it could grow more, so get the word out!)

The audience for MMOs also overlaps with the audience for cyberpunk. People who read cyberpunk in the 80s or who watched the movies in the 90s and 2000s are the same people who got into MMOs. The audiences of both tend to be older, technologically savvy people with an interest in internet culture. Given that MMOs are cyberspace, as I argued above, it makes sense.

Cyberpunk demands to be brought up-to-date

As I was doing research for this site, I found Afrocyberpunk. I love that site because it’s an intelligent writer looking at his home city of Accra, Ghana and seeing how it will develop in the future. This is exciting because if Africa is cyberpunk, it shows that the genre has life in it yet.

As I argued in the first post of this site, Cyberpunk is dead. Cyberspace has come to pass, and we know that the Alpha Centauri aren’t dreaming. The genre cries out to move forward, perhaps in the form of post-cyberpunk, but there’s a real future for it out there.

Let’s see if the newer medium of games, the incarnation of cyberspace, can move the genre forward into exciting new areas.

So, do you think that cyberpunk is a terrible genre or a terrific genre? Why?