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Episode 1073: Rise of the Cyber-Man


Cybernetic augmentation features heavily in the gaming genre of cyberpunk, but can also make an appearance across most other science fiction, both futuristic and retro versions such as steampunk. A common theme in cyberpunk games is the dehumanisation of people who have replaced some of their body parts with cybernetic implants - as they literally become more machine, they also mentally become more coldly logical and less warm and empathic. This is used to good effect game mechanically, because other than monetary cost there is no other particularly compelling reason why a character who seeks to be physically and mentally superior (as PCs tend to do) would not replace their frail organic body parts with stronger, faster, more damage-resistant options. The loss of empathy and humanity can supply a balancing negative effect which assists in keeping the game under control.

Interestingly, the loss of humanity concomitant with the mechanical replacement of body parts is also a strong theme running through the entire Star Wars saga. It also shows up in fantasy as well, as exemplified by the famous Dungeons & Dragons artefacts known as the Hand of Vecna and the Eye of Vecna.

By the way, if you've never read the classic gaming story about the Head of Vecna, your gaming education is woefully incomplete. Go here and scroll down to the entry for December 6, 1996.


Leia: Your aide is interesting.
Lando: I rescued him from a prison camp run by General Grievous twenty years ago. He's been loyal to me ever since.
Robot: I was a man, now I am Robot.
C-3PO: Droid power, brother.
{beat, stoic look from Robot}
Han: 3PO is very keen on droid rights.
Lando: Our droids are treated in full compliance with the Servitor Droid Maintenance Guidelines.
Han: I'm sure none of us has any problem with that.
C-3PO: It sounds dreadful! I need to talk to these oppressed droids!
Han: Now, now, we're not here to stir up trouble.
Chewbacca: We never are.

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Published: Thursday, 31 July, 2014; 03:11:02 PDT.
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