The end of 2020, COVID, Cyberpunk and the RL

As the end draws near we take a look at 2020.

We’re not the kind of website that will get all political. We understand the value of politics and the right to free speech and to debate things. But as the end draws to a close for 2020 we would like to talk about the perspective of us the lowly bloggers and perhaps a video game review sandwiched right in the middle. There may be a few readers interested in what we have to say and to that handful that read through all of this, we thank you greatly.

This article is going to be a lot more word heavy. In part because I don’t want to host images of video games. Except for the parody with Harold hiding the pain because in this situation it seems strangely appropriate. We would only be lying to you the reader if we told you that we were not inspired by the Cyberpunk aesthetic. It’s in part why we kept the mid-2000’s feel going for this site. Thus, talking about this game seems like the right thing to do.

Read on for one of those view times we go a game review here at S-Config.com.

Cyberpunk Red/2027/2077?

The PC game that had an 8-year development cycle has finally arrived! And if you look at other review sites the release is not splendid! We could go on an angry tear about this game. We could even pull what Wired Magazine pulled and directly attack the fan-base of Cyberpunk culture within the first paragraph by mocking the anti-capitalistic message and how it’s homogenized for rich Gen-X’ers with top of the line PCs. This is hilarious coming from a magazine calling the Cyberpunk culture “sell-outs” when we still remember dedicating multiple magazines kissing the ass of Steve Jobs.

We suppose if there’s something positive to say about Wired magazine is their consistency. For more than 30 years they still cannot help themselves by alienating every sub-culture on the net that they write about. That takes a really special level of seething bitterness.

Back to the topic: Everything that can be homogenized will be placed up for sale. Hell, Wal-Mart even tried to get into the furry culture with incredibly bad fursuits. Unless you cross the line of western Christian taboo; Everything you love will be put up for sale. Cyberpunk in itself is to have a degree of self-awareness. Perhaps a little bit of dark irony to it all that by fighting the “Corpo’s” you end up becoming them. But let’s rewind a little bit here.

Tabletop Dice.

We grew up in a time of table-top RPG’s. Even managed to play a few sessions of the Cyberpunk tabletop game. Although not our favorite futuristic tabletop RPG and we at the time (in our teens.) We didn’t completely understand all of the rules and story. We were fortunate enough to have a few good storytellers to make the game enjoyable. As a player, you didn’t have to know the entire history of Cyberpunk 2027 because not even half of the people of Night City were educated enough to know their own history. Just that when you first start off a character. You’re lower than dirt and with a little effort, you can work your way up. Just knowing that you’re living in a dystopian shit-show.

Growing up graphics in computers have gotten monumentally better. To top this off there are even a few good adaptations of roleplaying systems that held their faith in the pen and paper system. “Baulders Gate” just to name one. So bringing something that was abstract as pen and paper onto other mediums like movies and games is always difficult because of the open-ended dynamics of a world bring presented to the end-user on a track-like event where you see the sights but never have the freedom to do whatever you want.

Cyberpunk 2077 is more meta than even the creators know.

Keeanu Reeves being "Breathtaking"

From the hype to the backers of the game, to the game itself. Cyberpunk 2077 is the “breathtaking” future of gaming. This is not necessarily ‘good’ but it sure as hell is ‘interesting’. We’ll start with the biggest topic of this video game.

My God.. It’s full of bugs!

Cyberpunk Flatlined

Honestly, we think the developer bugs in this game are far more interesting. If we didn’t have all of these bugs we would be left with a game that has a decent story, an annoying grind-fest, and a decision mechanic where it really does not matter what you choose because the story mechanic keeps you on the linear ride all throughout the futuristic theme park. In other words “The Witcher: but with guns!”  Some even said it’s just a futuristic inferior version of GTA. Harsh guys, harsh.

But this harshness is not unjustified. After all the gaming community was given a 48-minute gameplay review on YouTube which is effectively a giant sales pitch about how revolutionary this game is. On how every action you make has an impact on the way the game story progresses.

Boy, I wish that was true. Because choosing a 4-inch flacid penis for my girl during character creation should’ve had at least SOME impact on the dialog. But sadly, no.

To add insult to injury to this whole situation. If you were to compare Cyberpunk 2077 to say.. GTA San Andreas.  A game that came out just when the only thing Cyberpunk 2077 had was a Short CG-Movie. You could even go as far as to say the game would be the total opposite of breathtaking if it weren’t for the graphics presented.

The best we can think about as to why it took 8 years to produce this game was to get all of the artwork and lock down all of the musicians for the game. But it’s the glitches within the matrix of Night City that make the game truly “breathtaking.” There’s no need for me to link videos here. Most of the YouTube community is almost tripping over themselves copy-pasting the same content from different streamers into a video collage. So let’s begin!

That’s not a bug! That’s a feature!

  • Physics failure with cars. – We’ve personally played this game on our PC and have had cars thrown at us a few blocks away indirectly! This isn’t a bug as much as it is a missed story-telling opportunity from CD Projekt Red. Maybe there is a cyberpsycho in the neighborhood picking up cars and throwing them everywhere!?!? Think the NCPD would stop them? Fuck no! They’d just let the freak go on a temper tantrum and take him out when he/she finally comes down.
  • Militech robots pole-dancing – Robots need to make money too! No kink-shaming!
  • Petting the “cat” – Near the start of the game there’s this cat on the ground you can pet and also there’s this hooker on the staircase that you could talk to. Another missed opportunity from CD Projekt Red. What if her name was “Cat” and “Petting” people was the in thing to do in 2077? We as a society don’t even know what the hell is going to happen in a year much less 57 years from now. Although kind of odd that out of the entire Night City only two people want to bang your main character.
    Cyberpunk 2d!
  • Cars looking 2-dimensional when looking through a sniper scope – Paper Mario effect is getting you down? You got Kiroshi Optics installed by a Ripper Doc on loan. He technically did the job free for you. Beggars can’t be choosers in this scenario.
  • Getting thrown 100’s of meters into the air or teleported – It should be noted that the story eventually has you installing Keanu Reeves into your head. When Keanu Reeves had something in his head. He needed a military dolphin to “Hack his brain”. Seriously guys go watch Johnny Nemonic. What we are saying on this one is that no one really should not be surprised if your cybernetic implants glitch once and a while.
  • Police chasing you on foot only to a certain point and then quietly walk away – Perhaps Cyberpunk 2077 took some queues from Demolition Man. Police cars aren’t used for high-speed chases because that could hurt people’s feelings. Yeah, I know, that’s a bit of a stretch.
  • Police coming out of nowhere – Now that’s just displaced Arasaka Ninja’s getting new jobs with the NCPD. C’mon!
  • Endless peeing your pants – In the future taking a piss is a release of stress. So why not have a CyberMod make your entire life stress free? Just pissing everywhere! Again who are we 2020 plebs judging what people in 2077 do?
  • The same person over and over – Oooookay so there’s a bit of a cloning problem going on. Fallout addressed that with all of the Gary’s. Hopefully, CD Projekt Red can fill us in on that.
  • Sell a fine piece of art to a drop-off point for 4,000 eddies, pick up the same painting seconds later for 5 eddies – Money exploits exist in the now. Someone at your local supermarket can load the wrong bills in the self-checkout. Who’s to say that isn’t the whole point of Cyberpunk 2077? That chasing eddies and doing all of these stupid run-and-gun missions for eddies is absolutely pointless because if you’re a smart person you can exploit said system just like the corpos and the people that have left earth. Just because you can do it does not make that a glitch or a bug. Just a statement on how fucked a fake economic structure in a post-capitalistic dystopian world operates with nothing backing up that wealth.. Oh shit, a little too close to home in 2020 on that one huh?
    Flay the Hyena Clothing in lightwave.
  • Wake up, street samurai! It’s time to T-Pose! – The T-pose is the classic ‘rest’ state of a model when it is being designed in a 3-d workspace. This is one of those scenarios where perhaps the people of Night City are so poor that their cybernetics just go fuck-all sending their nervous systems into factory default settings. Again, if we were storytellers and we ran a Cyberpunk scenario. I’d most certainly make sure some of my NPC would T-pose at the most awkward story-breaking times!

We think we made our point. What the gaming community views as an unacceptable bug. We view it as just part of the gaming experience. In some situations even enhancing the experience beyond what was intended. Some would view this as breaking the story. But despite the game slowly crashing and burning right in front of our eyes “Everything is fine.” This is why we feel CyberPunk 2077 is more “meta” than even the creators know.

The installation of Cyberpunk 2077 is real kids!

When this game was first released. Our PC met the minimum requirements. Barely.

In the major metropolitan areas of Night City, I was getting a brilliant 8 frames per second. Out in the desert, we were getting about 15 frames per second.

That was of course until I went to a certain Reddit forum and hex-edited the executable of Cyberpunk 2077.

My favorite part was replacing the:

75 30 33 C9 B8 01 00 00 00 0F A2 8B C8 C1 F9 08 

with the:

EB 30 33 C9 B8 01 00 00 00 0F A2 8B C8 C1 F9 08 

Before even playing the game I’m opening hex editors and hacking the executable. Again, that’s cyberpunk on so many levels.

And to make it even faster I downloaded a mod that is supposed to open up the console but it has the side benefit of turning off shaders we don’t need. The mod is called as CyberEngineTweaks . Again, not made by CD Projekt Red But now we’re getting frame rates 20-30 fps which is really playable! We weren’t lying about the fact that other people are fixing the game. Not necessarily CD Projekt Red which made the game! This mod also does a few other neat things like remove all of the badly pathed cars and people that serve no purpose and say the same pre-script comments made by two voice actors. Erm, I mean the “Rich immersion of Night-City where EVERYONE has a story to tell.” This speeds things up for me almost to the levels of GTA4 on my PC. So, thanks to random programmers on GitHub for making the game playable again!

We think the only thing we are missing to complete my Cyberpunk experience is instead of getting it on Steam or GoG. That we should’ve just went to the shadiest torrent site to download and install it.

Seriously guys software piracy is bad.

If you want to teach such a greedy bastard of a corporation to not force their developers into mandatory overtime over a game just don’t pre-order it. Give your pre-order money to an independent developer instead of a AAA venue that will take your pre-order money and blow it by hiring Hollywood stars and ignore the pages of beta-testers at the roll-credits by not giving them console versions and restricting the world to just a tech demo.

Buy a AAA game on release day. Or better yet. Wait a few days for the whale of angry gamers.

ALL OF THIS IS CYBERPUNK!

That technology is crudely put together and often by the weakest link. resulting in individuals having to either fix the final product and preying that the “Corpo’s” at CD Projekt Red fix the game. They delivered in ways no one anticipated. And to some wished that they did not deliver the layers of Cyberpunk experience the way.

Cyberpunk the genre.

It should be noted that this game was made around the mid 80’s and like many writers predicted what the world would be like in the future. That instead of a passive cool breezy day like the Playstation game Jet-Ski moto. We are thrust into another Deus-Ex Machina sci-fi dystopian thriller which by all rights has been done better by movies that came after it:

  • Ghost in the Shell – Especially the TV Series went through and discussed the nature of the human soul. Not only in how it could be lost as we lose more and more of our physical flesh. But also in the machine itself.
  • Serial Experiments of Lain – Discussed a world where you can be so disconnected from a life that alter-egos or handles become alternate personalities roaming the vastness of the net.
  • Akira – Goes without saying. Futuristic Tokyo with bikers, government experiments in a quasi dystopian state.
  • Max Headroom – For as campy as fuck that series was. It also explored the concepts of uploading your consciousness from analog to digital Jilian Mayer style.
  • Robocop – Once again with cybernetics with something that was unique in sci-fi writing of the ’80s which felt a little lost with Cyberpunk 2077 which is you can still have humor no matter how dark of a subject you’re talking about. “I’ll buy that for a dollar!”
  • The Matrix – Not much needed to be said about this. But yeah, this is the very definition of “net-running”.
  • Johnny Nemonic – Another campy film! Hacking your own brain with a dolphin is… SOMETHING!
  • Blade Runner – This is almost the Godfather of Cyberpunk. But also a brilliant type of sci-fi because it incorporates scientific fact about psychopathy within a science-fiction based universe.
  • THX1138 – When corporate control goes completely insane.
  • Gattaca – Again a different approach on corpo life and the systemic problems of it.
  • Equilibruim – This takes the approach of the world falling down Cyberpunk style but an isolated city finding a way out by just turning people into emotionless machines.
  • Mad Max – Now this is a Sci-Fi that throws the middle finger at the Deus Ex Machina scenario. There is no giant AI God. There is not even a higher being. Just humans being animals. Aspects of this can be considered Cyberpunk out of respect of the Nomad tribes.

What about the games? Well:

  • System Shock 1 & 2 – Multiplayer, can accomplish the same task in different ways.  Can play mini-games within the game itself. and was somehow more feature-rich in terms of game mechanics than CyberPunk 2077.
  • Deus Ex (All of them)  Go ahead and just pick one. Even the very first Unreal Engine game. They’re all appropriately CyberPunk.
  • Saint Row (3 being the best in our opinion) They talked about net-running as well. This game is also self-aware and knew how to use humor properly. It was a game like GTA with mindless killing but still fun regardless!

There’s many more we could name but you get the point. Cyberpunk is a genre that isn’t limited to just a roleplaying module. It’s been told by multiple people.

Cyberpunk into the RL.

To us, without giving away any spoilers of the storyline of Cyberpunk 2077 is good. However, it felt dated in its concepts and future predictions. That we know corporations are taking over everything. We are already being told what to do by governments due to a biological pandemic that is COVID-19. We have riots in the streets due to the corruption of the police as they can no longer be trusted to carry out justice or worse still have their hands tied by governments where laws make no sense anymore.

Unlike conventional sci-fi where it predicts and sometimes gives a tell-tale warning of where humanity is headed into the future. We should’ve approached this from an alternate timeline sci-fi-like Fallout series where our future and their future split somewhere in the 80’s.

Cyberpunk in RL becomes more prevalent when the media and entertainment industry wants to press felony charges on people who ‘illegally’ stream data to other people on the net.  Where the rights of everyone in America are being sold off one $600 stimulus check at a time. To which people who stream illegal content are not in the states. they’re in countries that are far out of reach from America. So if it’s not designed to stop them. Who is it going to stop? Expect the hammer to be dropped on your favorite streamer.

These same media organizations increase the cost of home entertainment because the silver screen is shut down due to Covid but that’s not going to stop Hollywood! Oh no! The disconnected faction that gives the green light on movie production has to continue making terrible movies with obscene budgets whilst ignoring new talent and new story concepts and in return pass this expense onto streaming services. At the same time lining their pockets with cash from subscription services and insulating themselves from the harsh reality of people suffering massively in their own back yard.

Much like the game itself. It does not matter what decision you choose. Corporations will outlive you on the sheer economical force. They will simply re-write history how they see fit. Indoctrinate you in movies that you don’t need anyone giving the audience the illusion of free will. Isolate you from your friends, family, to make you feel helpless and offer a product that returns only a fraction of the reality you once had.

It is so ingrained into the human psyche that “If something does not make money then why the fuck do it?!?” that sites like ours are alien to many people in the outside world. Why post opinions and articles that help people and not get sweet sweet cash on DoubleClick? To answer that we have this annoying thing called a ‘soul’.  You may not get articles every day from us but at least we’re not going to show you commercials of Tray Parker or some other basketball/football superstar making millions double-dipping his balls in Barbeque sauce for some fast food agency. (For those around when Twitter added aggressive ads and they only had one sponsor you know what we’re talking about)

We’re totally going to kink shame you now and say that’s really messed up! Barbeque sauce is for covering the taste of otherwise terrible quality food. Not for your balls.

We are even quickly approaching a totalitarian world where psychopathy is considered a strength and other mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety are considered forms of weaknesses. With no effort put into helping everyone with their general state of mental health. That if the majority of the population is either self-medicating or taking prescription medication for mental health in order to just cope with society; With only the small minority that is shown on TV is what is considered fine. What really is normality anymore?

Welcome to your dystopian future street samurai. T-pose harder!

Our final analysis.

Is it possible to redeem oneself from the array of bugs out there? Sure. No Man Sky single-handedly proved to the gaming community that if you keep fixing it, making it better, keeping your promises to the community that was broken on the launch date. Not only does the community forgive but you end up with a serge to sell even more copies of your game.

However, this does not feel like a No Mans Sky event. This feels more like a Duke Nukem Forever event. That we waited for years. Teased with CG short films of the world. Star-Power and hype trains. Maybe pump a DLC out after the launch date. and then close up shop moving onto the next genre to cash-cow over. We’re hopeful of being wrong on this as they’ve taken care of their other IP’s like “Witcher.” But you never know!

Even with everything we’ve said. Many hours with this game were enjoyed by ourselves. Perhaps in our own way.

We would like to end this little rant on a happy note. That the graphics and artwork put into this game is amazing. That the music and radio stations are also amazing giving props to a lot of the musical genres that people listened to when storytelling games like this.  Even though there was “Ruth Dzeng” who hosted the TV series in Cyberpunk known as “Info Blast.” But unfortunately, we don’t get the same effect as we would from a “Lazlo Jones” of GTA where he’s a down and out media trying to claw his way back via podcasts and hosting a talk-show talking to the people of the city.

Never the less the music selection is amazing. The graphics are amazing and the story without thinking of the game mechanics or bugs is very good. In fact, the game in the state itself should actually win “Game of the year 2020.” Why? Because a game should represent the year it was made in. 2020 is interesting, engaging, but a hot fucking mess. Cyberpunk? Same.

Until next time. That’s what server said.

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