The name was originally coined by Bruce Bethke as the title to his short story "Cyberpunk." Cyberpunk deals with the advancing of society through technology but with radical changes to our own social order, often creating a sharp distinction between those with access to said technology and those who don't. Cyberpunk usually focus on mega corporations, the companies behind the encroaching technology, hackers, and A.I. (Artificial Intelligence). Cyberpunk stories generally take place on earth instead of in space. Much of the cyberpunk aesthetic takes place in a Dystopian future or near-future, a place where the promises of technological companies never came to fruition for most people only the corporate elite.
Templates for the visual style of cyberpunk include films like Blade Runner (1982), Hackers (1995), Dark City (1998), and The Matrix (1999), and manga/anime like Akira (1982), Megazone 23 (1985), Ghost in the Shell (1989), and Neon Genesis Evangelion (1995). The author William Gibson's novel, Neuromancer (1984), is thought by many to be the defining cyberpunk novel, putting in place many of the genre's defining characteristics, such as hackers, mega corporations, techno-orientalist iconography, and near-future technology.
A traditional cyberpunk setting is usually set on Earth in the near future. The governments usually are portrayed as encroaching on peoples' lives, but at the top of the power structure is the corporations, who are really the ones calling the shots. Hackers and petty criminals are usually the heroes, living on the fringes of the law, but often at the cutting edge of technology.
Some popular cyberpunk video games include Snatcher, Final Fantasy VII, and Deus Ex. Cyberpunk elements have also permeated into games like the Metal Gear Solid series, Bioshock, and Steins Gate; games such as these have been referred to as post-cyberpunk, especially Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty.
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