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Cyberpunk 2020: Chromebook 1

Chromebook 1

Right from the outset, the concept that being a cyberpunk is not just about what you do but the style in which you do it was presented, and to reinforce the idea, this book launched a series of Chromebooks which talked about the inevitable equipment characters might wish to buy in terms of how stylish they are... well, assuming you like lots of gleaming chrome, anyway!

We begin with Electronics and Miscellaneous Techware, quite a wide array of items. It's all presented as if 'Chromebook' was a lifestyle magazine, with chatty comments about each of the items on offer. Most are illustrated as well. This is one area where real-world technology has surpassed the authors' imaginations. Do I need a whole Advanced Communications Suitcase to keep in touch on the move? My laptop (with the help of on-train wifi) does just fine; nor do I need a specialised Cab Hailer when a phone with the Uber app will do the job, and plenty more besides. But it's easy to mock in 2019... for 1991 these were wonderfully imaginative devices! There are plenty more in similar vein to part your 'punks from their eurobucks, just to have the latest and best gadget!

Next up is a collection of vehicles - cars, bikes, a pedicab (bicycle rickshaw), riot vehicles and armoured ambulances... even helicopters and more. That's followed by Cyberware. Far more options than in the core rulebook. Cyberhands with interchangeable digits. Modifications to internal organs. Needless to say, there's also a Weapons section. Handguns, shotguns, rifles... even an EMP grenade. ANd then there's a point-defence system, pop-up turrets to defend your residence or place of business. If you want to go mediaeval you can get metal plate armour and swords instead.

Then there's a Fashion section. Possibly the first such in a role-playing game. You don't have to look smart to be good at what you do, but a true 'punk makes that extra effort to look cool on the job. The various lines depicted here include armoured coats as well as catwalk-ready fashion ensembles. Once dressed to kill, we move on to Executive Services. This section includes housing management (they'll even walk your dog or organise your groceries), courier services, caterers, party organisers and people who check that your place isn't under surveillance. And, ahem, companionship. There's even a company that will train you to be elegant and sylish, if it doesn't come naturally!

After a dizzying collection of Chipware, we then look at Housing. Starting with the basics provided by an Arasaka Sleep Facility (pretty much a coffin hotel), there are compact but cookie-cutter stylish corporate apartments where your seniority is measured by the floorspace, penthouses, studios and more. If you prefer to be on the move, get an RV. Finally there's a selection of Software, with a full price list for the whole book to round things off.

Give some substance to your style with plenty of items that, now you've read about them, rapidly become essential.

Return to Chromebook 1 page.

Reviewed: 12 March 2019