ThePixelatedGenocide wrote:That's a fair point, but isn't computer technology what makes those androids possible? And you can't get the clear multimedia experience of those cities without some computers behind the scenes.
Anything with a screen or a robot (which the Replicants aren't anyway) is cyberpunk now? I didn't bring up Star Wars as a serious example.
ThePixelatedGenocide wrote:Sure, Blade Runner failed to anticipate how radically computers would change our lives, but everything else is there in spades. The dark contrast between state of the art high tech and the lives of those who fall through the cracks. The powerful preying on the vulnerable, through their own pawns.
That's every Charles Dickens novel. This kind of social commentary is part of cyberpunk, but it's also part of centuries of unrelated literature.
ThePixelatedGenocide wrote:The questions of what it means to be human, in a time where it becomes increasingly easy to program an accurate simulation of that humanity.
And a cautionary tale about how easy it is to program actual humanity itself.
The Replicants aren't AIs. They're genetically engineered slaves.
ThePixelatedGenocide wrote:To classify it as anything besides cyberpunk, would be like claiming every historical novel with elements that further research later discredited instantly becomes another genre entirely.
This analogy is broken. Are you saying that when Blade Runner "failed to anticipate" the importance of computer networks, it's like how Moby-Dick has outdated knowledge about whales? But Moby-Dick is about a whale, and Blade Runner is not about a computer network; you're equating an imperfectly realized subject to one that doesn't exist at all. You frame this ostensible failure of anticipation as a point where we should give Blade Runner the benefit of the doubt and allow it to be the cyberpunk masterpiece that it truly is, but the logic applies equally to any work that isn't about computers: "Les Miserables failed to anticipate how radically computers would change our lives, but everything else is there in spades." The word "cyberpunk" becomes too broad to mean anything.
There are two parts to that word, "cyber" and "punk". The first, though etymologically offensive, is shorthand for computer networking. The second indicates opposition to the establishment. It's built on a thematic irony: The elite rule through systems that can be subverted against them by the underclass. The word was invented for the title of a story about teenaged hackers who use their skills to rebel against authority, and it caught on quickly to describe a Neuromancer-led wave of fiction using these themes. Its ethos is clear and definite. Blade Runner has only half of it, and it's the least distinctive part.
This thread, incidentally, is about a game that describes itself with that word. Would it have occurred to the developers to use it if they hadn't made a game involving "ubiquitous newsfeeds, virtual porn, and people downloading their consciousness to a computer"?