Weapons in Cyberpunk

There are basically two approaches to weaponry in Cyberpunk.  Roleplaying games like Cyberpunk, Shadowrun, and the now defunct CyberSpace tend to picture a world like a Quake Deathmatch than anything that could possibly be sustained in a real world existence.  Guns (including military automatic weapons), armour, cyborg limbs, weapon implants, psychopaths, boostergangs, killing and looting everywhere.  There are heaps of sites which have specs for various weapons and stuff.

The more restrained universes of Cyberpunk literatureGibson, Stephenson, and Sterling feature weapons much more sparingly.  Often the weapons are surprisingly low tech, sometimes even jury-rigged (like Raven's external link glass daggers in Snowcrash, Gibson's spring-loaded "cobra" in Neuromancer, or the pop-down lasers in the bar in Hardwired).   There is a real air of authenticity about this; a world more like today where weapons exist but are not omnipresent.  This makes for good writing but dull roleplaying; roleplaying, essentially a fantasy activity, requires that characters are at risk of their lives in every session.  It would be intersting to see a roleplaying or computer game that was more like real-life, if one could ever be developed and marketed.

Having said this there are still examples of Cyberpunk literature - e.g. Jack Womack's Ambient - that are very much along the lines of Cyberpunk - as well as pulp paperbacks set in the Cyberpunk and Shadowrun universes.  None of these ultra-violent works of literature really jump out and grab you.

web pagegraphicsNew Weapons with Pics - stat tables plus nice graphics - fpr CP 2020 universe

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text by M.Alan Kazlev
page uploaded 24 August 1999, last modified 1 June 2003