Interested in the cyberpunk genre but not willing to shell out money to CD Projekt Red for Cyberpunk 2077? Well, the “Be a Better Cyberpunk” bundle on itch.io might be right up your alley.
This collection includes 29 different cyberpunk-style projects for a discounted $80 price point, the same amount of money you would be spending on a new copy of Cyberpunk 2077 for consoles or PC. A “relief edition” of the bundle is also on offer for only $13 for the “economically marginalised,” but curator Nate Kiernan encourages all who can to buy the $80 version in order to support the devs as much as possible.
Cyberpunk 2077 might be at the centre of the gaming industry’s latest hype wave, but its long-awaited release isn’t a cause for celebration for everyone. CD Projekt Red’s apparent issues with trans folks — both in the game and in real life — as well as reports of constant crunch by the development team make the game problematic at best and a “do not buy” at worst.
The alternatives offered by the “Be a Better Cyperpunk” bundle include projects developed by independent, BIPOC, and LGTBQ+ creators. Here are a few standouts from my short time skimming through it:
- Visual Out by madameberry – A glitchy metroidvania set in a dying computer, featuring some of the most unique spritework I’ve seen in a video game.
- The Queer Cyberpunk’s Guide to Tabletop RPGs by Nathan Blades – A zine dedicated to pen-and-pencil cyberpunk role-playing. Includes tips on how to incorporate a mystery in your tabletop cyberpunk game, recommendations on cyberpunk roleplaying systems, and even a couple of simple, one-page RPGs. That’s a lot of cyberpunk!
- nullpointer by prophet goddess – An arcade-y roguelike with impressively retro wireframe graphics and dialup-esque sound effects. I quite like the way the screen loses chunks of its visual display and glitches out as you lose health.
- SUPERSTRUCTURE by Jess Levine – A short story! I love short stories. Unfortunately, I haven’t had much time to dig into this one, but I love that this bundle includes all manner of cyberpunk creations, not just interactive games. I suggest checking out the author’s music as well; it might make for good ambience while reading.
“Be a Better Cyberpunk” may have started as a cool idea on Twitter, but now that it’s been made a reality, I highly recommend everyone wary of Cyberpunk 2077 and its various shortcomings do some digging into the bundle. There’s a lot of neat stuff here, enough to satisfy your cravings for the cyberpunk genre without the added baggage of CD Projekt Red’s involvement, if that happens to be a dealbreaker.
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