Cyberpunk describes a genre of video games that typically occur in a post-apocalyptic environment wherein there is a divide between humanity and technology with the former’s increasing dependence on the latter being a central source of tension in most cyberpunk video games.
Other ancillary features typically found in this genre of video game include mega-corporations or companies that are so large and powerful that their reach is equivalent to that of a nation-state as well as cyber enhancements, augmentations, robots, and clones.
Common though not a necessity to be deemed cyberpunk is the presence of a mega-city as well as various and distinct class strata. Games in this genre include everything from Konami’s adventure classic from the MSX Snatcher, to their later work Metal Gear Solid, both of which were developed by video game development wunderkind Hideo Kojima.
Like other media that falls under the cyberpunk banner, most video games of this ilk are also inspired by the seminal film Blade Runner by Ridley Scott, itself a movie adaptation of science fiction author Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, as well as William Gibson’s Neuromancer.
Narrative themes in this genre include identity, the nature of being, what constitutes life, and the condition of the human person in a society of mass consumerism and diminished personal worth. Narrative scopes in cyberpunk can be large, world-ending tales or localized, idiosyncratic narratives about a person’s place in the world.
Both are quite common with the former being the more action-oriented type, as seen in Metal Gear Solid, and the latter being more akin to the Shadowrun series.