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 $60 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 $10 for the “economically marginalized,” but curator Nate Kiernan encourages all who can to buy the $60 version in order to support the devs as much as possible.
Cyberpunk 2077 might be at the center 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.