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The Mass Media represents all entertainment or news that is found in the world of Cyberpunk.

The Rocker Movement[]

TV and Radio[]

No longer as pervasive a force in the Age of the Red as it once was, broadcast has returned to its roots as a locally based form of entertainment. Far fewer channels and stations crowd the airwaves, and most are subscriber services, limited to a single city or to small audiences of cities within a few hundred miles of each other. If you don't pay the bill, you don't get the codes to descramble the signal. Programming runs across a range of interests, including sports, news, music/music videos, old movies, new movies, foreign shows, religious programming, debate, erotic/adult programming, business news, and weather. In addition, there are still many single band pirate radio stations scattered throughout the post–War world.[1]

Motion pictures, television, and plays[]

Motion pictures, television, and plays were used as a means of entertainment and propaganda.

Motion pictures[]

Television[]

  • America's Most Violent Home Videos: Physical comedy at its most grotesque. Everything from "gangers play with C4" to "beaverkid with a nail gun".[4]
  • Body Count: Part game show, part news program. Contestants guessed the number of gang-related homicides that took place in Night City the previous evening. The answers were revealed via news clips.[5]
  • Combat Cabb: Based on the film based on the novel based on the real Combat Cabb company in Night City Combat Cabb was part sitcom, part action, and a fan favorite that spent years on the air.[3]
    • Combat Cabb Classic (13 seasons)[6]
    • Combat Cabb: the Next Generation[6]
  • Firebase Coyote: A rather daring drama taking place during the SouthAm Wars. It made it 800 episodes before ending with the Long Walk, as thousands were abandoned by the US government instead of being brought home.[4]
  • Hogg County, TX: A sitcom about stereotypical yokels living in a rural county in the Free State of Texas. Over time it became surprisingly romantic as a relationship developed between their two male lead characters.[2]
  • Night with the Trauma Team: Medias embedded with Trauma Team units showed the glory and the gore of the world's premiere medical service. Heavily edited to polish Trauma Team's image.[7]
  • Skin Game: A blending of pornography and game show as contestants were dared to live out sexual fantasies (both their own and those of the audience) live on holographic camera for cash and prizes.[8]
  • Talsorian Rex: The animated adventures of the most lovable mascot of all time, told as they gobbled their way through the world of Jurassic City.[8]
  • That Crazy Guy!: The comedy life of a couple of guys living in an apartment with their adorable cyberpsycho roommate, Chris. Actual members of MAX-TAC squads made small guest appearances.[7]
  • The Board: High drama about a fictional Megacorp board engaged in low-key corporate warfare. Real Megacorps paid sponsorship fees to be portrayed positively on the show.[9]
  • Tom & Gold (T&G): The line between reality-driven entertainment and situational comedy blurs in the award-winning hit of 2044! When PopMedia sensation Gold leaves the Corporate-driven music world and returns to her roots in the Night City slum she grew up in, she befriends 4th Corp War combat vet and hardware store manager Tom. Together with an AI-driven car named T1G3R, they'll discover what it means to really live in a world where everyone else is just trying to survive. Sponsored by Zhirafa.[6]
  • Watson Whore
  • You Decide!: A series of different daytime programs ranging from "real" court cases to soap operas. The script changed depending on how the home audience votes in real time.[9]
  • Young Elvis: The use of a sophisticated AI personality model, CGI, and pornographic sex scenes pushed this program about the early life of the King to the top of the ratings every week.[5]

Television channels[]

Network Programming[]

In the Euro and Asian theaters, most programming is still state–controlled; the BBC in Great Britain, and NGK TV in Japan, for example. Before the 4th Corporate War, three privately owned entertainment networks dominated the media landscape of the United States: New Century Broadcasting (NCB), World Broadcasting Network (WBN), and Network News 54. These networks were the broadcast divisions of three massive entertainment conglomerates, each producing data chips, games, streaming content, videos, movies, and books for the masses. Their product was bland, mindless, and catered to the lowest possible denominator. With the collapse of the NET, however, getting consistent network–produced content from station to station has proved nearly impossible. As a result, radio and television face fierce competition from new entertainment forms being shared via the PopMedia and the Data Pool.[1]

Sat Feeds[]

There are still a few satellite feeds for those who can afford (and guard) reception dishes, featuring programming from around the world (many of the sat feeds of the late 2020s were casualties of the War). There are also a large number of "pirate" TV stations, operating out of hidden locations and through cable and pirate Highrider satellite patch ups. These are often a major source of news and information untainted by Corporate or government interference.

In addition to the standard high definition flat–screen TV of the pre–War era, experimental (and expensive; up to 10,000,000 eb per set) holographic TV systems are still available if you know the right Fixer.[1]

MediaCorp Media[]

By the mid–2020s, most media in America was controlled by one or more gigantic multimedia Megacorps, such as the ubiquitous Network 54 or its most aggressive rival, DNS. Even news was channeled through a Megacorporate filter, with World News Network (WNS) dominating the airwaves through its 22 channel, 24–7 cycle news programming (heavily laden with subliminals and talking head commentary). The problem was that as the 21st Century wore on, these mighty media megaliths become little more than house organs for their parent Corporations, or mouthpieces for the dominant political party of the time. With a corrupt FCC controlling access to the airwaves, there wasn't much chance that a dissenting voice could break through, so for most of the early Cyberpunk Age, people were resigned to a diet of insipid reality shows, mind–numbing entertainment videos, bad movies, and Corp–sponsored sports shows.[1]

Print[]

Periodicals[]

  • Have to Know: A news magazine which used investigative journalism techniques to build public distrust of individuals and small organizations opposed to Megacorps. The news was real, but heavily spun.[3]

Books[]

  • I Was There - C.J. O'Reilly[10]
  • Near Orbit - Puddleforge and Olam[10]
  • Night City Travel Guide (2020 edition) - Fax on File™[10]
  • Rache Bartmoss' Guide to the Net - Rache Bartmoss[10]
  • The Enforcer's Handbook - Morgan Blackhand[10]
  • Combat Cabb<ref name="CDF282">

The War[]

Then came the 4th Corporate War and the DataKrash. The MediaCorps were the hardest hit by these events, since they depended on the NET's instantaneous communication and access to huge TV/radio transmitters to broadcast their programming. But as established media outlets fell apart, new ways to disseminate information and programming arose to fill the gap. And the main format to make the cut was PopMedia.

PopMedia is entertainment and news programming created by independent producers instead of huge MediaCorps. Combining audio, data, and visual images in a short and easy to consume format, PopMedia provides much of the Time of the Red's programming (as well as an ungodly amount of trash). Most PopMedia comes from five main sources; New MediaCorps, Rockers, Idols, Independents, and Medias.[1]

New MediaCorps[]

In the Age of the Red, a New MediaCorp can be a as big as a multi–city operation, or as small as a few talented artists, techs and producers working to get content out.[1]

Rockers and Idols[]

Rockers are usually performers or agitators who operate without the support of a new MediaCorp. They provide performance "shows", combining concert footage, music tracks with visuals, personal observations, and even braindance experiences. Idols are similar to Rockers, but their programming also mixes in formatting similar to the old–style "reality" show of the 2000s — it's all about them.[1]

Idols are usually entertainers manufactured and marketed for image, attractiveness, and personality in Japanese pop culture. Idols are primarily singers, but they are also trained in other roles, such as acting, dancing, and modeling. Unlike other celebrities, idols are commercialized through merchandise and endorsements by talent agencies while maintaining a strong emotional connection with a passionate consumer fan base. Idols can also be a mix between rockers, with rebelling against the oppressive system.

Independents and Medias[]

Independents and Medias produce news, real life gossip, vid/braindance shows, investigative reporting, and commentary on current events. They also create "talk" shows as well as documentaries and informational programming.[1]

The Data Pool[]

Main article: Data Pool

What makes PopMedia possible is the Data Pool; a Citywide LAN network that links the Red world together in lieu of the old NET. Each City has its own version of a Data Pool, requiring the user to set up their own account in order to log on and use its facilities. Data Pools are also limited; their LAN structure, a requirement in a world where rampant NET sabotage is the rule, is a fully hardwired system and just doesn't have the same flexibility as the old, satellite supported NET.

Since the Data Pool is an open–ended database, anyone can easily drop new PopMedia programming into it, with new entries easily found by Agent search functions. Getting a new PopMedia download is as easy as clicking a link—and once you've loaded it into your Agent once, it'll keep downloading that program or similar ones until you say stop. PopMedia is also flexible and viral; since the Data Pool has integrated feedback, this means that it can track how many times a program is accessed and react accordingly. A PopMedia program may start out only occupying one time slot, but as subscribers mount and word gets around, it may end up dominating a huge percentage of the overall possible bandwidth. This also means that competing shows often find themselves battling for bandwidth; that means small outfits go toe to toe (and gun to gun) with the MediaCorps, new and old.[1]

Braindance[]

Main article: Braindance

An offshoot of the same neural interface technology that spawned the cyberware revolution, braindance is considered by many to be the purest form of entertainment around. A braindance box consists of a memory chip playback unit and a cable that can stud into an interface plug or convert to surface trodes. It plays chips which contain recorded experiences—not just visual and auditory sensations, but complete emotional and tactile information as well. Braindance chips let you feel what the performer was feeling at the time. As with most tech, braindance is a double–edged sword; it's been used to pacify prisoners almost as much as it has been used to entertain the masses. In the 2010s, it looked as if braindance technology was to be the next great step in entertainment. However, psychological addiction and the expense of producing quality brain dance chips has made this format less popular. In the Age of the Red, braindance is an occasional luxury for most and a dangerous obsession for a select few addicts.[1]

References[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 PONDSMITH, M. "Cyberpunk Red Jumpstart Kit World Book". R. Talsorian Games, 2019
  2. 2.0 2.1 Countdown to the Dark Future #281
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Countdown to the Dark Future #282
  4. 4.0 4.1 Countdown to the Dark Future #285
  5. 5.0 5.1 Countdown to the Dark Future #280
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 PONDSMITH, M. Cyberpunk RED Corebook. 1st ed., Kenmore, WA, R. Talsorian Games, 2020. (p. 26)
  7. 7.0 7.1 Countdown to the Dark Future #286
  8. 8.0 8.1 Countdown to the Dark Future #284
  9. 9.0 9.1 Countdown to the Dark Future #283
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 PONDSMITH, M. Cyberpunk RED Corebook. 1st ed., Kenmore, WA, R. Talsorian Games, 2020. (p. 166)
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