The quintessential cyberpunk cityscape.
Image: Warner Bros.

The visual language of cyberpunk was invented in the late ‘70s. And a lot of it just doesn’t work anymore.

In a new video essay centered on Altered Carbon, Blade Runner, and the history of cyberpunk, YouTuber Just Write discusses why the old-school visual language of cyberpunk—neon, advertisements, the lone pistol-wielding hacker—often falls flat in 2018. Drawing on a light but compelling reading of the social circumstances around cyberpunk, he builds a strong argument that the aesthetics of the genre often just don’t function well apart from that context, and new entries need to develop a new visual language to succeed.

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Where do you think cyberpunk should go in modern work? Do you still get anything out of the old Blade Runner aesthetic. Check out the video, and let me know.