The GITS SAC Journey Part 1 – by Sara Rael

Ghost in the Shell has been around in one form or another since 1989 and known as known in Japan as Mobile Armored Riot Police The most impressive part of which is the first two Stand Alone Complex Series that has tormented our imaginations of a cyber brain future. In this article I’m gonna focus in on these two “GIG’s” and why I cannot take the GITS Universe seriously post the live action movie and atrocious animation produced by Netflix.

Stand Alone Complex, in the series, is a form of copycat behaviour when the originator only exists by rumour or urban legend. That behaviour, such as a particular form of cyberbrain crime, is copied and copied until the first copycat is seen as the originator.

(Note for this article we are just focusing on the GITS SAC series but there is so much more to this world from the Manga, to Arise, the the shorts/ specials/ OVA’s, to the films… and does include spoilers as well as opinions. I’ve never watched the series in English and never intend to. Other GITS SAC purists will hopefully understand).

There is something about this series isn’t there? Whether it be the way the Major sucks you in to her rich e-sexual complex cyberpunk and cybernetic dystopia, or it be the sweet Russian voice of Origa, or the shenanigans of the Tachikoma… one thing people often overlook is the fact that she is a cop (with her tight lip-licking swimsuit and yoga pants), who brings down cyber-criminals or other cyberpunks like you and me, and apart from her outward and often distracting appearance, she is a military woman through and through carrying out missions that would lesser cops lying dead in the back streets of a burnt out Neo Tokyo.

Japan at this point is a superpower, much more so than the former United States, and with that power comes the responsibilities of Section 9, a secret organisation that almost everyone in law enforcement knows about, and the missions that are too difficult for anyone else take on.

Major Motoko Kusanagi herself is highly intelligent, creative, snarky and funny, attributes that seem to have been missed in the live action film. As much as her other skills allow, she uses her sexual prowess to gain favour of men where in the future she still lives in a very misogynistic Japan, although she is superior in almost every way, her ability to fit in to this society is yet another skill, while behind closed doors she prefers the company of her female sexual partners, no doubt a brave yet subtle route to take for a popular Japanese Anime. Most of the men who follow her in Section 9, simply just know not to fuck with her, unfortunately most others just don’t seem to be all that intelligent. Until we come to the Stand Alone Complex actors who still leave a digital footprint for her team to follow.

One of my favourite moments of the series is when Motoko joins in to meet hackers in a virtual environment all trying to solve the case of the Laughing Man, it’s a great indicator of what a group of hackers might look like now in a virtual environment (Though of course at the time of the anime the technology was nowhere near this level).

To be continued in part 2 desu.

Beyond Memory (Extended Version) – By Sara Rael

While writing the first novel for Machete Girl this is the track I’ve listened to the most. We all have our own versions of what Cyberpunk Music is to ourselves. I guess this track and indeed the album “Sleepwalking” has helped me shape the characters I’ve been writing.

Beyond Memory has a unique blend of 80’s charm with neon lit dark corners and is not an easily forgettable track for those who are into synthwave, edm or most other types of ongaku.

I feel like NINA transports us into a unique digital world, like the universe of TRON or the more melancholy parts of the matrix. For myself NINA’s music perfectly expresses the journey of Chloe Raynor in Machete Girl, World of Shattered Dreams. Complimenting Chloe’s own existentialism of the virtual, accessed by nanomites or invasive trodes.

The video-clip shot for NINA could easily be mistaken for a karaoke replacement for a song, but i think that only enhances its charm. We cyberpunks who live on the edge of night, barely escaping the influence of the neon glow can appreciate the drunken moments after a successful hack, celebrating with “near friends”over a bottle of sake and a bit of over the top karaoke in the underground.

Albeit not the extended version:

NINA’s latest album Synthian, expands your mind deeper into the 80’s trode and I must confess that she is no one hit wonder. I have demonstrated my loyalty by purchasing both deluxe albums via bandcamp for 12 pound each. Something about it reminds me of saving up for the music I truly wanted to buy at the record store on cassette tape.

All I need to do now is convert my raspberry pi into some lame ass portable game and my nostalgia will be complete.

You need to pay attention to NINA, although I’m already so impressed by her, I feel her best work is yet to come. What ever way you look at it, NINA has a lot of 80’s neon heart.

Check here out here: https://ninasounduk.bandcamp.com/

cyberpunkdreams Exclusive beta test review – by Sara Rael

In the early to mid 2000’s there were a few text based cyberpunk RPG browser games hitting the internet and one in particular which I remember was quite brutal, where you’d ride your bike into the city, starting gang wars, hacking and taking copious amounts of drugs to survive the hellish dystopia. The downside was that the browser based mechanics of the game never worked too well and there was a lot of repetitive action. And then all those games just seemed to disappear in favour of more FPS.

But now there’s a much better game with a much better platform on steam…

Enter cyberpunkdreams from “Late Night Games” a start-up games studio based in Cambridge, UK. With a whole new cyberpunk text based RPG in a futuristic dystopian border-town on the edges of Cincinnati in the 2090’s and this one has got me hella excited. With the main game currently in beta-testing phase, which you can still sign up for via: https://cyberpunkdreams.com/, there’s also an aggressive board game in the works called “City Streets” set in the cyberpunkdreams Universe as well as a book called “Cincinnati Stories”- by Rob Chant, and some cool merch up for grabs as well!

Currently there’s a discord channel with info on the beta as well as some detailed game mechanics and if you manage to get into the beta, i highly recommend you check that out first. I’m kind of a fuck-it-i’ll-read-the-instructions-later-type-gal and i have regretted it, but i was just so darn excited to see a game of this nature again so i went straight into fighting, drinking, fucking, taking drugs and trying to steal shit with very little luck. One of the coolest aspects in the start is you can choose your gender or choose not to say which was just rad for someone like me if you are familiar with my history.

I’m still at a stage where i’m trying to figure out how to keep my psychosis and physical injury levels down, but one of the tips i received in playing the game is to try and get away with some of the more difficult tasks in game and the game encourages you to have little regard for others and be as nasty as you want to be.

Finally, a game that embraces the cyberpunk attitude!

There’s a massive amount of work that has gone into story line and while you are getting your levels up you can choose to read the story-line or just be a fuckwit and gungho it. Basically you start off in the border-town and you’ve got to build up your experience and tools and cold hard cash to get yourself deeper into Cincinnati, along the way buying and selling items and opening up more and more aspect of the game. Personally i love flirting, getting into fights and raiding the bodies of murdered couples out in the desert, but that’s just me.

One of the aspects of the game so far that really stands out, apart from the game mechanics and content, is the incredible artwork some of which you can see below:

As the game develops further we will keep you appraised. I’m so impressed with the game so far that we’ve even talked about Machete Girl Magazine potentially becoming an in-game item to buy, which is more incentive for fans of the magazine to get into it.

In the meantime i’m definitely gonna get me some Merch from here: https://cyberpunkdreams.com/shop/

Don’t forget to sign up for the Beta here: https://cyberpunkdreams.com/

rAndom mEmory 1014: – by Liam Legion

I had no business being there. I never should’ve been there, but it was one of my social experiments gone horribly, horribly wrong.

…and so there i was, rocked outta my fucking mind on LSD, MDMA and enough booze to drown a high school football team. Either that dumb bitch was too fucking clueless to know what she was doing or was just diabolical enough to engineer it. I found myself wandering the streets on the far side of midnight, trying to remember where in the hell the liquor store was located.

Given the chemical composition of my brain and the sheer amounts of combichrist blaring at inhumane levels in my ears, it’s nothing short of a miracle that i managed to purchase more booze without stabbing anyone or alerting police to my condition.

I remember listening to the birthday massacre while smoking a cigarette and retracing my steps, trying to block out the raging demons that had become my thoughts. Finding her apartment building and praying to whatever arcane gods listening that i’d remember what number to press in the elevator. I can’t recall if anyone else had been in close space with me, but i do hope someday they’ll forgive me.

The moment shattered as i tried not to drown in the surreal ass carpet in the maze of hallways as i wondered why i hadn’t severed my skin to leave a blood trail to help me find my way back… and for all of my efforts? …Naught.

The best i would hope for is falling into oblivion away from her, obsessed with the singular thought: why the fuck am i here?