GenCon 05 Cyberpunk 2020, V3 Costume Project

Fall 2004

We've been waiting for RTalsorian's Cyberpunk 2020, version 3 for over 5 years now. I stopped holding my breath a long time ago. There have been a lot of teasers out lately, and it finally looks like we might see the new rules set this summer. In anticipation of this we're planning Cyberpunk costumes for GenCon 05. Our Wild West outfits were such a hit last year, we've decided to do a costume crawl again.


Cyberpunk 2020, for those of you who don't know, is an adventure role-playing game set in the near future. Governments have collapsed, society has become semi-lawless, and unregulated megacorporations run amok, polluting the environment and exploiting a labor pool of helpless workers. It's a generally dark, unpleasant world to be in. On the positive side, cybernetic biological enhancement is a part of everyday life. Instead of carrying a laptop or a MP3 player, you have one implanted in your body. Internet kiosks stand on every street corner and you can access it by plugging the jack into the side of your head. Recent movies set in a Cyberpunk work include The Matrix, Minority Report, and Johnny Mnemonic. You might also have seen Blade Runner and Robocop.

Cyberpunk fashion in the RPG world set forth by RTalsorian is a mix of street punk, 80's glam-rock style, and most importantly cybernetics. People replace their real eyes with designer bionic eyes, their real arms with robotic arms that have computers or guns built into them. Bodysculpting (extreme plastic surgery) is not unusual, some people even have themselves made over with exotic hair or skin tones, even animal features like tiger or zebra stripes. Attitude is everything. It's not how good you are, it's how good you look doing it.

The internet is a rich source of ideas and artifacts that would make up into 'punk costumes with little or no modification. I just need a plan. A lot of the CP characters I have seen played in the game seem to end up in military surplus clothing, practical black BDU pants and a tactical vest. I've even played characters like that. However, it's not a real attention getting costume unless you're looking to be interviewed by Homeland Security. I want something cool, and uniquely Cyberpunk.

When I played CP 2020, this image by David Dorman was one I used for my character, an ex-military street surgeon. (Remember the guy in Minority Report who replaces Tom Cruise's eyeballs?)

She's wearing a white sleeveless top, a shoulder holster, shiny black pants (PVC or vinyl) and has a belt loaded with lots of sharp pointy toys. And let's not forget the tattoos on her upper arms. Still, I feel like I'm not doing much better than a set of BDUs and a leather jacket, so I'll keep looking to see if maybe I can't punk this up a bit.

Here's some fun stuff to look at, designer eyes. There are several places online that sell contact lenses with weird graphics printed on them. Very cool, but the prices are a lot higher than I want to pay for something I'll only use once for a costume.

While poking around on Ebay I find some interesting flashing strobe keychains and other gizmos. I'm not sure what to use them for right now, but there is potential for something interesting. I'll have to keep an eye out on the auctions.

Our friends Paul and Kim are big Cyberpunk 2020 fans, too. Last year at GenCon we even talked Paul into running a game really late one night. His costuming plans at the moment include repainting a SuperSoaker to look a little less summer fun and a lot more lethal. The good thing about using a SuperSoaker is that even repainted it would be hard to mistake it for a real threat at the con, as the last thing we want is to have security on our ass.

My husband thinks the SuperSoaker idea is a good one, and pulls his old gun out of the garage. While poking around on the web he finds a site that gives him ideas. It's a case mod with green fluid circulating through it. He figures it might make a good how-to manual for modifying the supersoakers.

There's a whole lot of punk clothing out there. I love the look of the fetish-wear from one site, particularly the shoulder armor. Really cool. Really expensive. If I was feeling ambitious I might be able to recreate something like this. Hmmn.

We talk about what Jay might like to do for his costume. He wants a cyberarm. We're not sure how to pull that off just yet, but we have boxes of old computer parts in the basement that ought to be good for something.

December 2004

Bought my first piece of costume. We took a weekend and went down and spent some time in Tulsa hanging out with Paul and Kim. While we were there we hit the flea markets, which I just love, and I bought a pair of gold tinted rimless mirrored shades. We also watched Webmaster one night, which is a Danish cyberpunk genre movie. The main character gets a biotech bomb implanted into his chest, which is kinda gross to watch, but all through the movie you see the LED timer ticking down. It gives me ideas. I'm thinking a choker made from LED panels with a digital "countdown" would be very cool. One of the other characters in the movie is a drag queen in flourescent lipstick. Or maybe it's the pervasive club blacklighting. Anyway, I want to find some bright metallic gold lipstick to match my shades.

While doing some last minute holiday shopping I came across a Star Patrol Action Set in a local discount store for only $5. The Space Rifle has some nice molded detail, including some chromed accents. There's a battery operated laser pistol that makes Star Wars noises, too.

January 2005

We went and saw Blade: Trinity last weekend. Ok, it's not a cyberpunk movie, however the semi-punk action hero costuming gave me more ideas. I liked the outfits the lead female, played by Jessica Biel, was wearing in several scenes.

She's wearing red mirrored shades very like the ones I bought, a red tank top under a black lace-up cloth vest, low slung black pants, a punk belt with studs and rings, plus some sort of boot. She's also carrying a bow and wearing two revolvers.

This outfit is similar to the one above, but I like the layered look with the red tank top and the vest better than the white sleeveless top. Most of these items I should be able to locate easily, too.

Meanwhile my husband, Jay, has purchased the LED displays and soldered them onto a small board for my choker necklace.

Have spent some time this week browsing websites looking for ideas. Found lots of cool boots, jackets, and assorted gear that is all way too expensive. The object, as always, will be to produce a wicked cool look on a budget. I found the zip-up vest on the left on Ebay. It's a little more kicked up than the one from Blade, but that's a good thing. I just have to find one in my size that isn't going for full retail. I've found a red one in my size, but I really want the black. I found a black one, but the seller doesn't answer email.

Here's a similar, less expensive vinyl vest that laces. The model looks pretty slutty in this one, which is really not the look I want, but I think I can prevent that with a good bra under the tank top. I found this on Ebay too, and the seller actually says not to email her with questions. With customer service like that, why even bother bidding? (Note: 30 days after this auction ended I saw that the seller had collected 41 negative feedbacks for failing to send items after they were paid for. I can't say I am too surprised. )

There are a lot of cool boots to be had online. Here's a sampling of what we found in the last few days. Left to right starting from the top: a ladies fashion boot that Kim likes. Has that 80's feel. Then a couple of pair of government issue Jackbooted Thug boots which have that military look that Paul is going for. I really like that sharp tread on the second pair. Inset: a silvery fashion boot that suffers only from a 5" heel. You could cripple yourself in those. Center right, a pair of punk goth clubbing boots. Skip your rent or mortgage payment and you could buy these. Maybe. Bottom row, motorcycle boots, for that Mad Max look. And finally, an all time favorite, US military jungle boots. Myself, I'll probably end up with a pair of these in black, simply because they are both practical and affordable, and there's a good chance I will wear them again.

I called a couple of the military surplus shops that are within ten miles of me. One is open 8-4 on weekdays only. The other two close in the early afternoon on Saturday and none of them are open Sundays. So much for supporting the local economy. I wonder how any of these places get enough business from people with jobs to stay open at all. Oh well, the internet is my friend and I will just mail order.

I'm still cruising the web for ideas. I've been searching punk, bondage, biker and goth fashion sites, but they tend to be expensive. I don't mind buying good stuff in general but if I'm only going to wear it once I'm willing to sacrifice quality for cost savings. I cross reference with Ebay quite a bit, because somebody almost always has what I want on auction for less than retail. I've come to the decision that I should spend $100 or less on each of our costumes this year. Some things I might be able to find at thrift shops if I am lucky, but I suspect I will be doing more discount shopping and auctions.

Here's a pair of nice looking studded vinyl fingerless gloves. I've emailled the seller and they were polite enough to answer my sizing questions, so I suspect I will be buying a pair of these very soon. I think the red will be more interesting with the outfit than going with black. Black clothing oozes cool (if it's done right) but color adds zing, and looking good is half of what being 'punk is all about. Too much black on black and it's too easy to lose the details of a costume in one giant dark blob.

I think I need to make a list of what I want. Then I can keep track of everything.

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