Technology has advanced to the level where electronic alternate worlds can actually be created and entered by humans. The first such world created was originally supposed to be based on the electronic world from the movie Tron, but due to legal complications with the Disney Corporation the developers decided to base it instead on a B-grade ripoff film called Cybernetrix. Although the movie was a failure, the electronic world of Cybernetrix has become so popular that it has changed our culture forever.
There is only one problem: the Cybernetrix world and the real world seem to be slowly bleeding together into one reality.
Carlton Mellick III's Cybernetrix is a bizarro satire set in a future world where '80s fads never went out of style, where society has completely lost interest in art and creativity, where reality is so damned boring that fantasy is the only thing left worth living for.
This work provides examples of:
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: The NPC programming in Cybernetrix is so advanced and so realistic that the many NPCs created to run the game became sentient, rebelled against their meat-space overlords, took over the bodies and the world along with it.
- Anti-Escapism Aesop: A rare downer example. Due to the cultural stagnation everyone is suffering from, the only escape anyone has is through the virtual world Cybernetrix. In the attempt at creating a perfect world through a virtual game, the NPCs become sentient and hack the game, turning the virtual world into a prison where the gamers are slaves to the programs. The NPCs take control of their bodies and invade the real world and make necessary changes for the better.
- The Bad Guy Wins: The NPCs take possession of the gamers and launch a successful invasion on the real world.
- Brainwashed: Subverted. Viva23 is able to "reprogram" Wesely bit by bit during sex.
- Capitalism Is Bad: Culture itself has lost its soul, corporations have recycled the same movie series over and over again literally for decades, gaming consoles have not changed, Wesley's boss is a hypocritical incompetent that spends all of his time in Cybernetrix, etc. Pick a reason.
- Cassette Futurism: Takes place in a world where The '80s never ended, for better or for worse. Old Atari consoles are still in use, people ride around in DeLoreans and Ghostbusters has had at least seven sequels, the most recent having a buddy-cop Bromance between Ray and Slimer.
- Cyberpunk: Is Capitalism Bad? Yes. Is A.I. a Crapshoot? Si. Does it have an intentional 80's aesthetic? Trick question; of course it does.
- Cyberspace: Cybernetrix is a virtual reality world where you can transmit your consciousness into, being the most technologically advanced thing in the world.
- Fictional Video Game: Cybernetrix is a VR game that become the most popular thing in the world, people considering it so exciting that people spend most of their lives on it because Real Life has become an exercise in futility.
- Good Colors, Evil Colors: Averted, as it only applies within the Cybernetrix game story. Violet is good, green is bad and Omegas are bright orange.
- Made a Slave: When the programs revolt, all gamers within Cybernetrix are either imprisoned while their bodies are used as vessels for the programs or permanently derezzed.
- Real Life: Reality's culture and society have become so boring and stagnant that it is understandable why Cybernetrix is so popular.
- Robosexual: Wesley ends up falling in love with Xiva23, a strange thing to do seeing as how Xiva23 is an AI program. Subverted when it was revealed to be a test run by the more advanced programs in order for humans and programs to coexist in the new world order.
- Servant Race: The various NCP programs found within Cybernetrix were created to play games for the player, that is until they revolt and enslave humanity.
- Southern-Fried Genius: Don Conway (sort of)
- Spiritual Antithesis: To Ready Player One. In Ernest Cline's novel, the OASIS is a virtual world rooted in '80s nostalgia that people have embraced as a vibrant alternative to the bleak and dull prospects of the real world. Here, it's the real world where the '80s never went out of style, such nostalgia is portrayed as being a sign of the cultural rut that society has fallen into, and the world of Cybernetrix is popular because it eschews all of that in favor of a bold vision of the future.
- Tron Lines: A common visual aesthetic to the Cybernetrix world.