So the first thing you’re going to notice is the unusual appearance of the comic. Va11 Hall-A, the game these two comics discuss, is heavily influenced by a specific era of late 90s Japanese PC adventure games. You can even turn on a simulation of scanlines in the option menu, to more closely emulate the old CRT monitors these games ran on.
(Do not fullscreen the game and turn on scanlines at the same time or the scanlines break. I just wanted you to know.)
So in addition to putting a washed-out color filter on the characters, I added scanlines to the comic. It’s just a stock “scanlines in MAME” image overlay, though I took quite some time fussing with how to actually do it in Comipo. After cut-pasting fifty or so lines I realized I was an idiot, it wasn’t going to look good, and that I should just go premade.
Scanlines are a point of debate; I know when I first saw people overlaying them on retro games I thought “well, that’s silly.” However, there’s no question that the pixel-perfect look is not actually how we saw these games back in the 80s and 90s. A lot of sprite art was specifically intended to be seen this way, and in a few games the technical wizards involved were able to achieve unique graphics tricks _for_ scanlines. For old games, your old CRT often completes the illusion that the pixel art begins.
Personally, I play my 3DS Gunstar Heroes and Sonic 2 in the “curved CRT” mode… and like it. I’d like to get a spare old CRT to plug my Duo and so on into. Maybe one day when I’m not broke~
Anyway, the second panel flippantly sums up cyberpunk. I don’t think you really have cyberpunk without a pretty skyline and ennui. Ennui means “kanashii, but it’s cool.”
Va11 Hall-A takes place in a cyberpunk dystopia itself; the world is kind of casually hopeless and you are not its savior. Everybody is just getting by, and at the end of the night they’re dropping by the bar for therapy. The player does what they can for these people.
The devs are from Venezuela, where things really are pretty bad (government-imposed blackouts regularly set development back), and while it almost seems wrong to say this… the dystopia they have built rings very true, and it often feels like it comes from real experience.
Everybody says “we’re living in the cyberpunk dystopia now!” and while I think they’re right, I don’t know anybody who has gone all the way into cyberpunk aesthetic. Why not just own it? A friend of mine has been cyberpunk aesthetic all his life, so he’s really enjoying living out this time in history.
At the end the girls become cyberpunk… briefly. This BG is the only “city at night” BG I really have. One way (of many) I stretch the Comipo materials is just zooming in the image so it feels like it’s a different scene.
You can’t see it because you never see a “normal” expression in this comic (hindsight) but the girls’ “going cyberpunk” is indicated by their eyes getting droopy. Like, they’re sad, but it’s cool. Nothing matters that much, man. Cyberpunk.
The followup to this was answering a question on Twitter. For that one you can see that Majide has gone even further into cyberpunk, with TWO pairs of shades! Mj^D was going to be Mj.D but I thought that was too much like D.Va and threw a carat in there instead.
The Mega Modem was a Japan-only Mega Drive (Genesis) accessory that gave the system a modest array of online services, including some simple board and card games. Of course, Cyber Interfacer Mj^D takes it as a point of pride that she can hack supercomputers with her MD.