Shadowrun/GURPS Cyberpunk soundtrack, circa 1991

When Shadowrun first came out in 1989 or 1990, my gaming group got way into it, at least for a while.  We eventually moved on to using GURPS for almost every setting, but we also flirted with Cyberpunk 2020.  Anyway we were ready for a break from D&D and the fusion of near-future science fiction and punk rock appealed to us.  I used to really dig having appropriate music to the mood for RPGs too, so I made a couple of “mix tapes” for our sessions.  The tracks were a collection of punk rock and “industrial” music, with some heavy metal  — and of course Devo — mixed in.  (In fact my knowledge of industrial music was pretty much restricted Ministry and similar “industrial metal” bands.)

Here’s tape one:

  1. 53rd & 3rd / Ramones
  2. Ace of spades / Motorhead
  3. Judy is a punk / Ramones
  4. Stigmata / Ministry
  5. Blitzkrieg bop / Ramones
  6. Rawhide / Dead Kennedys
  7. Iron fist / Motorhead
  8. Pink pussycat\Mr. DNA / Devo
  9. Motorhead and Somebody put something in my drink / Ramones>
  10. Thieves / Ministry
  11. Chainsaw / Ramones
  12. Emergency / Motorhead
  13. Shortest straw / Metallica
  14. Gimme gimme shock treatment / Ramones
  15. Moral Majority\Hyeractive child\Kepone factory\Dog bite / Dead Kennedys
  16. Test / Ministry
  17. Chemical warfare / DK
  18. White riot / The Clash
  19. Friendly fascism / Consolidated
  20. Let’s lynch the landlord / DK
  21. Clampdown / The Clash
  22. Warthog / Ramones
  23. Orlock,” a song that was the mirror image of another of their songs, so that the chorus had “Yo yo” instead of “Oi oi!”
  24. When? / Bad Religion
  25. Drug me / DK
  26. Stoned / Consolidated
  27. Give you nothing / Bad Religion
  28. Drug raid at 4AM / Lard
  29. Your emotions / DK
  30. You know what you are / Ministry
  31. Kill the poor / DK

I guess you can see I was really into the Ramones, the Dead Kennedys, and Motorhead then.

The second tape was from the following year and was a little more diverse, as I’d discovered “alternative music” and the game Underground, which carried all the cyberpunk themes to their most extreme and humorous conclusions — rather like the novel Snow crash —  :

  1. Unacceptable / Bad Religion
  2. Kill yourself / S.O.D.
  3. Burning inside / Ministry
  4. Give it / Helmet
  5. Bomber / Motorhead
  6. Rambozo the clown / DK
  7. Jerry was a racecar driver / Primus
  8. Bodies / Sex Pistols
  9. Territorial pissings / Nirvana
  10. Mate, spawn, & die / Lard
  11. 502 / Megadeth
  12. Family man / Red Shift <my college roommate’s band>
  13. That’s progress / Jello Biafra & DOA
  14. Unsung / Helmet
  15. Gimme gimme gimme / Black Flag
  16. Jesus built my hotrod / Ministry
  17. Beers, steers, & queers / Revolting Cocks
  18. Negative creep / Nirvana
  19. I’m so bad (baby I don’t care) / Motorhead
  20. God save the queen / Sex Pistols
  21. Tommy the cat / Primus
  22. Positive aspect of negative thinking / Bad Religion
  23. I executioner / M.O.D.
  24. The end of the world / Dag Nasty
  25. TVII / Ministry
  26. Holiday in Cambodia / DK
  27. I’m a boinger / Billy & the Boingers
  28. Trashed / Black Sabbath
  29. California sun\I don’t wanna walk around with you / Ramones

Looking back on both collections, I guess my selection process amounted to: does this song have a pessimistic outlook? Are there mechanical/industrial sound effects in it? Is it just odd?  Is it heavy?  Answering yes to two or more questions must have been enough.

I unearthed these two tapes recently (and many others from my college days) and have been listening to them a lot on my commute.

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Published in: on August 29, 2011 at 6:00 am  Comments (3)  
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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I used to make mix-tapes like this for my CP2020 sessions too. Nowadays, though, I think I’d play up the whole “early 80s” angle more. I actually think OMD are sort of the quintessential band for a cyberpunk game soundtrack. Also Scary Monsters era David Bowie, early New Order and Joy Division, The Human League, that sort of thing.

  2. That was great fun. I loved those tapes.

  3. I’ve never experienced gaming with a soundtrack like that but sounds interesting.

    Anytime we can find stuff that recalls the fun times of the past is always good in my book though!

    Way off topic but I found myself talking about old Vic20 and Commodore128 computers with a couple of guys while I was in North Carolina last week. It was a nice brief trip down memory lane as well.

    Looking forward to gaming this week so hoping we are still on!


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