Jeff Pack, Brown University '99 (English 112, 1996)
MicroProse's BloodNet was apparently an attempt to cash in on two trends that had recently come into popularity: the gothic (i.e., the stories of Anne Rice) and the cyberpunk (i.e., Neuromancer). The plot of BloodNet was certainly unique: cyberpunk Ransom Stark, after being hired to do the sort of shady work that cyberspace cowboys do, is bitten by a vampire (a vampire by the name of Van Helsing, no less - Renfield and Dracula also make guest appearances). This situation is further complicated by the fact that Stark has a neural implant which attempts, among other things, to slow the onset of Stark's own vampirism.
BloodNet excels in the creation of a believable setting - there is little clashing between the cyberpunk and the gothic. They just blur into a general sense of noir that is conveyed through graphics - stark (no pun intended) black and white shots overlaid with the bright colors of graffiti or blood. The characters, too, have a distinctive style. While conversation in this game is almost completely automated (the player can't control what Stark says), it's style is highly evocative of Gibson and other cyberpunk writers. It just isn't much of a game; most of the gameplay consists of running errands for other people that have little to do with Stark's predicament - they just earn money or useful items. This game would be far better as a hyperfiction along the lines of Freak Show than as a game.