Android: Netrunner References
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Android: Netrunner, set in Fantasy Flight Games' dystopian Android universe, pits resourceful hackers against powerful mega-corporations. In this not-too-distant-future an elevator has been built from Earth into low orbit, clones and androids blur the definition of humanity, and activity is monitored both online and off. Be it for profit, revenge, or simply boredom the runners of Android break into the digital resources of these corporations and expose their secrets.

Netrunner is heavily influenced by the cyberpunk genre introduced in William Gibson's Sprawl trilogy, yet there are a number of references to other works in the card art and text. In this list we collect as many as we can identify.
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1. Board Game: Android: Netrunner [Average Rating:7.93 Overall Rank:39]
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Melange Mining Corp.

Melange is a reference to the Frank Herbert's Dune series. Also known as "spice," melange is the most valuable substance in the universe and found only on the desert planet Arrakis. The phrase "The spice must flow" is repeated throughout the series of books.

Heinlein, mentioned in the flavor text, is a nod to science fiction author Robert A. Heinlein. The location is featured more prominently in the original Android board game.


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2. Board Game: Android: Netrunner [Average Rating:7.93 Overall Rank:39]
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Yog.0

References Yog-Sothoth; an entity in H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos. In The Dunwich Horror Yog-Sothoth is described as being associated with gates and keys.

H.P. Lovecraft wrote:
Yog-Sothoth knows the gate. Yog-Sothoth is the gate. Yog-Sothoth is the key and guardian of the gate.


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3. Board Game: Android: Netrunner [Average Rating:7.93 Overall Rank:39]
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Magnum Opus

The card art and text refer to the creation of the Philospher's Stone an alchemical substance able to transmute base metals into those of value--typically gold. In Michael Maier's Atalanta Fugiens it is decribed thusly:

Quote:
"Make of a man and woman a circle; then a quadrangle; out of the this a triangle; make again a circle, and you will have the Stone of the Wise. Thus is made the stone, which thou canst not discover, unless you, through diligence, learn to understand this geometrical teaching."




Magnum Opus, or Great Work, was the term used for the search for the Philosopher's Stone or other legendary items.

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4. Board Game: Android: Netrunner [Average Rating:7.93 Overall Rank:39]
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Infiltration

Android: Infiltration is the second board game in the Android universe (Netrunner is the third). The card depicts two of the player characters from that game: Monica Singh and John "Animal" McEvoy. It would appear they are breaking into a Jinteki branch this time.



Gabriel Santiago is also a player character in Android: Infiltration.

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5. Board Game: Android: Netrunner [Average Rating:7.93 Overall Rank:39]
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Armitage Codebusting

Armitage is a character in William Gibsons' cyberpunk novel Neuromancer. "Armitage Software" is also a location in the 2008 Android board game.

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6. Board Game: Android: Netrunner [Average Rating:7.93 Overall Rank:39]
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Ichi 1.0 and Ichi 2.0

Ichi the Killer is a Japanese manga and film about a psychologically disturbed killer.

"The game has changed" is the title of one of the tracks on the soundtrack to Tron: Legacy by Daft Punk, though this may not be a direct reference as it is also a common phrase.

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7. Board Game: Android: Netrunner [Average Rating:7.93 Overall Rank:39]
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Viktor 1.0

"My name is Viktor. Nice to meet you. Would you like to play a game?"

This color text is a reference to the movie Wargames starring Matthew Broderick.

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8. Board Game: Android: Netrunner [Average Rating:7.93 Overall Rank:39]
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Tollbooth

The color text references Catch-22, a book by Joseph Heller.

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9. Board Game: Android: Netrunner [Average Rating:7.93 Overall Rank:39]
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Corporate Troubleshooter

The color text is a reference to Winston Wolf in Pulp Fiction. He solves problems.

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10. Board Game: Android: Netrunner [Average Rating:7.93 Overall Rank:39]
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Weyland Consortium

The mega-corporation that attempts to capture the eponymous alien in the 1979 film Alien is named Weyland-Yutani. Said company bears some similarities to the corporations of the Android universe as it appears to prize profits over the safety of its own employees.

Both are also (likely) references to the legendary blacksmith of Germanic and Norse mythology Wayland the Smith who is also mentioned in Beowulf (see: GRNDL).

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11. Board Game: Android: Netrunner [Average Rating:7.93 Overall Rank:39]
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Archer

Sterling Mallory Archer, the main character of the animated series Archer, has a bit of an obsession with the Kenny Loggins song "Danger Zone."



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12. Board Game: Android: Netrunner [Average Rating:7.93 Overall Rank:39]
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SanSan City Grid

The portmanteau SanSan was introduced by Hermann Kahn and Anthony J. Wiener in a 1967 essay The Year 2000: A Framework for Speculation on the Next Thirty-Three Years. In the essay the authors identified three future North American megalopolises which they name BosWash, ChiPitts, and SanSan. These are areas in which urban sprawl has progressed to such a degree that cities separated by vast distances are integrated distinctly. SanSan was described as the region of the California coast between San Francisco (or Santa Barbara) and San Diego.

In several works of fiction, such as the Sprawl trilogy, this integration has resulted in actual uninterrupted cities that stretch for miles.

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13. Board Game: Android: Netrunner – Fear and Loathing [Average Rating:8.24 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.24 Unranked]
 
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GRNDL: Power Unleashed

Grendel is one of the three antagonists of the epic poem Beowulf. Grendel is typically envisioned as a monstrous creature, and is slain by the protagonist Beowulf.

The bolded letters in the flavor text spell out the name Grendel, though you're likely to hear some players insist on pronouncing it another way.

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14. Board Game: Android: Netrunner – Opening Moves [Average Rating:8.25 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.25 Unranked]
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Gorman Drip v1

The flavor text describes a practice known as salami slicing a practice famously seen in the much-maligned film Superman III and the much better Office Space (in which Superman III was referenced itself). The hacker in Superman III was named August Gorman.

Superman Wiki wrote:
A talented computer hacker, August "Gus" Gorman is unemployed and down on his luck. Finally landing a job at Webscoe Industries by happenstance, he balks at the figure of his first paycheck, which is $143.80½. But, once he'd learned that all of the other ½ cents are left floating around inside the megacorporation's database, Gorman hacked into the company's computer system and funneled them all into his next check, accruing the amount of $85,789.90.


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15. Board Game: Android: Netrunner – Trace Amount [Average Rating:8.17 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.17 Unranked]
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Dyson Memory Chip

Miles Dyson is a character in the film Terminator 2: Judgement Day.

Terminator Wiki wrote:
Dr. Dyson was a cybernetics scientist and a high-ranking employee of Cyberdyne Systems Corporation as Director of Special Projects. He was tasked to create a new neural-net processor from two pieces of unknown-sourced advanced technology. The technology actually came from a ten year old crime scene from another Cyberdyne facility (The Terminator's arm and CPU from the first film).


In a larger version of the card art (posted on the lovely Netrunner Art GeekList) the logo for Cyberdyne Systems is visible on the chip.



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16. Board Game: Android: Netrunner – What Lies Ahead [Average Rating:8.19 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.19 Unranked]
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Whizzard: Master Gamer

Whizzard is the online handle of Kevin Wilson, the designer of the original Android board game.

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17. Board Game: Android: Netrunner – What Lies Ahead [Average Rating:8.19 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.19 Unranked]
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ZU.13 Key Master

Zuul is a fictional Sumerian demigod from the 1984 film Ghostbusters. In the movie Zuul possesses a one of the characters in the movie, declares itself "The Gatekeeper," and encounters another demon described as "The Keymaster." The gate-and-key symbolism in this case is a none too subtle sexual metaphor.

Oh, and then both demons turn into dog-like creatures.

ZU.13 could be read as "Zule" in leetspeak, a homonym for Zuul.

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