Superhexagon is an absolutely minimalist and frighteningly difficult reflex game. You control your avatar (an arrow) around a point, escaping oncoming walls, rushing and revolving at what must be fractally complex patterns. You will survive two seconds, three seconds, quite literally playing (and losing) an entire game in an eyeblink. It seems as if you will never survive longer than a heartbeat.
Then something clicks. Maybe it’s the thumping electronica chiptune that wouldn’t be out of place in a dance bar. Maybe it’s the pulsating neon colours that could possibly herald a message from angels. But for a brief moment you see the matrix. Your run is 10, 20, 30 seconds, maybe even a minute. You still die of course (you always will), but that brief minute, you danced with death. And for that brief minute, you won.
I don’t know how many people think of Super Hexagon as anywhere close to cyberpunk, but it is probably game that comes the closest to what I think the thrill of netrunning could be. Now, granted I’m pretty sure that’s not what netrunning is going to be (the thought of actually being in cyberspace must be something we can’t even imagine yet), but it feels to occupy the same visceral space. The feel of split second reflexes saving your avatar from certain death, muscle memory communicating to your dancing pointer where to go, predicting the patterns of the walls. It’s some thing that seems to have been lifted out of Tron itself, and is something I could very well see being played on a giant wall of a Tron bar.