Updated March 6, 2014: Added new section and improved some parts
This article deals with the controlled nature of the entertainment industry, pop culture, and the possibility of a conspiracy to turn gaming culture into a shallow, unhealthy and narrow-minded wasteland.
We’re once again honored to have Mad Jackyl present us with a great article about the Metal Gear series — this time about how the recurring ninja character serves the plot of the games. The article is below the jump, so read on and please enjoy!
(This article has been updated on May 31, 2011 for your enjoyment)
PART 2: War is Routine
Old Snake: War has changed. It’s no longer about nations, ideologies, or ethnicity. It’s an endless series of proxy battles fought by mercenaries and machines. War – and its consumption of life – has become a well-oiled machine.
When the first game trailers were being shown, it was a shock for many to see that the setting of Metal Gear Solid 4 was the Middle East, and more shocking yet to hear the commentary of Snake about war being “routine”. What could such a thing mean? It wasn’t the same stylish, “cool” Metal Gear world we had seen before: it was desolation and massacre for no good reason. For literally the first time ever, there was no enemy stronghold to infiltrate, no big scary dude with a Metal Gear threatening the world. Indeed, we were sneaking into an actual battlefield, a neutral agent passing through somebody else’s pointless war. Why would Kojima break his successful formula for something as bleak and complex as that?
Yoji Shinkawa, born Christmas Day of ’71, joined Konami at the age of 23.
It was 1994, and young Shinkawa was given the honorable task of debugging Policenauts, as well as doing the graphics for the pilot disc, and the 3D graphics for the PlayStation version. It was a humble start for the man who would four years later be the Illustration Director and character designer for one of the best games to ever be released. The question is: would it have been one the best games ever if it hadn’t been for Shinkawa?
If you’re like me, it was the character of Solid Snake that truly made MGS1 endearing, allowing me to connect with it emotionally. He was a lean, mean, smoking machine who always got the job done and didn’t let his feelings get in the way. Essentially, he became everything I wanted to be in my juvenile fantasies for years. And yet when we look at this interview from an old player’s guide, Kojima explains that the original incarnation of Snake was “totally different”:
For your enjoyment, this article was updated as of May 1, 2011
The Puzzle Element
Taking Metal Gear Solid off of its grand pedestal and playing it from an analytical, critical point of view again, we can see past the coolness of the experience and see the real nuts and bolts: the design.
To me, the puzzle element is easily the most underestimated part of the old Metal Gear Solid for the PlayStation. It’s something that has been lost over the course of the series thanks to the rabid, pigeonholed nature of the conversation surrounding it. And what I mean by “puzzle element” is the way that you had to think in order to complete an area of the game smoothly. Remember the first level of the VR training? This is the most simple, pure representation of what Metal Gear gameplay is all about. A single guard patrols back and forth with precise timing, and the goal is just on the other side. If he sees you, it’s Game Over; if you reach the goal, you win.