Mr. Sylazhov returns with his latest guest article the day before the release of Metal Gear Solid V, to examine the extremely important matter of torture, in both the real world and the fictional one Kojima uses to show his views.
The methods, reasons, and history of torture are discussed, along with a personal story that drives home the reality of the barbaric practices used by military and spy agencies around the world. This article was finished quite a while ago, but I’m publishing it on the eve of The Phantom Pain to emphasize the seriousness of its controversial subject matter.
Warning: Some graphic content follows.
The Ideology of Torture
A personal, political, and philosophical study of torture in the MGS series and the real world
I would like to dedicate the following piece to the victims of
the dictatorship in my country, and to all victims of
political repression from any side of the political spectrum.
The following guest article was written by a friend and author, Alexander Sylazhov, who you ought to remember fondly from his Big Boss as Che Guevara article; I titled that article in order to highlight one of my favorite aspects of it, but it certainly went well beyond that. I’m deeply honored to be able to present his new article, which is the kind of analysis I would love to be able to do myself. With the upcoming release of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain less than a month away, this in-depth exploration of ideology, politics, and pop culture in the Metal Gear series is a fascinating must-read from a talented writer from a different side of the world.
No matter how long it’s been since I first played the game, each Winter when it begins to snow up here in Canada I get deeply nostalgic for Metal Gear Solid. I begin to play the soundtrack in my mind as I walk, mapping my surroundings as if they were a sneaking challenge and guards were around every corner. Of course I’m too old to actually run around and play out the scenario these days, but I do want to keep that feeling alive. Something about seeing footprints in the fresh snow, hearing the crunch under my foot, and feeling that chill in the air makes me want to listen to that soundtrack again.
Which is honestly why I’m so appreciative of Rich Douglas’ newest soundtrack, Metal Gear Symphony. I’ve been listening to it all day, and I feel like I’ve been transported back to in 1998 all over again. The songs use awesome samples, spans 18 good length tracks(!) and stays in the zone from beginning to end. It only costs $8 on Loudr, but you can pay more if you want to support this kind of epic, professional work. (You can also get it on iTunes or Google Play, just follow the links on this page.)
Thankfully Rich Douglas is a veteran game composer for 10 years (Lifeless Planet, Shadowgate Remake, etc.), which means he did the right thing and got it officially licensed. That means royalties go to the original creators as well, and everything is mutually beneficial and legal. Walking around in the snow with this on your MP3 player will make you feel like a sneaky badass, I guarantee.
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”:
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