Kojima and the Soviet Union

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.

Expect to see more from him soon, and please check out his science fiction novel series if you want to see more from him and support his work.


 

Kojima and the Soviet Union

An analysis of the political overtones of the MGS series and Hideo Kojima’s ideology

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Big Boss as Che Guevara

BIG BOSS AS CHE GUEVARA:

A LATIN PATRIOT’S VIEWS ON PEACE WALKER,
THE CIA, AND KOJIMA’S POLITICAL COMMENTARY

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If there’s one thing we have no shortage of in the world, it’s the perspective of the USA’s media and public.  Rarely do we hear intellectuals from other nations; they’re not relevant to “Americans”, no matter how deeply we’ve impacted their culture and history.  This insulated and ignorant way of living is why the Metal Gear series has always tried to include international viewpoints, raising awareness of global issues such as nuclear holocaust, oil shortages, and abuses of the military industrial complex.  The characters we meet are not usually one-dimensional bad guys for the USA hero to destroy, but outspoken victims of war themselves, reflecting the tragic aftermath of the struggle between self-interested superpowers.

This guest article explains the ongoing importance of Che Guevara around the world today, and how a silly little PSP game like Peace Walker can open old wounds that most Americans know nothing about.  The Latin folk hero of the 1950’s and 60’s may be “iconic” in North America, but in the most reductionist sense of the word, appearing on t-shirts and capitalist merchandise without a shred of irony.  And although Peace Walker focuses heavily on the Latin American struggle for independence and justice, few fans realize the significance of its political and historical commentary on issues that still burn with significance in the hearts of millions around the world today.

I hope you’ll share my interest in how Kojima designed Peace Walker and Big Boss to pass on a message of international sensitivity and awareness in a world dominated by US propaganda.  As we’ve seen, this awareness is only growing deeper and darker as we approach Metal Gear Solid V, and I think the words of our friend A. Sylazhov should be kept with us as we look forward to the politically-charged and insightful next chapter of the Metal Gear series.  Enjoy.

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