I was recently looking into buying a new gaming console (for my kids of course...). I gravitated towards the Playstation 5 but this machine was nowhere to buy other than with some shady people who had kept some stash from the first release of PS5. An XBOX Series X was a secondary option. But then I was looking into the prices for the games... In addition, I realized that if I wanted to have some good value in the gaming experience, I should also buy a new 4K television set to match the HDTV output. So, after watching this fascinating documentary series on the history of XBOX, I reconsidered and bought a 2nd hand XBOX 360 with all peripherals for just 50 euros. The 2nd hand market for XBOX 360 games is pretty solid so I quickly bought a game that I was already eyeing for a long time: Metal Gear Solid, HD Collection. For those not in the know, Metal Gear has been the start of a completely new genre in videogames that started back in 1987: Action Adventure Stealth. In addition, it set the tone for storytelling inside the game, creating almost like a movie that you watch, while you can actively participate in it.
And indeed, I have actually played Metal Gear since 1987. I had a Philips NMS 8250 MSX-2 computer with an internal memory extension all the way to 256 Kbytes(!), and endlessly played the Konami Cartridge. I actually never made it to the end, as the area to cover in the game was just to large for me to oversee back then. I still wonder how people concluded this game back in those days without being able to save status at some point and get some sleep?!? In 1990 I got my hands on an illegal copy from Japan with the most demanding game that could ever run on the limited MSX 2 hardware: Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake. I actually never really played this game because all the storytelling was in Japanese and that never has been my strong forte.
I actually relived those 2 Metal Gear MSX games and their sequel that I didn't know of: the Playstation 1 Metal Gear Solid game from 1998, when I built a Retropie computer some 2 years ago. I explored the Retropie Universe which led to this Zapread post: Space Retro Gaming. I (finally) managed to play all three games (in English) all the way to the end and felt overwhelmed by the fascinating mix of action, stealth, story, in-game jokes but first and foremost the message that creator Hideo Kojima wanted to pass on to the players: war is never the solution.
Now on our XBOX 360, I have recently brought Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty to a good end. I managed to do so in about 28 hours of gameplay over the course of about 3 weeks. Of course with way better graphics, better sound and more demanding gameplay than its three precursors. One key thing remained in the captivating storytelling: from the fictional story, it puts some historical context to the world we live in. It brings about some fascinating future telling on the power of big Tech as we know it now. It is sometimes hard to realize, this game was released back in 2002, long before the days of Facebook, Twitter and the likes. Also on the current state of affairs, there are many observations to be made that are expressed in the game. In the final act, Solid Snake says to rookie fighter Raiden: "We've inherited freedom from all those who've fought for it, we all have the freedom to spread the word". This is so true this week given Putin's agression that showed its bloody teeth in Ukraine. I hope there will be many Solid Snakes around there, to push this wannabe Tsar back to where he belongs, with his face in the mud.
Now on to Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (2004)... I already found out I have to save and rescue one of the Russian scientists that worked on the A1-Vostok rocket that put Yuri Gagarin into orbit!