Today, people view video games as childish nonsense, wasted technology that does nothing but hurt the minds of our children. But in the 1980s, one man thought to change that simple idea, showing that video games can be used as messengers for a larger purpose. In the Metal Gear Solid series, Hideo Kojima criticizes social, political, and cultural issues through video games by introducing today’s generation to fears of nuclear fallout and technological anxiety, the government control of information and data during the Information Age, and through the theory of intertwined fictional and actual history called Hyperreality. Though he is a Japanese video game developer, Hideo Kojima gained all of his inspiration for the Metal Gear Solid series from American media. The characters, locations, and the plot were inspirations all brought in from the United States. He was inspired by American action movies, and wanted the main character of the Metal Gear franchise to be similar to these American icons. “I asked him (a character developer) to make the character nimble and muscular, with the body like a Van Damme. I wanted it to be something like Christopher Walken. He has to perform espionage, so I wanted the character to be like a cat but still have a strong presence (Hideo Kojima).” Right from the beginning, Kojima wanted to create a character that Americans could relate to, which is how Kojima began to shape the life like characters the Metal Gear Solid series (“Hideo Kojima”). Kojima makes it obvious in each of his titles that he wanted to not only take his original creation, Metal Gear for the Nintendo Entertainment System, and make it fun and accessible to players all over the world, but also use the game as a portal to show his opinions about issues in the world at the time. The biggest problem that Kojima wanted to confront was nuclear warheads and weapons building up in the United States and Russia years after the Cold War and not being properly disposed. Kojima wanted to create a game where players must step into the shoes of a “hero” who, against insurmountable odds, would save the entire world. But players would know as they talk to people in the game that this task is impossible, and the knowledge of ongoing nuclear development, secret nuclear black projects, and nuclear weapons disposal problems all put a damper on Snake’s success. Political issues are the basis of Metal Gear Solid and its story and how it started Kojima’s era of master storyteller.
Metal Gear Solid 1 is a direct sequel to Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake. It follows Solid Snake six years after he was forced to kill his own father “Big Boss” and his best friend Frank Jaeger to save the world from nuclear destruction. Snake is called out of his early retirement by Colonel Roy Campbell to stop another nuclear disaster. A terrorist group known as FOXHOUND lead by Snake’s brother Liquid took over a “nuclear disposal site on a remote island in Alaska’s Fox Archipelago” named Shadow Moses (Metal Gear Solid) and threatened to launch a nuke to hit a random location in the world from a new nuclear weapon known as Metal Gear Rex if they do not receive the remains of Snake’s father.
The first game discusses the history of failed nuclear development and poor disposal policies and procedures for nuclear warheads. Disasters like Chernobyl only act as a reminder of humanities drive to harness this nuclear energy, only ending in failure. Solving the problem of nuclear disposal is made apparent throughout the game, as certain areas in the game are weapon restricted, due to dummy warheads being left lying around, and the threat of leaking nuclear waste always lying overhead. While stopping Liquid and Rex is no small feat, putting an end to the countless nuclear threats that face the world is beyond the capability of even the most intrepid hero. The result is that the game not only endows players with the knowledge of such issues, but also instills a slight sense of futility...
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