The article The Mad, Unlikely Genius of ‘Metal Gear Solid’ is a fairly interesting read. I grew up on the MGS games, and I agree that they were revolutionary in terms of the style and technique of game-play that they presented. Great successors like the Splinter Cell games certainly owe homage to the MGS series to some degree. I also enjoyed reading about fondly remembered games like GoldenEye on the N64, as I spent many hours playing that one, as well.
However, there was a part of the article that I immediately disagreed with. Specifically, this paragraph…
The series begins with director Hideo Kojima’s first game, Metal Gear, released for the MSX2 in July 1987. Konami spun Metal Gear Solid off from two old-school MSX games, the original recipe and Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, promoting the formerly 2D Solid Snake to a new generation of virtual espionage and combat. Kojima continued to direct. MSX hardware sold poorly in North America, and so most Metal Gear Solid players outside of Japan had never played the two earlier Metal Gear games. In October 1998, Metal Gear Solid was their grand introduction to a series that now continues, rebelliously, despite Kojima’s 2015 exodus from Konami.
The part, in particular, was…
MSX hardware sold poorly in North America, and so most Metal Gear Solid players outside of Japan had never played the two earlier Metal Gear games.
This implies that the Metal Gear games that preceded the first Metal Gear Solid game were exclusively published on the MSX2 system, which only did well in Japan. In all honesty, I’ve never played an MSX or MSX2 system, nor would I even recognize one if I saw it. However, I have played the first Metal Gear game, because I owned it on the NES. In fact, I even remember the cover art of the game standing out to me, because the soldier in the artwork reminded me of the actor Michael Biehn from big 1980’s action movies like The Terminator and Aliens.
Not that I have some sort of unhealthy fascination with Michael Biehn, but I was a sci-fi/action movie junkie as a little kid – which most kids were back then, and so I was quite familiar with movies like The Terminator, Predator, Aliens, RoboCop, etc. When movies like Blood Sport and Universal Soldier were relevant, I was even a huge JCVD fan. Many fail to realize, or remember, that before the advent of the internet, movies, video games and comic books were the escape of most young boys. That, and actually going outside. Another thing to note is that movies back then were more impacting and helped to engage the imagination. It’s rare that I see a movie today that I can sit down and watch more than once, but I would still sit down and watch those 80’s movies today if they happen to be playing and I’m not busy, so it’s clearly not just that they were such a shock at the time. They hold their value, in my opinion.
So, anyway. Even though I have no reason to question anything else in the article, I decided it was worthwhile to point out what I felt was an erroneous statement. Even though he covers himself by saying most MGS players outside of Japan had never played the two earlier games (which is still an assumption without data to suggest it – and one that I would wager against), his reasoning is still muddied by the fact that he’s looking at it from the point of view that the games were only available to owners of the MSX/MSX2 game systems; and at least the first game was actually ported to multiple other systems – which included the NES, MS-DOS and the Commodore 64, all of which combined to make a considerable presence in North America. Just sayin’!
Well, that concludes my rant for the evening. Good night!