To: Blake Foley From: Sean Gandert Subject: RE: The Phantom Sequel Dear Blake, So if Metal Gear 2 isn’t just more of the same, then the question I have to ask is, “What is it?” Obviously there’s not just one answer to this question, but I think the bigger aspects of what changed during just […]
To: Sean Gandert From: Blake Foley Subject: The Phantom Sequel Dear Sean, As we head into Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, I thought it would be worthwhile to take a brief look back at its history. Sequels generally follow two trajectories. They’re either A) a near carbon copy of the original with a new story, […]
From: Blake Foley To: Sean Gandert Subject: RE: Stop the Operation. Switch off Your MSX at Once. Man, Bioshock’s twist… I really hate that it is THE twist in video games, and I equally hate the popular video game trope that it’s built upon. Bioshock’s twist is a classic “gotcha” that a lot of games […]
Codec Logs is a retrospective Metal Gear letter series by Blake Foley and Sean Gandert. An index of the letters can be found here. From: Sean Gandert To: Blake Foley Subject: Stop the Operation. Switch off Your MSX at Once. Let’s start with the big twist: does Big Boss’s turn at the end of the […]
From: Blake Foley To: Sean Gandert Subject: RE: Entering the Cardboard Box Sean, Even though I’m a long time fan of the series, I actually never went back to Metal Gear on the MSX2. I stumbled my way though the surprisingly different Metal Gear on the NES many years ago (and I think I may […]
This is going to put me in a tiny minority of players, but before we began this project Metal Gear was the most recent entry of the series that I’d played. After I graduated from college in 2008, I moved into the attic of my friends’ house in Stamford, Connecticut while I was commuting to New York for work as a journalist. The job market was terrible, and freelancing wasn’t enough to pay for both rent and food, so I found myself restocking shelves at a Blockbuster within walking distance of where I lived. It paid minimum wage, but there were a couple of perks for working there. One was free movie rentals, another was swiping candy and popcorn whenever the assistant managers were in charge rather than the store manager (who ironically spent most of his free time telling me about how many Wii games he’d pirated). However, even though the store rented video games, those rentals weren’t free to employees.
There was one exception, but it was unintentional. The store’s copy of Metal Gear Solid 3 was the Subsistence version, which had an extra disc containing for the first time ever in America the original MSX2 versions of Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2. Blockbuster didn’t rent that disc out, and seemingly didn’t know what to do with it, so the copy remained in its box up until I decided to, uhh, liberate it and take it home with me. The next year, when I was back in Albuquerque, I decided to give it a try and see how it played.
It is 2015 and I am neck deep in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain; a game that is likely the end of an era. Konami might release a Metal Gear Solid 6, but it won’t have series long director, writer, and designer, Hideo Kojima, leading development. You have been asking me over the last few months whether or not I intended to get The Phantom Pain at launch, or even pick it up at all, and I had always expressed reluctance, indifference, and even resistance to the idea. I had my reasons (that is another letter entirely), but those reasons began to lose their hold on me as the game’s release closed in. The franchise has been a huge part of my gaming life, and with Kojima’s departure (removal?) from Konami I began to realize that it would be crazy for me to ignore this final entry in Kojima’s wonderfully ridiculous story. And that is how I got here, 30 hours into Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain and about to start something bigger.
For Exposition Break’s inaugural series of features, we’ll be taking apart the entire Metal Gear series. Join us as we talk about everything from its gameplay to its sexism, from graphics to story to politics.