You know, something besides another dumb joke about how much it supposedly borrows from Larry Hama’s G.I. Joe comics.

groundzeroespaz-spot4

Ground Zeroes includes some really dark supplemental material that has turned off a number of people from the game and the series. The material in question is pretty awful, but it honestly does offer a realistic look at some of the depraved atrocities that take place in war. The problem, though, is that a series as goofy and preposterous as Metal Gear has no business taking a sudden left turn into unflinching realism. Hideo Kojima hasn’t built the proper groundwork for this sort of content; remember, the game to which Ground Zeroes serves as a direct sequel had you battling a giant singing robot powered by a digital simulation of Big Boss’ mentor, shooting dinosaurs, and airlifting people out of heavily guarded enemy bases by slapping balloons on their backs. The audio content in Ground Zeroes betrays the series, in a sense – the implicit contract with the player that serious topics would be couched in abstract, fantasy-inflected terms.

I’m not angry about it or anything, but I do think it was a major miscalculation. There’s a time and a place for an unfiltered discussion of war crimes, but… maybe a silly cartoon of a video game isn’t it.

3 comments on: I wrote another thing about Metal Gear yesterday

  1. MetManMas

    I’ll still be checking out Ground Zeroes eventually, but I can’t say I’m cool with the collectible rape and torture podcasts (among other things) in this latest Metal Gear sampler. I know Kojima wants to tackle more touchy subject matter like the brutality of war crimes, but I don’t think a series with stuff like a blond guy sword dueling the ex-President who looks like lovechild of Sean Connery and Doctor Octopus, a casting mode where you can have PSone Snake save MGS1 Outfit Snake from Tuxedo Snake after he killed a bunch of PSone Ocelots, the possibility of Big Boss shooting his beloved mentor while dressed like Kabuki Santa Claus, Ape Escape done Metal Gear style, and the Pooyan mission is the right place for this kinda thing.

  2. Phatslo

    i always felt Metal Gear did a good job hitting serious issues while being campy. The “hidden” bomb on Paz was, at best, taste-lest, though. Disturbing disgusting might be a better way to phrase it, but i don’t thing that’s strong enough of an adjective to use. That cutscene kinda made any arguments that i would have had invalid, so yea.Kojima’s a sick puppy.

  3. David

    Hey Jeremy, this is off-topic and a few days late, but I’ve been playing through Super Metroid along with Anatomy of a Game and I noticed something interesting and thought you might as well.

    In your last Super Metroid post (Anatomy of a Game 19), you wrote this about using the Shine Spark to find a secret area in the game’s initial screen:

    “But you can use it break through a secret wall in your gunship’s landing area to access a small set of rooms that you could normally only reach upon returning from the Wrecked Ship through a certain door. There’s no real advantage to doing this, but again, the sense of personal empowerment that comes from doing things the “wrong” way is undeniably satisfying.”

    Not only can you use the Shinespark, but I found out you can also use the Power Bombs to blow the wall open, too. If you stand on the wall outcropping directly beneath that secret wall, you can drop a Power Bomb, which will also blow open the secret passage. What’s interesting to me is this: Why didn’t R&D1 simply make it a wall that could only be broken with the Shinespark, like other walls in the game? Instead, they made it breakable by both the Shinespark and the Power Bombs, which is only true of a few other walls in the game, I think.

    The logical conclusion is that they did it intentionally: They intended you to use the horizontal Shinespark, but in case you never figured out how to use that technique, you could also use a Power Bomb to blow up a conspicuous wall. Just another example of Super Metroid’s great game design– giving you multiple tools to solve problems.