Tactical Espionage Analysis : The Metal Gear Phenomenon

MGS Snake Main



In the early hours between Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in 1998, I awoke as usual and snuck upstairs to peer at what Santa had left under the tree, careful not to wake my grandfather as he slept and “kept watch” on the couch. As I crept back to my room in the basement from my recon, I felt a twinge of disappointment; my most anticipated gift was nowhere to be seen. I knew Santa and his parental helpers should be aware of what I had wanted, since I hadn’t shut up about it for months after reading about it in OPM (or maybe PSM?). As I crawled back into bed, though, a glint of plastic caught my eye next to my Playstation. Sitting there, as they sit now not five feet from me, were Metal Gear Solid and the official strategy guide. I managed not to open it up and start playing immediately, but only just barely.

I like telling that story, and I’ve always been grateful to whoever decided to put that particular gift directly in my room, as it was a unique start to what I can only describe as my biggest love affair with gaming. I mean, I had always liked games, and had been slowly drawn to more complex and story-driven titles, but MGS was a total game change, and to this day I will name it as my favorite game of all time without a moment’s hesitation. I was thrilled when the sequel was announced, and as wounded as anyone by the end result, to the point where I waited to pick up MGS 3 until months after its release. Thankfully, it signaled a return to form along with our first look and Big Boss’s past, and even I will admit that it’s probably the best storyline in the series.

Metal Gear Solid 4 was the entire reason I bought a PS3, to the point that I actually didn’t buy one until that launch bundle came out; and while I’ll admit that it has flashes of MGS-2-level pomposity, the finale of Solid Snake’s tale was a sight to behold. I’ll admit that the series kind of faded from my mind after that, since Hideo Kojima himself had claimed he was done exploring that universe. The trailer for “Metal Gear Rising” caught my eye, at first, but my interest faded as Kojima distanced himself from the project, and I honestly think I made the right choice there…

MGS Rising

The announcement of “Ground Zeroes” got my attention, and that first trailer had me enthralled with its Kojima-only levels of intrigue. Of course, watching this past year’s VGAs stirred up all those same feelings when the trailer for “The Phantom Pain” kicked things off. My very first thought was “That looks a lot like Big Boss,” and by a few hours later my suspicions were all but confirmed that a new MGS was in the works. At this point, of course, Metal Gear Solid V has been revealed in all of its open-world glory, and I’m super excited to get another Big Boss tale.

About two months ago, Scott put up his article about a little thing called the Metal Gear Solid Legacy Collection, and my friends can confirm: I lost my shit. The mere thought of that much MGS in one package kind of undid me, and the news that it would be released ON MY BIRTHDAY made me nigh ravenous. Thankfully, my kick-ass younger brother confirmed that he would be getting it for me, and I managed to reign in my excitement for a few weeks.

MGS Exclamation

UNTIL NOW! I finally have the Legacy Collection in my hands, and it’s awesome, and I’ll talk all about it, but that’s not actually the point of this post! This post is about an idea that I hatched when the Legacy Collection was announced, and mulled over with friends until it became the title you read above: The Tactical Espionage Analysis project. You see, I’ve spent a lot of time with Metal Gear over the years, and I think the launch of this collection is the perfect time to go back through and take a long, hard look at “why.” Of course, I get to play through my favorite games ever in the process, so everyone wins!

My plan is to start at the very beginning with Metal Gear (which is awesomely included with the HD and Legacy Collections) and follow Snake, Big Boss, et al down whatever paths they may lead me. I’ve spent a long time gathering resources, and I think I have what it takes to tackle this objective. My next post will look at what’s included in the Legacy set, and from there I hope top proceed as follows:

  • Metal Gear / Metal Gear 2
  • Metal Gear Solid / MGS: The Twin Snakes
  • Metal Gear Solid 2
  • Metal Gear Solid 3
  • Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker
  • Metal Gear Solid 4
  • Metal Gear Solid Graphic Novel / Motion Comic
  • Metal Gear Solid Saga Volumes 1 & 2

The graphic novel was done by Ashley Wood and is based on MGS / MGS 2, and Legacy includes fully-voiced motion comics of both stories that run about two hours each. MGS Saga consists of two bonus DVDs that were available with the launch of MGS 4 and Peace Walker, and contains a large number of supplemental materials.

Twenty-five years of gaming history is laid out before me, and I truly hope I can bring at least some enjoyment to you as I work my way through it. For now, I’ll leave you with some pictures of my credentials for this task.

MGS Collection






MGS Stacks




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