“What was that noise?”
I love the Metal Gear Solid series. Despite it’s overindulgence of cutscenes and increasingly nonsensical plots, I love the series to death. I tell you this so that you know my next statement is going to be horrendously biased. As a videogame series, Metal Gear Solid is one of the most important pieces of evidence we have to prove that our beloved industry can hold up against some of the more “intellectual” mediums (I’m looking at you, literature!).
I present to you part one of my exploration into the postmodern legacy of Kojima’s masterpiece. Expect name-dropping galore and hopefully ideas on the series that many of you will have never considered before, all combining to further prove that videogames can be as academically relevant as literature or film.
Videogames lend themselves very well to postmodern theory. A train of thought that embraces notions about simulation, hyperreality, self-reference, intertextuality and parody is always going to be useful when explaining any contemporary visual medium, but the added interactivity of videogames seems to be incredibly well-suited to playing with the Postmodern questions of reality and identity first explored by the likes of Baudrillard, Lyotard and Jameson.
A series that constantly confronted, challenged and distorted traditional narrative conventions, Metal Gear Solid’s four games are famous for their increasingly convoluted plots and intricate conspiracies within larger conspiracy narratives. Although all four of the games have a lot of postmodern aspects, special attention must be paid to the second game in the series, Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, as it is widely considered the most postmodern of the series as well as one of the most postmodern videogames of all time. A good place to start this analysis would be to explore the use of genre within the game, if we consider Mepham’s explanation that “Postmodernist Literature…can…use low art forms (thriller, detective story, fantasy and so on), [and] can imitate or make fun of past traditions (pastiche, parody).” We can see that Sons of Liberty mixes the genres of what Mepham considers low art forms; the game has the primary genre of a ...