Sunday, November 10, 2019

Ben's Beginnings: First Kojima Game

Yeah I know, I'm breaking my own rules here. It's been basically two years since I last posted an entry in my "Ben's Beginnings" series (a series created for Friday and not Sunday), but Death Stranding is making me feel pretty nostalgic. So I figured "why not write a post about my first Kojima game?" Well, that's exactly what I'm going to do. Here's how I became a fan of Hideo Kojima.


The first time I had even heard of Kojima was when I was about 6 or 7 years old. I got a brand new PlayStation 1 for Christmas, and along with it was what was known as a "demo disc." Yep, back before you downloaded your games, this was your main way of trying out what was on the market. Now days these things are pretty much gone (with rare exceptions like the PlayStation VR disc), but back then they were pretty great. Anyway on this demo disc was a game called "Metal Gear Solid" and I seriously didn't care! Yep I only wanted to play Spyro and that Rugrats game. Metal Gear? Looked like some stupid adult game to me. Why would I spend time playing such trash? Yeah, that's how I'd continue thinking for quite some time.

The next time I even heard Metal Gear being mentioned was when my friend Ryan at school went out and bought the Twin Snakes on Nintendo GameCube. He hyped the game non stop, told me all about Solid Snake and his fight against his brother Liquid, and I'll admit it did seem pretty cool. However I still didn't think it was a series for me, and ended up putting it off once again. Then Snake appeared in Smash Bros Brawl, and eventually I started seeing advertisements for MGS4 which looked pretty cool. I especially liked the idea of there of Raiden (who confused me when I saw Ryan playing MGS2 one time) turning into a cyborg. It seemed pretty cool, but I didn't have a PS3 nor past experience with the series. And then I graduated high school, went to college, and bought one.

Although I still wasn't playing MGS4, the PS3 opened me up to a wide verity of new series, and I was really enjoying my time with it. Games like Infamous and Uncharted kept me coming back for more, and when I finished them I instantly went looking for what else I could play. Really it didn't take long for me to go through most of the "must plays" on the console, and because of that I eventually made my way to MGS. The only problem was I hadn't played 1-3 yet, so I set out to fix that.

I still remember that day. GameStop was having a massive sale on their used games, and you got even more off if you signed up for their Power Up Card. So I went in there, grabbed a copy of Twin Snakes, and MGS2, and walked out of there paying some crazy low price like 20 bucks. (It wasn't until later I learned just how rare Twin Snakes actually was.) After that I went home, popped Twin Snakes in, and spent the next day and a half playing it. Yep, that's all it took for me to finish it, and I loved nearly every second. Although, that technically wasn't my first "Kojima" game, as Kojima didn't handle that one.

While Twin Snakes was in fact a remake of MGS1, it was developed by Silicon Knights, and directed by Ryuhei Kitamura. This remake included new elements first introduced in MGS2, and had completely new cutscenes and dialogue not seen in the original. In a way it was a re-imagining of the game, rather than a simple remake. So yeah, although this was technically my first, it wasn't until I started up Metal Gear Solid 2 that I truly got to experience Kojima's work.

When I first started up MGS2 I was lucky enough to go in expecting the plot twist. I knew from the get go that Raiden would become the main character, and that Snake would only be playable in the intro. So that didn't bother me. What did bother me however was the fact that I got lost for a few hours! The ship was confusing for me, and I spent more time running back and forth than I spent with the rest of the game -- or at least that's what it feels like. I guess I just wanted to get to the main part of the game as fast as possible, and getting turned around in the tanker didn't help that. Eventually I did make my way through it though, and the moment I saw the ending cutscene that would set up the rest of the game, I was hooked. A part of me was sad to see Snake go, but at the same time I was excited to start Raiden's story and see exactly who he was for myself. Then when I finally stepped off that elevator and I saw Raiden pull off his mask, the rest of my time with the game just flew by.

Metal Gear Solid 2 ended up becoming one of my favorite games of all time. The story seemed pretty straight forward at first, but the more I got into it, the more I started noticing things changing. I would stop and call my teammates every chance I got just to hear the new dialogue, and I spent way more time than I should've searching every inch of the plant. Unlike many other PS2 games, MGS2 put a lot of detail in it's world, and I wanted to see as much of it as I could. There were random objects sitting around the place you could shoot or knock down, and there were quite a few eastereggs too. In a way it was pretty impressive for a game released in the early 2000s, and I enjoyed every minute of it. And then I got to the story's plot twist.

I won't ruin it here, but this was the first time I really saw Kojima's work. Everything you once thought you knew about the game did a complete 180, and completely changed your perspective of it. The truth about the characters especially got to me, and I loved seeing how they developed over time. Sure MGS1 had some twists as well, but nothing in that game got to me as much as MGS2. Everything about it was perfect for me, and made me excited to see what else Kojima had in store.

Although I do consider myself a fan of Kojima's, that doesn't mean I like everything he's done. MGS2 became one of my favorites, MGS3 completely blew me away, and I did enjoy MGS4's overall story and ending as well. Peace Walker was pretty cool, and I did like Zone of the Enders 2. Can't say the same for ZOE1 though (despite 100%ing it and getting the platinum on PSN), or even MGS5. Something about those games just didn't click with me, but that's fine. You don't have to always like everything someone does, and honestly the same goes for Death Stranding. I'm having a lot of fun with it at the moment, but that's all I can say until I finish it for myself. Either way it's because of MGS2 I'm even playing this game at the moment, and for that I'll always be thankful to my friend for pushing me to get into the series to begin with. I've had a lot of fun over the years because of MGS, and I still look forward to seeing what Kojima does from here on out.

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