I could talk all day about the awesome nostalgic experiences bought home by Metal Gear Solid 4, but my favourite gaming moment of 2008 occurred when starting my second playthrough of the title. In a single moment, Kojima and his metal gear universe achieved something no other game has and no other medium could.
After absorbing 20 hours of narrative and partaking in possibly the greatest fist fight portrayed in a game, those weird, completely irrelevant, nonsensical commercials that had greeted me as a new player had all but disappeared from my memory. In fact, what I’d seen had been so foreign the only thing my mind retained was the description above.I hit New Game and adjusted the difficulty, and just as unexpected as it was the first time, a commercial began playing – only this time it took on a completely new meaning.
The commercial now made narrative sense. After observing and living in the MGS4 universe I’d become so exposed to the themes and fabric of the world that these commercials, their messages, styling and purpose where now unmistakably obvious.
But the commercials weren’t really about the PMCs – the really triumph, the task previously unachieved; these commercials offer a glimpse into the world outside the narrative. We’re placed in the everyman’s shoes; we’re watching television through the eyes of a population only indirectly affected by the plot and it’s conflicts. And what we see is a surreal, disjointed interpretation of the ‘reality’ we’ve been playing.
It’s a startling and frightening look at a world subdued and altered by media, and one more MGS trademark worrying resemblance to our own world and potential future.