Growing up, most of my formative video game experience was with the original Nintendo Entertainment System with classics like Gyromite, Super Mario Bros 2, and Dragon Warrior. Even after I bought a Super Nintendo, I still frequently played the old games, whether with friends or by myself.
The first time I saw a PlayStation was when my buddy Todd invited me over to watch a new game, Metal Gear Solid. I had heard of Metal Gear for the NES, a stealth-based action shooter, but didn’t know what I was in for with this first 3-D entry for the series. In broad strokes the game is about a solitary American agent fighting against paramilitary forces that have taken over a secret government nuclear weapons facility. It dives into the politics of international conflict, arguments for and against disarmament, and includes a few science-fiction twists and turns, as the series would later be known for.
I went over late in the afternoon, we ordered some pizza, and he played long into the morning. I was truly fascinated – it was the first time I had ever seen that kind of story, let alone with the ability Todd showed. Fully-voice-acted cut scenes, three-dimensional maps, and the kind of double-crossings and story twists I have now come to love in heist movies. It was fascinating and unlike any game I’d seen for the NES or Super Nintendo.
Some years later Konami released an updated version of Metal Gear Solid for the Nintendo GameCube, and I replayed it time and time again, reliving the night back in high school when Todd first introduced me to the series. I really look back on it as a pivotal moment in my gaming career.
While I never really got into the other games in the MGS series, the original still holds a very warm place in my heart and I am both impressed and appreciative for the care and talent that went into making that game, and so very many others.