I just started playing Metal Gear Solid V. I’ve always been really fascinated with the series. I was obsessed with it for Nintendo when it first came out. It was unique and interesting.
I played it again when it came out for Playstation. I really enjoyed reading through the military lore of that game, and uncovering the deep background of Solid Snake and unpacking what the hell was going on.
I kind of stopped playing after that one. I purchased the second MGS for Playstation 2 but never made it past the opening boat scene. A buddy bought me Snake Eater but that game remained in its wrapper. I was busy with work and just never had the time to get into it.
Despite not playing the past decade of Metal Gear, I’ve kept up with the trajectory of the game through the internet. I know the series has bounced around and has revealed a comically ridiculous plotline.
Still, if there is one thing I’ve enjoyed through the series, it’s Hideo Kojima’s reverence for special operations through the past century. Because the game bounces through time, and you always play some kind of elite soldier, operators from the 1960s are held up against operators in the 2000s. With the exception of some fantasy, a lot of the field gear is accurate. The picture of Big Boss drinking from a Vietnam-era canteen (still used today, by the way) is what spurred me to write about this. In the same opening scene, Big Boss is wearing an old “butt pack” on his web gear, again, consistent with the timing of this game (mid-1980s).
With the game spread out through time periods, and weaving in and out of different eras, it makes me wonder what the real differences are in special operators on one end, and typical soldiers on the other. Is a 1960s era Green Beret similar to Persian Gulf War-era Solid Snake? What about the 1980s? My gut instinct says that special operators today are much more advanced in the realm of developing physical fitness with increased knowledge and availability of nutrition and training information, but I have no way of knowing if this is actually true.
And I never see old pictures of fat special operators.
What about fieldcraft? My gut also tells me that old school operators probably practiced better fieldcraft than modern operators, partly because they were not so beholden to technology, and partly because they came from a different generation.
The picture of Big Boss drinking out of a Vietnam-era canteen spurred me to write this. Besides getting me thinking about comparisons between eras, Hideo Kojima has always been good at getting gear generally right. In this same scene, Big Boss is wearing an old-school butt pack on his web gear. On the absurdity level, he had just finished escaping a hospital while being chased by a flame monster on a unicorn.
And since I’m on the topic of Metal Gear, there’s a part of me that thinks that the whole series is complete bullshit. That the original Metal Gear for Nintendo was a stand-alone military game that featured a prominent stealth option. When they made a second one, they bolted on more of a story and then again and again as each iteration came out. I just have a hard time believing that Kojima had this nearly century-long timeline and idea thought out back in the late 1980s.