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New York Times looks under cardboard box over MGS storyline

Alan Tsang

A New York Times article in the Week in Review section published today discusses the latent meanings within the Metal Gear series' epic storyline and attempts to answer the bigger question of whether video games can be a capable medium, on par with films and literature, in conveying a narrative.

NYT's Dave Itzkoff delves into the world of MGS by exploring the hidden messages from every MGS game; for example, MGS is a statement about atomic weapons, the Patriots of MGS2 portrayed as an Illuminati-like secret society suggests a worldwide conspiracy, MGS3 hints at how a "military-industrial complex" changed the world and MGS4 has Itzkoff describing Solid Snake as a "James Bond meets Rambo" who blur the line between hero and villain. Finally, Snake's endless mission is seen a parable of modern war and invokes the philosophical debate of "determinism and free will."

The article also debates the validity and effectiveness of the cinematic cut scenes -- according to Itzkoff's interviews, 1UP's Shawn Elliott equates this methodology as "kind of cheating" and accuses the game of using "a language that isn't native to its own medium." On the other hand, Leigh Alexander of Kotaku argues the cut scenes are embedded into the game and essential. She even takes a jab at Halo, describing the Xbox series as mindless action that is only popular because "you shoot people."

Just as films have evolved into an acceptable means of telling a full, gratifying story, it won't be long before video games achieve the same distinction.

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