Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Show# 60: Hideo Kojima: Voice of the Masses

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Attention Florida podcasters: I (Dave) will be in your fine state (near-ish to Tampa) this weekend and would jump at the opportunity to hang out with any of you. I'll be free on Saturday night. Send me an e-mail.

This time we talk about Metal Gear Solid. All of it.

And it's not good.

But if you like it, it's okay. We still like you.

Well... Joel does.

This podcast is about:

The Man, The Myth, The Legend


Erwin Rosales said...

Awesome show guys. However , Iactually liked Metal Gear Solid 2, and only because i didn't had to play to much. Hilarious outro.

Anonymous said...

I love your show and I have been listening to you guys since episode 1, a long time ago. you guys have become truly great as podca ters in my eyes, and have inspired me to make my own, Anime Scope. Thanks again and keep up the amazing work

Jeff Tatarek said...

As always, great show. I usually get at least one good laugh out of each episode. and this time around it was the fire camo/ash camo bit. I've only played the the original Metal Gear and the first Metal Gear Solid, but now thanks to you I need not advance to the next ones!

Evil King Macrocranios said...

As someone who used to write book reports on Choose Your Own Adventures in the fourth grade, I kind of disagree that video games do not have any significant literary quality.

As someone who used to get D's on my book reports in fourth grade, I see I am vastly outnumbered.

Dave Riley said...

Macrocranios: I won't say it's impossible for games to have literary quality, but I think it's significantly harder, and the games I've played that really resonate with me are few and far between. Off the top of my head I can only think of Silent Hill 2 as something that could sit cozily with some of the greatest books I've ever read (which are few, to be sure).

There are plenty of games whose stories I adore for one reason or another (Zone of the Enders 2, Parasite Eve 2), but I freely admit that these are bad stories. My position is complicated by the fact that I usually like popcorn entertainment anyway. Aside from cyberpunk/old sci-fi I really read VERY little fiction. I figure if I'm reading, which is a very boring activity, I might as well do something that enriches my experience, which is why I mostly read non-fiction stuff like Sociological journals and blah blah blah. Boring stuff.

Joel's much more interested in literature than me. I'm a "visual learner" anyway, so most of the time I want a story conveyed to me from a perspective that doesn't involve a lot of words.

Erwin: We can't take credit for the outtro, I think it's originally from Gamespy. I'd meant to post a link to the whole mp3 in the blog, but I forgot. Either I'll do it tonight or I'll just stick it in with the next one.

Everyone else, we enjoy your compliments. I can't speak for Joel, but I am a whore for attention. To receive praise from internet famous Jeff Tatarek is surely some accolade.

Daryl Surat said...

The only reason I regret not owning a PSP or the upcoming PS3 is that I can't play the Metal Gear Solid games that are on those systems.

Jeff, to put it simply, you're greatly missing out by not playing Metal Gear Solid 2 and 3. Much like how Paul is so freaking wrong about The Chronicles of Riddick being bad and Tank Girl being good, Dave and Joel are wrong here. I don't agree with the notion that Kojima is trying to tell a serious story, as he himself says that videogames can't be art. Rather, Metal Gear's SUPPOSED to be ridiculous. The really long conversations that happen at colossally inappropriate times are that way on purpose. Criticizing them for that is like dissing the voice acting or plot in God Hand for being bad. The people who tend to dislike Metal Gear for its "bad story/writing" and "unrealistic characters" are often people who think that Metal Gear is supposed to be serious business like Splinter Cell. Or the type of jackass who posts on Insert Credit about postmodernism and dreaming in an empty room or whatever. Of course, as far as I know, Dave and Joel do neither of these things.

The Raiden thing never bothered me in the slightest because the gameplay remained unchanged (actually it was improved). It's like if I'm playing a Thief fan mission where you're not Garrett. It doesn't actually change the gameplay one iota, and the "it's all cutscenes, there's no game here" argument is eternally lost on me, especially since I own Substance/Subsistence. Maybe it's me, but I deliberately go out of my way to hear every single bit of goofy dialogue. That's a giant appeal of the game in my book.

Total disagreement on Twin Snakes being worse than the original PSX one; the only thing I'll concede is that I liked the original PSX voice acting more. As for MGS3, the gameplay shift took a little while to get used to because you if you try to directly apply the sneaking skills from the previous games to it, it was TEDIOUS and you'd get too bored to continue playing pretty fast. You have to learn the CQC system--it's the entire point of the game--and remember that the D-Pad is what you use to actually sneak without making sound. There's no reason to switch camo every few steps; one camo per zone is pretty much all you need, since all the sneaking you do is whatever's needed to get close enough to someone to grab them. You're WAY tougher in MGS3 than you are in the other ones; even on Normal difficulty, if you're spotted you can kill off the entire squad they send and the entire set of reinforcements without much trouble at all.

Here is the deep, dark secret of Metal Gear: the mindset for the convolution in Metal Gear Solid is no different from the convoluted storyline rationale present in Getter Robo.

I myself am supposed to be watching Gankutsuou for an upcoming review. can't speed past the codec conversations? Um...WHAT? Triangle button, dude. Same as always.

The Joel said...

Daryl Surat has just baked himself a delicious cake of death and suffering. Delicious for me because I get to watch him eat it.

I don't buy it Daryl. I don't buy because I don't believe Kojima can go over my head with a joke. I may not be a genius, but neither is he. I can dig on the whole idea that the villains are like Bond bad guys on steroids, but the presentation is lacking. If he is making a joke, even if it is a really good, he needs to work on his timing.

Spankminister said...

Though I have enjoyed every Metal Gear game I have played to date, I'm not going to seriously defend the story of MGS2 like some Kojima apologist. The game had more than enough cool or badass moments to make up for the lame, though, and as you said, the game itself is great.

I feel like I'm seriously in the minority on MGS3, though. I think the radar ruined the gameplay from the first few games because you didn't really have to "sneak," per se... You just ran around looking at your radar and made sure you didn't run into a blue cone. I also loved the outdoor stealth aspects because I'm a total slut for that stuff, even if silly video game logic was applied to it like constantly switching camo. When I got to the fight with The End, and it had no dramatic music, no silly tricks, just a long, ponderous battle between snipers, I peed my pants in joy.

Joel, Daryl, I think you've both got it wrong. I don't think Kojima is really trying to create a parody, or a postmodern work of art that failed. I think he told a video game story using a lot of the stylization you would usually see in an anime-- teams of bad guys each with a bizarre power, posing and taunting before fights, that sort of thing. In that context, his themes are presented in a way that's not realistic or subtle, but no different than Trigun, for example. I think people give Metal Gear a lot of guff because of that cognitive dissonance; they expect a realistic espionage thriller and they get a cartoony caricature and video game logic. If Splinter Cell channels the sort of generic Tom Clancy terrorist thriller, I submit that Metal Gear is an adventure/political anime in game form. Given that, I found some moments genuinely touching or exciting, or well-written, but I wouldn't hold it to literary scrutiny any more than I would an enjoyable anime.

Besides that, the gameplay is great. I don't know if anyone played Metal Gear Solid: The VR Missions, but that proved to me that the game can stand on its own with no story at all; it's basically a stealth puzzle game. I'm one of those obsessive speedrunning types, though, so I love playing the same situation over and over, trying to find an ingenious way to shave .5 seconds off my time. But I digress.

It's clearly not for everyone, but I think there's more than enough to like about the games, and it's nowhere near as bad as everyone says. The nonsensical ending to MGS2 notwithstanding, the franchise has enough goodwill with me that I'll buy MGS4 at some point, and probably enjoy it, and if I'm the only one, so be it!

Too bad I can't afford a PS3 =/

Jeff Tatarek said...

Oh shit, I'm Internet famous? How the hell did that happen?

Actually, I may have to pick up MGS 2 and 3 if I can find them used for cheap. I'm a PS2 owner for all of, oh, two weeks. I own three games right now: Guitar Hero, Katamari Damacy and... GOD HAND. Hell, I may even dust off MGS 1 and throw it into the PS2.

Anonymous said...

I know you say that your releasing these shows on Wednesdays and Saturdays, but seem to keep getting them a few days ahead of time. For example, I just got the pod cast for the eleventh on the ninth, and I was just wondering if this is normal or if my pod catcher is somehow traveling through time to get these pod casts ahead of time. Great show as usual, and I hope to get some kind of response if possible.

Derek said...

I enjoyed playing Metal Gear Solid 2 but I don't know that I'd be able to sit through it another time watching the story the entire way through. I think the best part of the cutscenes is the cool fight choreography. But those scenes are so few and far between it's really a tease. If you ever skip through the codec scenes and watch that text whizz by things really get put into perspective. It probably takes longer to skip the text in those scenes than it does to watch cutscenes from other games.

Really though once the live action footage started at the end of Metal Gear Solid 2 I was so ready for it to be over because it was reminding me of that same sort of thing in End of Evangelion.

Metal Gear Solid 3 I enjoyed better, but I still loved your rants about the camouflage system. Kabuki camouflage was also ridiculous. I felt ripped off though that they gave it a REAL 3rd person perspective camera for MGS3: Subsistence. Why did it take them this long to figure out that's a useful thing!!???

I recommended your show to a friend I'm convinced has been permanently scarred by MGS2 like he was so disappointed that he can never trust video game developers ever again or something.

I think you guys would be good at a "Your favorite video game sucks" panel because you're really good at roasting games on the fly.

Railith said...

I liked MGS 1 and 3, 2 not so much.

I mean come on, there was a dude with bee mind control powers in MGS3, BEE MIND CONTROL! He's Psycho Mantis, but with BEES!

thedbf said...

Ahh, but you two are missing the point.

Metal Gear Solid was a good game, and a means by which Kojima might ingratiate himself to gamers and futher his plans for world domination.

In a similar vein, MGS2: Sons of Liberty was actually a test for the fans of the original Metal Gear Solid to see which were ready (read: predisposed) to appreciate the game despite it's "drastic" changes.

With this knowledge, Kojima realizes he is able to produce any type of game at any quality level and still have a massive following who will adore it for its obvious failings.

Furthermore, Kojima is now planning to bring a new group to their knees. He's planning to take over home shopping networks. I also have reason to suspect he and Martha Stewart are in league with one another for something big.

Please, let no one know I told you this as I have defected from Kojima Productions in hopes that I might save myself and espouse the truth to my bretheren.

Oh yeah, good podcast.

(PS: My Mommy told me not to lie, so I apologize about the defecting from Kojima Productions part. The rest is true though.)

The Last Otaku said...

I dissagre on the Twin Snakes being bad. Even though it was a little easy, it was an awesome remake that was well deserved.