A Love Letter to Metal Gear Solid: How it Captured My Imagination Like No Other Game

This story is this week’s winner of the Heart of the Revolution competition. For their contribution, GameRevolution Forum user Jerry Purvis has won a game of their choice from the GR goodie bag. Head on over to our forums to win next week’s prize!

I slow my breathing down to lower my heartbeat. My back is pressed hard against the concrete wall, listening to the footsteps getting closer to the corner. I hug the wall tighter as I see the barrel of a gun out of the corner of my eye. The guard has stopped. All I hear is his breathing and the pounding of my heart. He turns towards me, yet cannot see me, then turns back the other direction and starts walking away. I wait a couple seconds longer and sneak to the stacked crates on the other side.

Suddenly, a splash. My foot has hit a small puddle on the floor, and the sound has alerted the nearby guard to my presence. I must find someplace to hide. There is another guard coming from the other direction. There is no way out from this situation unless I want blood. But that is not my mission. This is a stealth operation, and silence is of the utmost importance. They must not become aware of my presence, so I make a split decision to dive back into the cold water. Perhaps they will think the splash was just that of a fish. After a minute or two, the guards are back on their normal routine, and I start the process over again.

metal gear solid love letter

The game was Metal Gear Solid. The mission: infiltrate an abandoned base in the middle of the Alaskan wilderness to stop a rogue military group from launching a nuclear strike on U.S. soil. The year was 1998. For years, I grew up on games where the goal was to kill as many enemies as possible. I was familiar with games like Double Dragon, Mario, or Zelda, where you kill or be killed. Metal Gear Solid was on a whole other level of game. Never before had I played a game where the way to survive was to hide, and I was hooked at the first demo when the voice actors were still Japanese.

Even though the demo only featured the dock and helipad sections of the game, I probably put in just as many hours with those two levels alone, as I did the game itself when it finally came out. We lived across from a Walmart, and it was in the days when you had to bend your neck in unnatural ways to see the screen for the demo station. I suspect my neck will pay for that sacrifice when I get much older, a struggle that millennial gamers will not understand.

Yet the sacrifice was worth every bit. Up until the release date, I collected every magazine that had MGS on its cover, soaked up every bit of information I could on the game, and played every demo enough, I could easily play through the dock and helipad sections with my eyes closed.

metal gear solid fan

Finally, the day came. September 3rd, 1998. I bought my first Sony PlayStation and Metal Gear Solid; a tradition that has taken place with every iteration of the PlayStation. The wait was worth every second as I was blown away by every aspect of the game. The controls for the time were intuitive and perfect for the genre. The use of cinematics was ahead of its time. The story, with its complex plot twists and deep narrative was something never before seen in a video game. The characters, from Psycho Mantis and Gray Fox to Solid Snake and Meryl, were so multifaceted and unique, that you could not help but be enthralled and enraptured in the story and care for each character. Learning the truth behind the Cyborg Ninja and Master Miller’s true identity shocked me to the core. The final battle with Metal Gear Rex still remains one of the most climactic battles I ever had the pleasure to fight.

The game captured my imagination in a way nothing else ever had before, nor anything since. I spent countless hours and late nights playing that game, soaking in every secret, every different way to play the game and it remains one of the few games that I will go back to and play to this day. Metal Gear Solid will always be at the top of my favorite games list and will hold a special place in my heart.