Life's not easy. Nobody ever said it was. Life is one long road, and we all have to follow it, on our way to the final destination. Along the way it will be quite a few obstacles in your path. You're going to have good times and bad times, meet people you like and people you dislike. And make no mistake about it, sooner or later you are going to encounter some difficult choices, which may or may not have serious implications on you and your future.
There are times like these that many people turn to literature or films in order to get some advice. In movies and books, the characters are often faced with hard decisions, which more often than not can be easily translated to the real life. Forrest Gump told the people that anything was possible, and that disabilities are nothing but a mere obstacle that you must climb. People find courage and motivation in the actions of Rocky Balboa, as he stood toe to toe with the World Heavyweight Boxing Champion, and didn't back down, while books like 1984 made people reflect on the world we live in and what the future will bring. Yes, films and literature can surely mean a lot to you, and a lot of people makes judgements almost entirely based on books they've read or movies they've seen, whether they realize it or not.
Me, I am no different from everybody else. I too have quite a few literature- and movie-based experiences that certainly have had its impact on both my childhood and me as a person. The Harry Potter-series, Disney-movies like The Lion King, the books of Tom Egeland, The DaVinci Code and the Pokémon-series are all stories that have been essential to me, both as a child and as the soon-to-be grown up I currently am. But nothing, and I mean nothing, has had made as big of an impression on me as the Metal Gear Solid-series. The story of David (or as his codename states; Solid Snake) has made me think, care and reflect on things more than any book- or movie-series ever could. You see, Metal Gear Solid is no book. Neither is it a movie or a TV-show. No, Metal Gear Solid is a video game franchise, and a great one at that.
This may surprise you, as a lot of people see video games as mere kid's toys. Simple entertainment that only revolves around killing the most enemies or racing to the finish as fast as possible. What these people fail to realize is that video games are a medium, just like movies, books or music. It too can tell a story, it too can be art. And there is no better example than the Metal Gear Solid-series. Patriotism and loyalty, child soldiers, posttraumatic stress, genetic manipulation and the horrors of war are only a few of the themes the series touches on. It is not afraid to be controversial, different or ask the difficult questions. You are not rewarded for killing enemies in Metal Gear Solid, rather the contrary, you are advised to rather sneak past the enemy soldiers than to get in combat with them. Never in a game has there been as hard to kill a person as in Metal Gear Solid. Not because of the technical difficulty, because Snake is a top-trained elite soldier, and has got no problems dealing with killing if he has too. No, it's because of the way it makes you feel, the way it makes you think. Every enemy is given a personality, a life, so much so that it almost feels like you're killing something real when you do. In this way, MGS is revolutionary. You will not find this in any other game.
But like I said, MGS is not any ordinary game. It's more story driven, more character-based than most of the movies you see. Solid Snake, our main character, is one of the most humane characters you will ever find, whether it's in movies, books or video games. This man goes through more than anyone could ever handle, but his loyalty to his country, his quest to know more about his past and the feel of guilt he feels for all the things that happen are what keeps him going, what get's him through all of the hard times. And there are certainly enough of hard times. Snake gets tortured, beaten to a pulp, sees his loved ones die before his eyes or turn their backs on him. Rapid aging, the difficulties of dealing with the fact that he is not an ordinary man, but a clone of the greatest soldier who ever lived, Big Boss, basically making him a genetically built weapon for the US to use to their advantage, or the fact that he is injected with a deadly virus which he is immune to, making him a biological weapon of mass destruction, are also some of the things Snake has to deal with.
We follow Snake as he learns more about his past, his story and maybe more importantly, the story surrounding him. Through the games as we progress through time, there are different themes we deal with. In the first game we find out that Snake is a genetically built clone of his former boss, the great Big Boss. We also discover that Snake has a brother, Liquid Snake, who is obsessed with proving his worth, that he is not only a clone, and that he has the power to make the world tremble in fear. This is were we first encounter Metal Gear, a giant walking battle tank, with the ability to fire nuclear firearms from anywhere on the planet. With this, Liquid plans to create chaos and conquer the world. Of course it is up to Snake to stop him. What really makes this original is the issues Snake goes through with himself. Liquid is his brother, he is like him, they are one of the same. The thought that Snake very easily could have been just like Liquid is an important aspect of the series, and is something we regularly touch in on through the games.
Further on through the games, as we follow Snake's path, we for example find out that there is a third brother, named Solidus and that there is a top secret association called The Patriots controlling the economy, the warfare and the decisions of the different nations in the world. What really stands out to me is the third game, where you don't control Snake, you control his father, Jack, codenamed Naked Snake (he's not naked, don't worry) and later known as Big Boss, before the events of the other games.
While the other three games have storylines as thick and complex as three bibles, five lord of the rings and a couple of Harry Potter's mixed together, the third game is a little more down to Earth. Seeing as it's the start of the story, the game encounters other themes and questions. The game is set in Russia, in the middle of the cold war, and you play as the American elite soldier Naked Snake who is sent to Russia to recover the Russian nuclear scientist Dr. Vladimir Sokolov, to prevent him from producing a nuclear warhead for the Soviet. Through the start of the game, Snake's mentor, The Boss, who is like a mother to him, accompanies him on the mission, through the phone. The Boss is a legendary soldier, who played a huge part in World War II and was part of an elite group of soldiers called The Cobra Unit. After Snake finds Sokolov though, he is suddenly disconnected from her, and can no longer contact her. We soon figure out why, as Snake meets The Boss on a bridge. In her hands she holds two American made nuclear missiles. In a short time, The Boss grabs Sokolov, breaks Snake's arm and throws him over the bridge. She then proceeds to give the warheads to the Russian General Volgin, who fires one of the missiles against a Russian science factory. Seeing as this is in the middle of the cold war, this is considered as a world crisis, as The Boss made her way to Russia with American nuclear firearms to blow up a Russian science factory. The Boss had turned her back on the United States, because of their war ideology and how they used their soldiers, including her. America has no way of proving their innocence, and the world is on the verge of a new world war.
Snake is sent back to Russia with one objective. Kill The Boss. We later find out that The Boss actually never defected from the US, but actually was under orders to pretend to defect, to infiltrate the Soviet army and find something called The Philosopher's Legacy, with the last part of her mission being that she must die as a traitor, so the Soviet won't suspect the US. Snake is faced with an incredibly hard choice. Does he follow his mission and kill The Boss, his mentor and his friend? Or does he breach his orders, seeing as The Boss is basically used as bait to get The Philosopher's Legacy? All of her great accomplishments, everything she did for her country, no one will ever know, because she will always be remembered as the traitor that turned her back on the US and almost caused a new world war.
It's an incredibly hard choice, and I have no idea what I would have done if it was me. Snake ends up completing his mission, he kills The Boss, and when he comes back to the US he is welcomed as a hero, and is awarded the title Big Boss. He finds himself appalled of how the government does things, and eventually turns his back on the United States as well, which basically is the start of it all, and the reason for everything that happens in the other games. I think this is an impossibly hard question to answer, and really incredible storytelling. It really isn't easy to determine whether Snake made the right choice or not. In a so complex and difficult situation, is there really a right and a wrong choice? I don't know, but I do know that the Metal Gear Solid-series, and the third game in particular, taught me more about history, the English language, politics and ethics than any school-class ever did. I have learned more from these video games than anything else I've ever experienced, and I am very glad that I discovered them. I would not have been the same person without Metal Gear Solid.
For de som ikke skjønte det er dette en engelskoppgave jeg gjorde, nærmere bestemt Årsprøven i Engelsk i år. Regner med at de fleste ikke gadd å lese gjennom, men hvis du gjorde det vil jeg takke deg for din tid. Jeg føler det er viktig at folk forstår at spill ikke er noe annerledes enn film og bøker når det kommer til å fortelle en historie, så jeg ville skrive noe om det i denne oppgaven. Oppgaven handlet om vanskelige avgjørelser, jeg føler jeg kanskje skrev LITT vel mye om MGS, og litt for lite om vanskelige avgjørelser, men hva syns dere?
Konstruktiv kritikk settes stor pris på :)
Keep on truckin'!