DGC Ep 097: Metal Gear Solid (part one)

Welcome to Dev Game Club, where we are beginning our new series on 1998's Japanese stealth classic Metal Gear Solid. We first situate the game in its time, including some personal reminiscences of how we first came to the title, before turning to the stealth gameplay, the cutscenes, and other topics. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Sections played:
Up through Revolver Ocelot

Podcast breakdown:
0:48       Segment 1: MGS in time, Beginning of game
1:03:54  Break
1:04:27  Email/Feedback

Issues covered: crawling around in ducts, constantly reaching for your phone, previous games in the series, Brett's first year in the industry, good years in games, influences in American film and TV, melodrama and pulp, wholesale commitment to stealth, demo disc for the gaming, preferring systemic games, pre-rendered cutscenes vs in-engine, Carpenter influences (percussion, minimalistic, and synthy), constant camera movement in the cutscenes, choosing CGI vs in-engine (pros and cons), design considerations for streaming video, pixel density/differences in cutscene vs gameplay, being able to tweak a cutscene until right before you ship, setting mood and art direction, camera choice and having a sense of your surroundings, fitting the map to the camera, comparisons with Thief, tactical espionage and choosing the camera to fit, committing to stealth as a primary mechanic, creative risk in the commitment, high lethality and bouncing off, softening failure, unfortunate sexism, Asian influence as far as character choices, introducing the Cold War/extended peace issues, melodrama and big story choices, divisiveness of exposition, tapping walls as a mechanic, good level design choices, out-sized boss characters, solid introductions, allowing the industry to ask whether we can put ourselves forward in this way, breaking the fourth wall puzzle for the CD case, level design writing checks that your camera can't cash, nostalgia as a factor in appreciating a game, hunting through history for Brett's crazy memory, the cut worlds from Anachronox.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussed: Die Hard, Hideo Kojima, NES, Alex Neuse, PlayStation, Half-Life, Starcraft, Fallout 2, LoZ: Ocarina of Time, Banjo-Kazooie, Rogue Squadron, Thief: The Dark Project, Rainbow Six, Spyro the Dragon, Final Fantasy Tactics, Kotaku Splitscreen, Kirk Hamilton, Kurt Russell, Michael Biehn, Terminator, Randy Smith, Ken Levine, Daron Stinnett, Atari, Sega, Nintendo 64, Final Fantasy VII, Tomb Raider (1996), Anachronox, LucasArts, John Carpenter, The Thing, Jackie Chan, Alan Stevens, Super Mario 64, Super Mario Odyssey, Super Mario Sunshine, Game Informer, Aaron Evers, Tom Hall, Planet Anachronox, GameSpy, Jake Hughes, Ronald Railgun, Phil Rosehill, Awesome Games Done Quick, MGS: Twin Snakes, GameCube.

Promo video for Anachronox

Speedrun description of Anachronox

Speedrun of PC MGS

The PS1 did indeed have some hardware support.

Next time:
Through the first Sniper Wolf encounter

@brett_douville, @timlongojr, and @devgameclub