The Metal Gear Solid series of video games is the very definition of the word epic. The eleven games are all stand alone titles but together they tell a story that takes place across half a century. The ideas explored through the series could easily constitute a doctoral thesis in philosophy. The series developer, Hideo Kojima, has declared that the each game presents a theme which builds upon ideas in the previous game and he summed these up as follows: Gene -> Meme -> Scene -> Sense -> Peace -> Revenge -> Race.
How does one sum up such a vast panorama of thought encapsulated in gaming? How can such a tapestry of motifs be woven into a game that appears at first glance to be nothing more than an action game? It is certain that Mr Kojima anticipated the development of the series and planned for it to be his magnum opus. If you play all the games you will be made to consider the nature of identity and how society shapes individuals. You will have to seriously examine the ethics of genetic engineering, the nature of politics and nation building, the limits of the mind and hypotheses of epistemology. What is race? What is peace? Revenge is a behaviour that reduces the survival capability of the individual and the group, so why does it exist?
With the release of the last chapter of the series Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain perhaps many of these questions will be answered. Or maybe, like the work of many philosophers, this last title will leave the player pondering a slew of further problematic issues. Whatever the case, it is sure to be an entertaining title.
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