Each month the Cinelinx staff will write a handful of articles covering a specified video game-related topic. These articles will be notified by the Gamerlinx banner. Gamerlinx, like our Movielinx counterpart, is an exploration and discussion of our personal connections with the world of gaming. This month our Gamer’s Club is putting the spotlight on Sony’s seminal console, the PlayStation 1, so for Gamerlinx we wanted take a look at the best first-party Sony games to have ever been release (through all generations).
I’ll be honest with you, while I was a Sega fan, I was still rather young when the first MGS title released on PSOne. I don’t remember much about hype or anticipation about the reveal. I wasn’t too engaged in gaming journalism just yet so I don’t know a lot about what the industry was saying at the time. What I can tell you is that it all started with a demo disc.
Back in 1998 the internet wasn’t as strong as it is today, and by no means did we have strong social networking skills. We did things the old fashioned way, we went to friends houses and borrowed games. We also had something called demo discs back then. The demo discs were often attached to magazines, or mailed to you as part of something like PlayStation Underground. The disc included several demos of games and advertisements to buy these games. I received one that had MGS on it. It had the entire first part of the game as the demo, right up until the point of sneaking through the vent to enter the first building. I played this demo more times than I can count, which caused my friends to see, then they played it a billion times, and it cycled. Then something amazing happened, one of them bought the game.
Then it cycled between us all, before eventually we all purchased the game. We were in amazement by the footsteps in the snow, distracting enemies with noised, and the breathtaking cutscenes full of emotion. The game felt huge as you wandered around Shadow Moses. Then we all suddenly became David Hayter by making our voices deep and pretending to be Snake while sneaking around our houses. We were not alone as the game went on to sell over 6 million units, along with becoming the most rented game ever.
In a way this alone was something not many developers could ever accomplish. We were 90’s gamers, we loved smashing buttons in Mortal Kombat or riding around a Skate Park in Tony Hawk. The idea of us all sitting there, listening to a story, and playing a game about stealth would seem unthinkable to my group. Yet there we were, telling each other to stop shooting and do more sneaking. When someone asked “didn’t you beat it already?” we all replied “so?”
Metal Gear Solid brought the stealth game to life. Instead of running around in first person view, or shooting everything in site, Kojima took a new approach. How about going into a mission unarmed, and making sounds or alarms seem like the enemy? Stealth was born.
Kojima set out to “make the best PlayStation game ever” and by far he achieved it. He went to training, he asked military members for advice, and went to great lengths to put a lot of detail in the game. MGS by itself marks a transition in gaming. It went from arcade fun to having a realistic tone to it, and it did it successfully which lead to future games following suit. MGS also pushed new boundaries with 3D designs, big open areas, and of course new sneaking mechanics.
The game also helped keep Sony in the boat for advanced technology. Sony took a gamble by breaking off from Nintendo to make a CD based console with more horsepower behind it. This lead to Kojima making MGS exclusive to PSOne. Of course in the future it will branch off to other consoles, but for the most part MGS is known as a PlayStation exclusive. We had the debate as a Cinelinx group as to rather or not to include it, and we decided we will.
Metal Gear is known for pushing boundaries, and it did right from the start. Every new title does something unique and ground breaking, and it all started on PlayStation. The original theme song, seeing Meryl, and even reading her codec number off the box are all some of the many memories every 90s gamer will have. This is why MGS is one of Sony’s greatest PlayStation Exclusives ever!