'Metal Gear' Popularized Stealth Games (Because 80s Consoles Could Only Animate A Handful Of Bad Guys)

By:
Solid Snake

Konami

Even though it's pretty blatant in hindsight, most don't know that Hideo Kojima originally wanted to be a filmmaker. The mind behind the Metal Gear Solid series and the one Death Stranding game only made the jump to the video game industry when the movie thing didn't pan out. Interestingly, however, that wasn't even the only reinvention it took for him to get where he is now. Whereas Kojima revolutionized video games by creating the “cinematic” game genre with Metal Gear Solid because of his love for cinema, his original Metal Gear for the MSX2 created the stealth game genre just by virtue of technical limitations.

Oh yeah. While the original Metal Gear games looked far less inspired than the games in the ultra-sleek Metal Gear Solid series,

Metal Gear cover compared to Kyle Reese from Terminator

Konami, Paramount

They were only inspired in the sense that they were inspired by something. 

their revolutionary gameplay more than made up for it. In a world filled with Rambos and Contras, Metal Gear dared had to go sneaky. Konami originally tasked Kojima with creating an action game because the Rambo: First Blood video game was selling big – yes, Solid Snake is Kyle Reese and Rambo's bastard son, but there's an even more interesting story here. Metal Gear was just about to follow the money trail of another game, a strategy that would later do beautifully nightmarish wonders for Konami, but one that didn't exactly work out here. Konami wanted to make a game for the MSX2, a popular console at the time that just couldn't render many sprites at once. Ironically, putting more than a very small amount of enemies on screen would render them invisible, something that would've resulted in us getting a nightmarish reverse-stealth game even before we got the first regular stealth one. Kojima was smart enough to find a way around that, and instead of having the player go against an entire army all at once, it forced players to come up with ways to go around a smaller-but-hopefully-smarter bunch of guards.

The later games are completely different, so anyone interested in experiencing the essence of the MSX2 classic should consider playing Metal Gear: Ghost Babel, an improved version made possible by the much more powerful hardware of the… Nintendo Gameboy.

Neat Metal Gear cutscene in Ghost Babel

Konami

No joke. It really owns.

Top Image: Konami

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