Metal Gear Solid: The Phantom Pain is one of the best games of modern gaming and the series is on of the most notable series in history. Its based on a special militia agent who fights against terrorist who are looking to gain ultimate world power. Steam rated the game a 9 out of ten and Metarcritic rated it a 93%. Metal Gear is one of the most popular games in the gaming industry but does not seem to get as much criticism as other games. I stand by this game being a controversial game because of three main reasons that I will explain. Even though I love this game very much, I expected it to shake up the industry more than it did on the themes that were within this game.
The first controversial part of Metal Gear Solid is the way it project one of the main characters in this game. Quiet is a female assassin who specializes as a sniper. She also appear to be efficient in hand to hand combat. In this game, she wears attire thats very provocative. She wears military pants which signifies her strength as a warrior but for some reason throughout the whole game she happens to have only a braw on on top. By the way she is a slim blonde with big breast.
What makes Quiet attire so controversial is the fact that for one, her attire over expose her body. Two, her attire doesn’t change throughout the entire game, making it her permanent look. The fact is that women in all parts of media always seem to be portrayed in a provocative way. This phenomenon is so ingrained in our society, success for women has become synonymous to beauty and beauty has become synonymous to over exposure.
For instance in the hip hop genre women of who play different roles within the industry are always sexual. Nicki Minaj is a rap artist who in the beginning of her career tediously talked about how she wanted to be noticed for her musical skill before her sex appeal. She often says that one of her favorite artist is Lauren Hill (a neo soul artist who gained success but her music alone). Fast forward a couple years later, one of Nicki Minaj’s music video is considered one of the most controversial, because she and her back up dancers are dress in nothing but thong and draws dancing similar to strippers. But I don’t blame her, she is now one of the the most famous female celebrities today. Along with Kim Kardashian who became popular through a sex tape and Beyonce who most famous video involves her twerking. Coincidence?
In developing countries, war is apart of everyday life. Civil wars between ethnic and religious groups or rebellions against a powerful entity is prominent in areas of the Middle East and Africa. These types of wars spend years or even decades, which leads to a horrific phenomena. Since some wars has continued for generation and plan on continuing for generation in the future, the logical solution to keep growth of militia groups is to breed soldiers as children. Militia groups such as Isis, feel as though they are fighting for a cause so important, that it warrants the indoctrination and training of child soldiers to keep their groups strong in the future. Now that the Crips and Bloods in Los Angeles has existed for over 50 years, you can find this phenomena in the United States as well. In my opinion what makes this wrong more than anything else is that children at young ages are impressionable giving them no chance to make a decision of their own; even as adults.
Another section of this game that is very controversial is the presence of child soldiers. You can find child soldiers patrol premises, firing weapons, and or imprisoned in horrific conditions. The main character of Metal Gear, Solid Snake, encounters child soldiers and actually attempts to save them. This was surprising because Snake, is one of those secret agent emotionless and bitter due to the reality of war.
Metal Gear: The Phantom Pain goal was to bring light to the issues of child soldiers but its contradictory to the type of game play that this game takes on. The game offers an open world experience wear gamers can roam and interact with its surrounding. So even though child soldiers are implanted in a way to bring awareness, gamers not only have opportunity to kill child soldiers as they are roaming the game but there aren’t any penalty for it. This is very similar to Grand Theft Auto.
In the beginning of this game, the Snake has to escape from a hospital surround by soldiers who are gunning down innocent people. This scene is very graphic because the sounds of agony and fear is prominent. There is one scene where a is executed right in front of Snake and the game switches to 3rd person where the gamers is forced to look in the eyes of the victim. Another scene involves are group of about 20 patients are trap by soldiers on both sides of a hallway and are gunned down. The graphics and animation of this game makes it very disturbing.
The reason why this part of the game is so controversial is because it hits too close to home. From 1966 to 2012 nearly one third of all mass shooting occurred in the United States. In 2016 alone, over 90 massing shooting happen within this country. For a game to show mass shooting in such a realistic way is dangerous because the game can get in the wrong hands; either someone who is mentally disturbed/children. There has been debates over whether game can have a big impact on people to commit violent acts. But the debate becomes resolves when involving mentally disturbed people and children. Again children are very impressionable up to a certain age (go back to child soldiers section). And to finish the point, people have already admitted to killing because of playing video; in which suspect were mental evaluated.
In conclusion, Metal Gear Solid: The Phantom Pain is indeed a controversial game. The way is exposes Quiet is very provocative and furthers the standard of female portrayal in media is disturbing. The failed attempt to shed light on child soldiers in an open world was a huge mistake. And mass shootings in a graphic game is just outright dangerous. The interesting thing is that some of the themes within the game has appeared in other the games in the past. Grand Theft Auto has been criticize faithfully for its mass shooting. Fight games such as Dead or Alive has been outed for the way they portray women. I can’t think of an instance, where child soldiers were implanted in a open world but that didn’t even get publicity as much as it should. So the question is if controversy is based on the content AND the plot of games? Is sex, violence and drugs acceptable in a war story more than it is in a gang story? In the film industry, storytellers don’t dare touch on mass shooting of the innocent….. But Apocalypse Now did. Think about it.