Tuesday, October 27, 2015

TUNE TUES! HERE'S TO YOU KOJIMA-SAN!



Hideo Kojima, creator and creative mind behind the Metal Gear Solid franchise, might be the best or closest example of an auteur in the medium called "video games".

What is an "auteur"?

An auteur, literally French for "author", is the term traditionally applied to a filmmaker whose creative vision, personal ideals, and artistic control over a film are so great that they are regarded as the author of the work. This term is taken further in discussions of the medium so that, while often there are many hands and minds behind any given film project or projects, this auteur is credited as the true author of the works.

For example, Alfred Hitchcock's style permeates his films to the point where his creative vision is at the forefront and the films he worked on are regarded as "Hitchcock films".

In discussion of film, the term auteur is usually not awarded by critics to just any prolific director; they are afforded to directors with a catalog of film's sharing distinctive traits, from the dreamscapes of Akira Kurosawa to quirky storybook worlds of Wes Anderson, the works of an auteur make up their own world or idealogy. In short, they are a reflection of their creator's vision.

While some independent games are the sole work of a single creative, or a few, AAA titles like Bungie's Destiny or whatever Assassin's Creed game just came out, are the works of dozens of artists, writers, animators, programmers, testers, etc. to the point where Credit sequences in these games take on the lengths of short films. And yet, while the Metal Gear Solid series is the work of so many individuals, no one, besides perhaps Konami, would try to argue that the series wasn't Hideo Kojima's.

The series builds a dramatic world constructed from James Bond action fodder, giant robot anime, Italian spaghetti westerns, military vehicle model construction, geopolitical history, conspiracy theories, etc. that are all reflections of the things Kojima finds cool and come together into some simultaneously beautiful, gruesome, overwrought, genuine, fashionable and dorky creation that is uniquely "metal gear".

The conceits of the series can be rather striking in their contradiction, such as the inclusion of Metal Gear Solid: Rising Revengeance, a game that stands out from the other series by following a protagonist who seems to revel in dicing his enemies into tiny bits with a giant samurai sword, while also having a disturbing subplot about saving child soldiers from being coopted into cyborg killing machines. In a game where a ridiculously hard to miss cyborg samurai wears a sombrero and a poncho as a disguise, we're shortly thereafter greeted with a horrific collection of floating orphan brains in jars, still conscious as their eyes follow you across the room, and meant to illicit legitimate feelings of horror. I realize some might complain about the inclusion of Rising Revengeance in my little rant here but it illustrates, perhaps better than anything, what is "metal gear" and what is "Kojima-esque".

It revels in the ridiculous and yet, somehow, comes out the other side as something that is genuinely thought provoking and cool. Metal Gear is unique and it is depressing to think MGSV may be the last chapter.


Uh, well, I just gave you guys like a quick sloppy essay to try and explain my feelings about Metal Gear. So um, here is this and:


Go watch Rick and Morty.

That is all.

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