Comfortably set in the year 19XX (it could be happening now!), Kojima’s baby Metal Gear – the real originator of the stealth genre – sees new recruit Solid Snake enter the fortified state Outer Heaven to rescue fellow operative Grey Fox and destroy the mysterious Metal Gear, a bipedal WMD. Convoluted? Sure, but by 1987’s terms, the plot was the videogame equivalent of War and Peace (with necessary emphasis on the former).
Metal Gear shifted a major gaming paradigm when it was released, rewarding non-confrontational gameplay over the typical run-and-gun approach of the time. Enemies entered a high or low alert status when the player entered their line of sight, and the only way to rectify this was to defeat all enemies, or hide until the alert mode was switched off.
Interestingly, the American (NES) port of the game added timely references to the Grenada invasion, as well as a parodic reference to Libyan dictator Muammar al-Gaddafi, in the form of Colonel Vermon CaTaffy. Though overtly political, this was a pretty common change to make in the translation and localisation process. These days, while you’ll still see generic commando-versus-terrorists shmups, digs at specific nationalities are avoided, given the wider international markets and distribution channels available to developers.