By dankempster 13 Comments
Oh Dan, will you ever learn that writing these serial blogs isn't good for your health? Don't you remember the gruelling, demanding task of both playing video games and writing creatively for several hours a day when you spent A Month in Skyrim? And what about the long-running, still unfinished blogging behemoth that is Enduring Final Fantasy VII? Haven't these exercises in episodic bloggery taught you that the whole experience is seldom more than a mentally draining endeavour that saps one's will and wrecks one's sleep pattern, all for ultimately very little pay-off?
Apparently not, readers. Yep, I've decided to once again grab the serial blogging bull by the horns and dive into another episodic project, with all the reckless abandon and personal disregard that usually entails. This time I won't be looking back on a divisive JRPG classic, or converting my adventures in Tamriel into a daily diary. Instead, I'm tackling another of one of my most-revered gaming franchises - the Metal Gear saga. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the inaugural instalment of...
Episode .00 - Kept You Waiting, Huh?
Well folks, here we are once again - at the start of yet another of my crazy blogging concepts. My aim for this one is simple - to play every core game in the Metal Gear franchise within the thirty-one days that make up the month of May. I'll try to outline some of the finer points and offer my reasons for pursuing the challenge below.
Why Am I Doing This?
To be honest, I'm not completely sure what's possessed me to embark on this crazy gaming quest. I'm fairly confident that a big factor in the decision was my acquisition of my own PlayStation 3 back in March, a purchase which finally rendered me able to play every core Metal Gear game within the comfort of my own home. I've been eager to revisit the series, whether in whole or in part, for some time now, so that desire to spend some more time with Solid Snake is probably an influential reason as well. Another possible reason is the recent confirmation of Metal Gear Solid V, an announcement which made me keen to revisit the previous games in the series as a story refresher. As for why I'm deliberately limiting myself to the next thirty-one days, I can only say that clearly the only thing I like more than a challenge is alliteration.
Which Games Will I Be Playing?
My plan is to try and make it through every game I own which is recognised as being part of the core Metal Gear canon. As far as I'm aware, that includes all the games below:
- Metal Gear (MSX) - I'll be playing the version included as part of MGS3: Subsistence
- Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake (MSX) - again, this is the version bundled in with MGS3: Subsistence
- Metal Gear Solid (PS1) - I'll be playing the version available on the PlayStation Store. While I do own The Twin Snakes, this seems to be the version Kojima considers a truer telling of the Metal Gear story
- Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (PS2) - this will be the original PS2 release of the Substance version of the game, although I don't think I'll be playing through the Snake Tales episodes as I'm pretty sure they're not canonical
- Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (PS2) - specifically the PS2 release of the Subsistence version
- Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops (PSP) - the original release
- Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (PS3) - the original PS3 version of the game, with the Trophy patch installed
- Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker (PSP) - the original handheld version
That's eight games in total, so I'll need to be working through them at an average of about one game every four days. This shouldn't be too much of a problem for the home console titles, which are pretty long but can be sped through with a few days' worth of committed playing. Where I'll most likely run into problems is with the handheld games, which are split into smaller bite-sized missions but ultimately add up to a longer playing experience due to all the sub-mechanics at work. I'll be playing them in order of release, rather than in the order of the series' timeline, mainly to avoid any hugely jarring mechanical discrepancies between the games (leaping from Peace Walker into the original Metal Gear doesn't seem like it would be much fun). In the games with selectable difficulties I'll be playing on the default Normal difficulty, so as to avoid any major delays to progress that harder difficulties can cause.
How Often Will I Be Blogging?
Anybody put off by the daily updates that constituted A Month in Skyrim won't have to worry about that this time around. I'll only be blogging about a game once I've finished it, so if I manage to stick to the plan of roughly one game every four days, then you can expect blogs to be posted on a similar time frame. Even then, the resulting blogs probably won't be too long, most likely topping out at a few paragraphs each (mainly because I'm going to need to devote as much of my free time as possible to actually playing the damn games). Entries will most likely offer some brief notes on what I enjoyed or didn't enjoy about each game, whether I think the older games in the franchise hold up, and perhaps even some jokey statistics and awards.
In terms of other gaming, I've been a pretty busy boy since finishing up Telltale's The Walking Dead at the start of the month. I played BioShock Infinite, followed very closely by a return to Rapture with BioShock 2. I thoroughly enjoyed both games (Infinite more so than 2), and hope to write a blog shedding a bit more light on why in the coming days. Right now I'm caught tightly in the grip of Pokémon LeafGreen, a remake of the original Red and Blue games that's hitting all the nostalgic pleasure centres in my brain while being a little more bearable to look at than the crude monochromatic sprites on those old Game Boy carts. I've earned four of the game's eight badges so far, although I expect progress to slow a little in light of the initiation of Metal Gear May Madness. I've also invested in a copy of Pokémon SoulSilver, in the interest of continuing my adventures once I've mastered the Indigo League.
I hope you'll join me on this frankly insane quest to experience all of Kojima's crazy in as concentrated a form as possible. I'll be starting the original Metal Gear as soon as I get in from work tomorrow evening, so expect my first blog in the next few days, most likely this weekend. Thanks very much for reading, and I'll see you around.
Currently playing - Pokémon LeafGreen Version (GBA)