We Live in Metal Gear Now

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Back at the start of this wack millennium, a video-game developer named Hideo Kojima created Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. To try to summarize it here would be a mistake, but it was an absurd and only semi-coherent depiction of what modern warfare would turn into — a struggle of the control and flow of information. Kojima, it turns out, was a genius at least a decade ahead of his time. This was a video game in 2002, talking about memes explicitly.

Metal Gear and its cast of characters, like Solid Snake and Colonel Roy Campbell, are gaming icons, and the series’s worldview has been validated a few times as the world continues to spin off its axis. So when Robert Mueller’s indictment came out last week, alleging that Russian nationals used the World Wide Web to spread disinformation and stoke upheaval in America, it was not difficult to look at it and say, “Oh, that’s Metal Gear,” as New York Times reporter Dave Itzkoff did.

Among the people who caught the comparison was Paul Eiding, the voice actor who portrays Colonel Campbell in Metal Gear, and as a favor to all of us, he recorded the indictment in Campbell’s voice. It really does sound like a Kojima script.

A coda to this fun internet thing: Yesterday, series publisher Konami released Metal Gear Survive, the newest game in the saga. According to the game’s end-user license agreement, players cannot “[c]ampaign for Pre-election campaign, campaign or participate in politics or other similar acts” via the software. The simulation is folding in on itself.

We Live in Metal Gear Now