Paradigm Shifts: Videogames as postmodern media

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Paradigm Shifts: Videogames as postmodern media By Michael McKenny

Student Number: 0401588 Project supervisor: Martin Flanagan Full Award Title: Business Studies joint with Film Studies

A dissertation presented for BA(hons) Film Studies Department of Arts, Media and Education The University of Bolton May 2009


INTRODUCTION......................................................................... 3 The ascent of videogames as a medium.................................................. 3 Videogames as postmodern media.......................................................... 3 The term: Videogame................................................................................. 4

POSTMODERNISM..................................................................... 5 An elusive concept..................................................................................... 5 An escape from modernity’s grand narratives........................................ 6 Simulation, hyperreality and postmodern identity.................................. 6 Baudrillard’s critics: A split in academia................................................. 7 Between the modern and the postmodern: A tool for change.............. 8 Postmodernism and videogames............................................................. 9

VIDEOGAME STUDIES.............................................................. 10 The debate between ‘narratolgy’ and ‘ludology’..................................... 10 Between the narrative and the ludic......................................................... 11 Videogames as ‘new media’: Convergence............................................. 13

A POSTMODERN READING OF NEO-GRAMSCIAN HEGEMONY…………………………………………….................. 14 Hegemony’s relevance to new media....................................................... 15 Videogames’ contribution to postmodern hegemony............................ 16

VIDEOGAMES AS POSTMODERN MEDIA: ILLUSTRATIVE EXAMPLES...................................................... 16 Identity in online gaming: Fragmented and multiple.............................. 17 The space between gaming: X-Box Live and Playstation Network.. 18 Resident Evil 5.................................................................................. 19 Identity play as liberation.................................................................. 20 1

Simulated worlds and moral ambiguity................................................... 20 Grand Theft Auto IV.......................................................................... 21 Fable II.............................................................................................. 21 The existing need for narratology: Comparing Fable II and Grand Theft Auto IV................................................................... 22

METAL GEAR SOLID 2: SONS OF LIBERTY........................... 24 Introduction................................................................................................ 24 Plot synopsis............................................................................................. 25 The Hollywood videogame....................................................................... 26 Fragmented identity.................................................................................. 27 The player’s introjection.................................................................... 27 The characters.................................................................................. 27 Raiden’s multiple identities............................................................... 28 The individual’s little narrative................................................................. 29 Simulation.................................................................................................. 30 Self-reflexive criticism....................................................................... 30 The game’s interface........................................................................ 30 Colonel Campbell: An artificial intelligence....................................... 31 The ‘real’ world................................................................................. 31 The Patriots as grand narrative................................................................ 32 The digital age of postmodernity............................................................. 32 Morally ambiguous resolution.................................................................. 33 A postmodernism of resistance............................................................... 34

CONCLUSION............................................................................ 35 GAMEOGRAPHY....................................................................... 37 BIBLIOGRAPHY........................................................................ 38



The ascent of videogames as a medium In this early part of the twenty first century, the medium of videogames appears to be growing into a level of maturity as it moves out of the fringes of society and into the realms of popular culture; this can be marked through the financial impact of key tent pole releases in a similar way to the Hollywood film model (see Blakely 2007), or through statistical information regarding videogames’ increasing share of society’s leisure time; this was noted in an unaccredited article in The Independent: “In 2008, global revenue from computer games reached £22.2bn, enough to overtake DVD sales for the first time” (18.03.2009). The evolution of new such forms of communicating a narrative has profound implications for society, as Marshall McLuhan speculates: “Societies have always been shaped more by the nature of the media by which men [and women] communicate than by the content of the communication” (McLuhan and Fiore 1996: 8). Just as the inception of film or the mass adoption of television have now been highly documented in terms of their impact on society, there is a growing trend in academia to fully understand the impact and influence of ‘gaming’.1

Videogames as postmodern media Miroslaw Filiciak declares that “[video]games are the medium that most perfectly describe our existence and express the way the human ‘self’ functions in the contemporary world” (2003: 101). The ‘contemporary world’ described here is one 1

‘Gaming’ is the verb given to the leisurely interaction of an individual and a videogame, which can encompass using, playing or consuming. It is comparable to viewing a film or reading a novel, yet of course this is problematic as the term ‘reading’ can be applied to any text regardless of its medium. It is suggested by Barry Atkins in his book More Than a Game: The computer game as fictional form (2003) that a videogame can be read as a text (referred to by Atkins as a game-fiction) in the same way as a novel or a film.


of postmodernity, therefore postmodern theory will be consulted in order to understand the significance of videogames as a medium. The limits of a postmodern approach will be determined and possible solutions suggested. This approach will be illustrated and clarified by consulting a number of factors to be identified as inherent to videogames: fragmented identity, simulated worlds and moral ambiguity. Further to this, a textual analysis of Hideo Kojima’s Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (Konami 2001) will show how this videogame showcases postmodern characteristics in its gameplay and utilises its narrative elements in such a way that enable it to be defined as a postmodern text.2

The term: videogame The terms ‘videogame’, ‘video game’ and ‘computer game’ are used interchangeably throughout the academic field. This essay will use the term ‘videogame’, which is more specific to home console gaming, whereas ‘computer game’ is more associated with PC gaming.3 This essay looks to study videogames’ impact on popular culture and mass media; although PC usage has become part of mass culture, PC gaming is still associated with subcultures, as Steven Poole highlights: “PC-based videogames are far less popular than consolebased [sic] ones” (2007: 345). The omission of a space between video and game, although it is a subtle change, makes ‘videogame’ a more complete entity and emphasises that it is its own medium.


Gameplay is the way in which the player interacts with the text. Games consoles are machines that have the prime function of facilitating the play of videogames, as opposed to personal computers (PCs) where playing a videogame is merely one of many functions. Consoles are increasingly becoming multipurpose interactive hubs (this will be developed later), but at this moment in time, their prime function is gaming. 3



An elusive concept The concept of postmodernism has been highly contested in its short history; it has been used in a wide variety of contexts and situations. Due to this widespread use and its infection into so many discourses, it has been difficult to ground, which John Storey (1998) explains, leads some to imply that it has no meaning; inspired by Dick Hebdige, he believes quite the contrary to this: “When a term has entered so many debates and discourses, it must be articulating something fundamental” (1998: 345). In order to use the term with any degree of confidence and clarity in this work, it is important to dissect what has been written about it; what seem to be its fundamental values and in what way these values can be useful to the study of videogames in contemporary society. Douglas Kellner articulates the difference between some of the terms used when referring to the postmodern; differentiating the terms from their modern equivalents, he distinguishes between “modernity and postmodernity, as two different historical eras; between modernism and postmodernism, as two different aesthetic and cultural styles; and between modern and postmodern theory as two different theoretical discourses” (1995: 46). Therefore in the context of videogames in contemporary society, it could be argued that we are in an age of postmodernity; it is possible to see elements of postmodernism in the medium of videogames; so the industry and individual texts can be analysed using postmodern theory.


An escape from modernity’s grand narratives Whilst separating these terms, Kellner is introducing the idea that the postmodern is essentially a break from the modern - the value systems and structures that have guided society and culture since the enlightenment. Jean-François Lyotard (1979) explains that this era was dominated by imposing sets of values, which he describes as grand narratives, or metanarratives. These grand narratives create subjects out of individuals and force them to identify within their narrow boundaries.4 He is explicit in his assertion that postmodern theory represents the breakdown of these imposing sets of values: “I define postmodern as incredulity toward metanarratives” (1979: xxiv). Lyotard proposes that in place of these metanarratives are many little narratives that compete in the creation of culture and meaning, leaving a greater possibility for a more equal society. This ‘incredulity toward metanarratives’ seems to be at the very heart of the postmodern condition and informs many other definitions or interpretations.

Simulation, hyperreality and postmodern identity Another postmodern pioneer from this early period was Jean Baudrillard, who believes that a third-order simulacrum has created an implosion of the traditional (modern) subject position: “The whole traditional model of causality is brought into question... the distinction between cause and effect, between active and passive, between subject and object, between ends and means” (1983: 55). He explains that this occurs from the implosion of the two poles of object and subject - the rigid system that defined the modern era. It is here where his views intersect with those 4

Lyotard gives, as examples of grand narratives: Organised religion such as Christianity; or the focal point of his attacks: Marxism. These are simply two examples, but any system that imposes its values on society would be regarded as a grand narrative.


of Lyotard; that postmodernity marks a new era, distanced from the fixed subject position that grand narratives impose. The significance, in light of this implosion is that individuals now possess a greater freedom to develop their own belief system through free identity play, in order to create their own position (little narrative). Baudrillard defines this third-order simulacrum as an implosion of meaning, leaving








psychological, media domain, where the distinction between poles can no longer be maintained, one enters into simulation” (1983: 57). He further defines simulation as “the generation by models of a real without origin or reality: a hyperreal” (1983: 2).

Baudrillard’s critics: A split in academia Baudrillard has been a significantly controversial figure in the postmodern debate; the controversy is derived from his interpretation of the society that follows this implosion of meaning. By suggesting that meaning implodes, he is proposing a flat and empty society that has no space for political economy. He explains that during modernity, political and economic discourse has become inseparable and proposes that the two are now (in an age of postmodernity) also inseparable from the (mass) media. This convergence of language between the economic and the political is furthermore what marks a society such as ours, where ‘political economy’ is fully realised. It is also by the same token its end, since the two spheres are abolished in an entirely separate reality, or hyperreality, which is that of the media. (Baudrillard 1983: 125)


Baudrillard’s conclusion that the hyperreality of the media is political economy’s end, leads his vision of postmodernism toward nihilism and to a society void of meaning. It is here where the rupture in academia occurs, as this view is challenged in favour of the belief that an erosion of the traditional system is a new opportunity for positive change. This criticism is not only directed toward Baudrillard, but to the whole theory of an unfettered postmodernism. The use, therefore, of postmodernism is questioned by Barbara Creed: “Any attempt to speak from a ‘place’ is immediately rendered problematic by the fact that one of the positions central to postmodernism is that there are no places left from which to speak – there are no ‘Truths’, ‘Beliefs’, or ‘Positions’” (1998: 364). This diminishes postmodern theory’s ability to lead somewhere or propose a change to the system that its proponents claim it has eradicated, which would explain why Baudrillard believed that it led to a flat and empty society. This problem of postmodernism’s use was, in part, acknowledged by Lyotard’s ‘game theory’:5 “Game theory, we think, is useful, in the same sense that any sophisticated theory is useful, namely as a generator of ideas” (Anatol Rapoport cited in Lyotard 1979: 60).

Between the modern and the postmodern: A tool for social change This rupture is where the idea enters the discourse, that the explosive energy and revolutionary fervour of postmodernism can be used to challenge (as opposed to eradicate) established structures; it can inject new life into cultural theory that was established during the modern era, creating a hybrid of modern and postmodern theory. This was posited by Kellner’s (1995) interpretation of Antonio Gramsci’s 5

Lyotard (1979) insists that all language is constructed of games, where moves are made by different players. The rules are constantly in flux and are set explicitly or implicitly by the interaction of the players.


theory of hegemony, which will be further developed later. Kellner was led to this hybrid approach by a determination to use postmodern theory as a contributor to social change, rather than merely a means for analysing image: Against such a formalist and anti-hermeneutical postmodern type of analysis connected with the postulation of a flat, postmodern image culture, I would advocate a cultural studies which draws on postmodern and other critical theories in order to analyze both image and meaning, surface and depth. (Kellner 1995: 236) In light of this approach, Baudrillard’s conclusion that simulation leads to a flat and empty society can be re-evaluated. Instead, a position can be taken whereby simulation is recognised as a characteristic of postmodern society, but rather than destroying meaning, it encourages individuals to embrace the simulated hyperreality that they are presented with. Individuals are then free to play with their identity, taking full advantage of the (steady) erosion of the oppressive subjectobject positions imposed throughout modernity.

Postmodernism and videogames Simulation becomes important when analysing videogames, due to the interactive worlds that players are presented with. The implosion of the subject-object position, which this causes, along with Lyotard’s theory of grand narratives being broken down, will inform the broad analysis of videogames as a medium and the specific analysis of individual texts. Add to this the fusion with accepted, established and helpful theories of cultural criticism (Kellner’s revision of neoGramscian hegemony), and the importance of videogames to society can be assessed.



The debate between ‘narratology’ and ‘ludology’ The study of videogames has been largely dominated by a debate between narratology and ludology; that is the debate surrounding whether videogames are an evolution of established narrative forms, or if they are a revolutionary rupture that demand an entirely new analytical model. This sounds distinctly reminiscent of the argument laid out above, between the revolution/evolution of the postmodern over the modern. Ganzala Frasca embodies the ludologist’s approach: “Video games imply an enormous paradigm shift for our culture because they represent the first complex simulational media for the masses” (2003: 224). He expands upon his use of the term simulation, explaining that its significance for videogame studies is that the player, unlike the fixed (modern) subject, can influence the activity and therefore outcome of the action.6 By proposing such a rupture, the ludologists claim that traditional narrative theories of representation are redundant, and that a new approach is required to address the issues of simulation. Julian Kücklich represents the emphasis on narratology and believes that videogames are a different, evolved form of narrative text, but narrative text none the less: “While it seems obvious that computer games fall into the category of games, which is notoriously hard to define, many of them


Jan Simons made an important point regarding language: “Much depends, of course, on your definitions of narrative and simulation, which, in turn, depend on the language game you’re in and the moves you want to make” (2007). This was in response to the ludologists defining simulation as the ability to influence the outcome of the game. Simons suggests that this is not necessarily a trait of simulation; that scientists often use simulated situations, that once implemented are not manipulated. Further still, Baudrillard’s simulation is not as confined and limited as the ludologiest’s interpretation; for Baudrillard, simulation encompasses all semiotic relations in a postmodern age of hyperreality.


transcend this category by virtue of their ability to tell a story” (2003).7 It is this position that Frasca attacks, defining a ludologist as “someone who is against the common assumption that videogames should be viewed as extensions of narrative” (Frasca 2003: 222).

Between the narrative and the ludic An unfettered ludic approach comes under the same criticism as does postmodernism; Jan Simons attacks this position, stating that the ludologist’s “arguments are ideologically motivated rather than theoretically grounded, and don’t hold up against closer scrutiny” (2007). He concedes the benefits of a ludic approach, but like Kellner for postmodernism, he insists that this does not mean that established theories – in this case narrative analysis - are redundant. This position would claim Frasca’s statement above, to be more appropriate if it read ‘against the common assumption that videogames should only be viewed as extensions of narrative’. Simons scrutinises the limits of freedom that the ludologists’ ‘simulation’ brings, proposing that narrative stories are confined by the author, only “as much as computer-generated simulations are constrained by the algorithms written by the designer of the model” (2007). This shows the limits of a ludic approach and the limits to the (often proposed) freedom offered within videogames.8 A similar conclusion to the one reached above, for postmodernism becomes apparent; the unfettered ludic approach is essential for – like Lyotard’s game theory - ‘generating ideas’. The ludologist’s move in this game is to disrupt the status quo, which prompts a counter move from those fully in support of 7

It is important to note that this story (or narrative) may be very basic, but it is still a narrative. This is highlighted by such examples as Space Invaders (Midway 1978), which tells the story of the need to destroy invaders (the cultural other), and Pac-Man (Namco 1980) can be read as the incessant need to consume. 8 An increasing selling point for videogames is the freedom to explore the world that is constructed in the gamespace. This will be analysed later in light of Grand Theft Auto IV and Fable II.


narrative theory. From this, a well rounded debate is facilitated, including viewpoints between the extremes of the spectrum, which is the position taken by Jon Dovey and Helen Kennedy: [W]e are in some sense immersing ourselves in the simulated world. Yet the simulated world deploys a representation as its fundamental interface; representation is our means of accessing the simulation of the rule-governed world. (Dovey and Kennedy 2006: 10) This is an example specific to videogames, yet is distinctly like how a hybrid of modern/postmodern theory would access Baudrillard’s simulation and hyperreality through the real;9 thus emphasising the parallels between the discourse of postmodernism and that of videogame studies. As was the case in the postmodern debate, this compromise is where the most useful approach is found; to appreciate that videogames are a radical break from established narrative forms, but established narrative theory must still be applied as videogames possess narrative functions. This compromise was adopted by the critics of Cahiers du Cinema, itself renowned for bringing youthful energy to established academia (particularly in the 1960s, in the era of the nouvelle vague). In a September 2002 issue dedicated to videogames, Erwan Higiguinen and Charles Tesson illustrate this balance: Video games are not only a social phenomena, they are the essential cross roads of a redefinition of our relation to the narrative world in images, prolonging what Godard had formulated (“A film: Between the active and the passive, between the actor and the spectator”). (Higiguinen and Tesson cited in Wolf and Perron 2003: 8)


If models only refer to other models, some model must have derived from the real. Alternatively, if there really is only the hyperreal, then this becomes the new default; the new norm, and therefore the equivalent of the real.


This statement appreciates that videogames represent a cross roads, signifying that they are a new area to analyse, but rather than being an entirely new concept, they represent an evolution of the active spectator that already exists in narrative studies. This use of other media, to contextualise videogame studies is a common approach and will be elaborated upon below.

Videogames as ‘new media’: Convergence Seen as an extension of narrative theory’s active spectator, videogames and their critical discourse have been embraced by ‘new media’. Espen Aarseth, a ludologist, reads this embrace as an incarceration: “To make things more confusing, the current pseudo-field of "new media" (primarily a strategy to claim computer-based communication for visual media studies), wants to subsume computer games as one of its objects” (2001). Henry Jenkins’ (2008) theory of ‘convergence culture’ justifies this ‘subsuming’, proposing that new media has not made any attempt to claim computer-based communication; rather he suggests that all media are ‘converging’: Convergence represents a paradigm shift – a move from mediumspecific content toward content that flows across multiple media channels, toward the increased interdependence of communications systems, toward multiple ways of accessing media content, and toward ever more complex relations between top-down corporate media and bottom-up participatory culture. (Jenkins 2008: 254) He proposes that although convergence is brought about due to the pace of technological development, it is fundamentally about people’s perceptions and different ways of connecting; technology is merely the enabler. Jenkins appreciates that this is a result of the transgression from modernity to 13

postmodernity; he cites the science-fiction writer Bruce Sterling, agreeing with his remarks that “[t]he centralised, dinosaurian one-to-many media that roared and trampled through the twentieth century are poorly adapted to the postmodern technological environment” (Sterling cited in Jenkins 2008: 13).10

A POSTMODERN READING OF NEO-GRAMSCIAN HEGEMONY The prevalence of this increasingly bottom-up participatory culture within the production of media calls upon Kellner’s (1995) insistence on using postmodern theory fused with established cultural studies in order to understand its implications for society. In doing so, Kellner takes a neo-Gramscian position to explain how an increasingly bottom-up creation of popular culture gives the masses (as opposed to the privileged few) a greater influence – via hegemony on the creation of established culture. Dominic Strinati sets Gramsci’s theory of hegemony apart from a traditional Marxist model of society, where classes are clearly defined, rigid and non-negotiable: [I]t is perhaps best to think of hegemony as a contested and shifting set of ideas by means of which dominant groups strive to secure the consent of subordinate groups to their leadership, rather than as a consistent and functional ideology working in the interests of a ruling class by indoctrinating subordinate groups. (Strinati 1995: 170-171) The neo-Gramscian model’s move away from the dominance of grand narratives, whilst appreciating political economy, illustrates the convergence of modern and


Jenkins takes slight issue with the articulation of this; he claims that the ‘media’ is the information produced, and that this has not changed. What has changed and cannot adapt is the delivery technology. A contemporary example is that print papers (The Guardian) are in declining demand compared to their web based equivalents (Guardian Unlimited), where anyone can comment on an article, thus promoting this participatory culture (see Mayes 2006). Both deliver the same information, therefore are the same form of media, yet they are implemented by different delivery technologies.


postmodern theory proposed by Kellner. He highlights hegemony’s relevance to this approach: [It] has no guarantees, no teleologies, no grand narrative of emancipation, no totalizing or reductive discourses of politics... no home or solid basis from which to struggle, but still holds on to the hope that new solidarities, new forms of struggles, will emerge. (Kellner 1995: 45) These new solidarities and struggles will emerge because hegemony is – as Strinati defined above - a ‘contested and shifting set of ideas’. Strinati explains that this occurs because “[h]egemony operates culturally and ideologically through the institutions of civil society which characterise liberal-democratic, capitalist societies” (1995: 168).

Hegemony’s relevance to new media This interpretation opens the contest of cultural creation to the many little narratives of which ‘civil society’ is comprised. Further still, Strinati establishes that mass-media and popular culture are increasingly dominant elements of ‘civil society’, which in turn, it has been established is increasingly represented by the participatory nature of new media (including videogames). To put this another way; the masses of little narratives influence the creation of new media, which comprises an increasing proportion of popular culture; through hegemony, this popular culture (part of ‘civil society’) influences established culture, thus creating a bottom-up as opposed to top-down creation of culture and meaning in society.


Videogames’ contribution to postmodern hegemony Dovey and Kennedy’s position shows the relevance of videogames to this process. They apply to them, Victor Turner’s anthropological theory of liminoid spaces, which they define as “[t]he special time and space of play” (2006: 34). They propose that this space is “not just a source of creativity but also a site for the generation of alternative social orders, for political interventions, for utopian imaginings” (2006: 35). Through this reading, not only are new media and convergence culture making it easier for individuals to influence mass media, individuals are, through videogame play, learning how to form their own positions (little narratives). This utopian viewpoint is adopted by Jenkins: “Right now, we are learning how to apply these new participatory skills through our relation to commercial entertainment” (2008: 257); yet when these skills are developed, and individuals come to expect their right to participate in the creation of meaning, then “participation becomes an important political right” (2008: 268).

VIDEOGAMES AS POSTMODERN MEDIA: ILLUSTRATIVE EXAMPLES It has already been established that postmodernism is such an abstract phenomena that it is often difficult to ground and define, therefore it is helpful to take Kellner’s advice (which is in turn influenced by Hebdige) that “‘it is only by grounding our analysis in the study of particular images and objects’ that we can overcome the limitations of the highly theoretical discourses of the past decades and ‘the vertigo of postmodernism’ (Kellner 1995: 45). Therefore it is important to take the theory that has been outlined above and illustrate its relevance with examples taken from the videogame medium.


Identity in online gaming: Fragmented and multiple The postmodern lifestyle is featured by lack of cohesion; it is fragmented. The postmodern man’s [and woman’s] personality is not quite definite, its final form is never reached, and it can be manipulated. We receive no implied form of our ‘self’, but, instead, we construct it incessantly. (Bauman citied in Filiciak 2003: 94) This evaluation of postmodern identity by Zygmunt Bauman, is supported by Kellner’s belief that “[t]he notion of a ‘player’... provides clues to the nature of postmodern identity (1995: 242). This need to ‘incessantly construct’ ones ‘fragmented’ identity through ‘play’, is clearly abundant in online gaming. Filiciak, in his essay on ‘hyperidentity’ in ‘massively multiplayer online role-playing games’ (MMORPGs)11, stated that “[d]igital media, video games included, enable us – for the first time in history on such a scale – to manipulate our ‘selves’ and to multiply them indefinitely” (2003: 88). In videogames, the player (subject) is able to control the avatar’s actions and the pace of the text; 12 functions which in film, would be determined by the director, the cinematographer or the editor. Due to this control, when considering how the subject (player) identifies with the characters, the representation used in narrative theory must be elaborated upon. It was established by Dovey and Kennedy that the space in which the game-fiction’s narrative takes place is simulated and that simulation is presented through representation. Filiciak gives his interpretation of the implications this has on identification within videogames:


Filiciak defines MMORPGs as “any computer network-mediated games in which at least one thousand players are role-playing simultaneously in a graphical environment” (2003: 87). 12 The avatar is the character that the player controls within the gamespace.


The process of secondary identification taking place in cinema theaters depends paradoxically on distance while in the case of games we encounter something more than just intimacy. Identification is replaced by introjection... The subject (player) and the ‘other’ (the onscreen avatar) do not stand at the opposite sides of the mirror anymore – they become one. (Filiciak 2003: 91)

The space between gaming: X-Box Live and Playstation Network Filiciak uses PC gaming in his work, yet as was established at the onset of this essay, PC gaming is still relatively in the cultural fringes; this essay is concerned with gaming’s impact on popular culture, therefore Filiciak’s views will be applied to the mass adoption of online console gaming, which arrived with the third generation home consoles.13 Two of the contributors are X-Box Live and Playstation Network, which for their respective consoles, provide the user (which is more appropriate than player at this point) with a variety of functions; the prime objective is to facilitate the connection with other users in order to join online games, but in terms of playing with ones identity, they offer more than this. Playstation Home (part of Playstation Network) provides a three dimensional simulated space for users to frequent, where they are represented by individually created and personalised avatars. This personalisation is important to the construction of postmodern identity, as Filiciak explains, when describing a similar feature in Everquest (Verrant Interactive 1999): “A huge role is played here by the ability to choose appearance, which has become an obsession in the 13

As this is written, these are the newest machine from each of the industry leaders: Nintendo’s Wii, Sony’s Playstation 3 and Microsoft’s X-Box 360. These are the dominant home consoles that are relevant to this discussion, although the importance of Nintendo’s handheld console: DS and the emergence of Apple’s IPhone as an established gaming format must both be recognised.


postindustrial societies” (2003: 90). Playstation Home is marketed as “your very own home away from home [...where you can] chat to new people, watch videos and trailers... shop for clothes and items [for your avatar], or just chill out in your own personally decorated and customisable apartment” (official Playstation website 2009). X-Box Live offers similar features, although is not a simulated three dimensional world. It provides a customizable X-Box Live ID, which has the same emphasis on your ‘ability to choose appearance’. This ID is also represented by a customizable avatar and is comprised of features such as personal details, biography, games played and achievements gained.14

Resident Evil 5 To put this into context, Resident Evil 5 (Capcom 2009) will be analysed in terms of a how a player presents a fragmented postmodern identity. The game can be described as a survival horror, third-person action adventure game.15 It has been designed to complement its online co-operative functions, wherein Chris Redfield and Sheva Alomar are faced with hordes of infected creatures that resemble zombies. The player’s identity will be presented to their co-player through the introjection that occurs between them and the avatar; therefore this identity will be a convergence of the player’s choices and the predetermined rules of the character and the gamespace. This may take the form of weapon preference; whether to run frantically through the game or to creep slowly - taking advantage of the atmospheric conditions; whether to offer support to their partner or to look 14

Every X-Box 360 game has achievement points that can be gained by completing certain objectives that are completely removed from the diegetic elements of the text’s challenges and rewards. These are used to encourage gamers to utilise the whole game, rather than staying within the confines of the essential story or plot. These achievement points then function as a status symbol on your X-Box Live ID. 15 Genre definitions function in a similar way as they do in other mediums; their use here will be to give an impression of the aesthetic quality (survival-horror) and the games rules/method of control (third-person which gives the player a third-person perspective of the avatar and the gamespace).


out only for them self; these actions will all indicate the identity that the player is projecting. Identity is alternatively and simultaneously represented by the player’s personalised X-Box Live ID, which is accessible to their co-player. Further to this the player has the option of speaking to their co-player via a (microphoneearphone) headset; therefore invoking the kind of identity projection associated with a telephone conversation.16

Identity play as liberation It is this act of projecting multiple identities; switching freely and constantly between different versions of one’s ‘self’, that causes fragmentation and leads to Baudrillrd’s implosion of meaning. This need not have the negative effect on individuals and societies that he implies; Filiciak agrees with this: “The possibility to negotiate our ‘self’ minimizes the control that social institutions wield over human beings. It does not need to mean chaos, but on the contrary it can mean liberation” (2003: 100). Videogames, seen in this light are at the forefront of this liberation. The ability to negotiate one’s ‘self’ in order to break from the domination of grand narratives will be further elaborated upon in the textual analysis of Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty.

Simulated worlds and moral ambiguity Fable II (Lionhead 2008) is of the third-person fantasy role-play genre and Grand Theft Auto IV (GTA4) (Rockstar Games 2008) is of the third-person action gangster genre. Both videogames utilise the medium’s ability to create a navigable world, yet both present their worlds and characters differently. 16

It is important here, not to fall into the trap of believing that this is closer to their ‘true’ identity, as the postmodern identity is constantly in flux, never fixed.


Grand Theft Auto IV This text presents the player with Liberty City to explore, where the player can undertake a great deal of essential or nonessential missions and activities.17 Some of these can result in a gain for the character, such as acquiring money or establishing relationships with other characters, which can then assist them at a later point. Some of the activities though, seem to have little productive use; like visiting a bar, where once the character leaves, the game’s interface alters its established rules for navigating the gamespace, simulating the effect of being drunk, making walking and driving extremely difficult.18 These are ludic elements of identity play, but they also contribute narrative significance, as the player, through ‘introjection’, is developing the character’s personality.

Fable II The simulated world presented by this text is Albion (reminiscent of a fantasy world such as JRR Tolkien’s Middle Earth). Within Albion the player can choose to take part in a wide variety of tasks that do not further the plot.19 These are more than single tasks; one example is taking part in Albion’s property market, as any house can be bought and then sold or rented out; property prices will depend on the neighbourhood they are in, so if the player takes time to rid the area of street crime, a property they own will increase in value. It is important to stress that this


The game progresses through the completion of missions that are set by other characters within the text; there are missions that must be completed to further the story, but there are many that the player is not obliged to undertake. 18 The interface is the connection between the text and the player; it may include the visual elements, the audio elements or the mechanics of the control system. Wolf and Perron define it as “a junction point between input and output... the portal through which player activity occurs” (2004: 15). 19 This is assuming that the plot is considered the established story, as opposed to encompassing a complete understanding of the world you inhabit. This is a matter too complex to be further discussed here; plot will be used to refer to the essential story.


process can be entirely bypassed in order to complete the game.20 This freedom in Fable II allows the player to make choices regarding the character’s morals and ethics; the player can control a male or female avatar, facilitate a relationship, get married (including to the same sex) and even have children if they do not practice safe sex. Again, this part of the game can be completely bypassed.

The existing need for narratology: Comparing Fable II and Grand Theft Auto IV These additional activities in Fable II, allow the player to have such an input into the character, that traditional theories of identification presented in ‘one to many media’ - with fixed subject positions - lose their authority. The player’s input also exists in GTA4, but to a much lesser degree; here, traditional theories of representation are still valid and appropriate. The narrative is told from the perspective of an Eastern European immigrant; despite the freedom granted, there are missions and tasks that are essential to progress the story. Within these missions, the character undertakes specific actions and says specific things that are out of the player’s control, therefore forcing the player to relate with the motivations of that character. Under these circumstances, the game developer (individual or team) can be seen in the image of an author or a director, placing objects and personalities within the text and forcing the player to take a position. Here, rather than being freed from a forced subject position, it is further strengthened as the player must act it out. Although there are essential tasks in Fable II, the character never speaks and the player can react in a variety of


A similar problem occurs here, as with discussing the plot; ‘complete’ could encompass investigating the entire game, completing all of its essential missions, or even collecting all the achievements, (as discussed above in relation to X-Box Live). For this essay ‘complete’ will mean to play through the essential story.


different ways at many junctions of the games plot; choices that are made as a child have a profound and varied impact on the presentation and politics of Albion when the game skips forward to the character’s adulthood. This comparison emphasises the need for both a ludic and a narrative approach to videogame analysis, as the ludic elements of Fable II – and GTA4 to an extent – display the kind of non linear story and freedom to explore a simulated world, which is unique to the medium. This encourages identity play, allows the individual to make their own moral decisions and encourages them to discover things for themselves. This is far removed from a culture where grand narratives create a position then force the subject to identify with it. In contrast to this, a narrative reading of GTA4 would show that the game far from suppresses dominant ideology, as the game revolves around the dominant capitalist values of individual attainment of money and power. Alternatively, there is the possibility of a narrative reading that takes account of the videogame medium’s unique interactivity; the fact that the game forces the player into this situation, may be encouraging them to associate with an Eastern European immigrant forced to integrate into a corrupt western capitalist society.



Introduction Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (MGS2) (Konami 2001) is a third-person stealth-action game released on the Playstation 2.21 On its release, it was the latest game in the Metal Gear series; its predecessors were Metal Gear Solid (MGS) (Konami 1998) for the Playstation, Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake (Konami 1990) and Metal Gear (Konami 1987), both for the Japanese MSX console. These videogames have been acclaimed as artistically significant texts, following the emerging trend to apply the term ‘auteur’ to the videogame industry. This is recognised by James Newman: “A recent trend in the marketing and criticism of games has seen the emergence of something akin to auteurism... Each of the two titles in the Metal Gear Solid series are publicised... as ‘a Hideo Kojima game’” (2004: 12-13).22 Two approaches will be taken to identify this as a postmodern text; the first is to identify the postmodern themes that are presented by the narrative; the second is to see how the medium is used to exemplify these themes. This approach to a postmodern analysis is not confined to videogames, as a postmodern reading of a filmtext would look to establish how the medium of film is used; yet it is the extent to which the videogame’s player interaction – the videogame’s unique characteristic - is utilised that will be significant. In order to make this easier to follow, a brief plot synopsis will be given.


It is defined as stealth-action because the gameplay is structured around not being seen, so the game’s rules provide the player with functions for hiding and creeping up on enemies. This gameplay element also adds to the narrative, as it helps to create a tense atmosphere, which complements the espionage plot. 22 Newman only mentions the newer Metal Gear Solid games; this is possibly because the earlier two were not marketed as Hideo Kajima games, or that Newman did not have access to their marketing material.


Plot synopsis A prequel stage serves as an introduction to key characters from MGS, for the benefit of those that did not play it or as a reminder to those that did. The player controls Solid Snake (Snake), the protagonist from all the previous games; he is investigating the existence of a new metal gear: Metal Gear Ray23. This stage also introduces Revolver Ocelot (Ocelot), who was one of the antagonists from MGS; Ocelot is partially possessed – via an arm transplant - by the believed to be dead, lead antagonist from MGS: Liquid Snake (Liquid); Snakes ‘clone-brother’24. After the prequel stage, the player takes control of Raiden (the significance of this change of character will be discussed below). A terrorist group called Dead Cell have hijacked an offshore decontamination facility, holding the president hostage; Raiden’s mission is to rescue him. This simple plot, which plays on gamers’ existing expectations, through genre conventions of other videogames or Hollywood blockbuster films, soon unravels into one with much more depth. The contamination facility is revealed to be Arsenal Gear; more than just a metal gear, it is a superstructure with access to the military’s tactical network and is guarded by ‘hordes’ of Metal Gear Rays. Aboard Arsenal Gear is GW; a data processing system, which has the ability to control all digital information. Arsenal Gear is controlled by a secret organisation called the Patriots. The president explains that the Patriots are the real power in the United States; they control economics, politics and the military; democracy is merely a charade. They are attempting to launch GW in order to censor and create all digital information; therefore create culture and define history as they please. The designer of the system, Emma 23

A ‘metal gear’ is a large, armoured, walking super weapon; Metal Gear Ray is one especially developed for use under water. 24 The plot of MGS centred on the human genome project and the creation of a clone army. Liquid and Snake are both clones of Big Daddy and are referred to as ‘clone-brothers’ within the text.


Emmerich, explains that “GW is a system that allows the Patriots to decide what will be recorded in tomorrow’s history”. The ‘terrorist’ group that you were sent to defeat are actually freedom fighters, led by Solidus Snake (Solidus), another clone-brother of Snake and Liquid, who is an ex-Patriot trying to disrupt or destroy the Patriots’ power.

The Hollywood videogame MGS2 has been defined as ‘the Hollywood videogame’ (see Keane 2007); it utilises cut-scenes through continuity editing;25 it bears many references to popular culture and has a cinematic, orchestrated soundtrack produced by Harry Gregson-Williams, who is known for producing soundtracks for Hollywood films.26 This self-reflexive recognition (that it has been influenced by Hollywood) is a trait of postmodernism, as it is an example of Baudrillard’s simulation, where models represent models; there is no real, only the hyperreal. Further to this, MGS2 does not utilise the ludic elements discussed above that are strictly unique to videogames: online multiple identity; a free open world; or your own moral ambiguity. It does although; use disruptive ludic techniques to dislocate the player from the text (breaking the fourth wall), and offering morally ambiguous characters to identify with.27 Due to this, Keane’s simple reduction of this text to a ‘Hollywood videogame’ seems distinctly shallow and makes no attempt to uncover the unique elements of the narrative or the gameplay.


Cut-scenes are scenes that break away from the gameplay to present the story in an edited filmic format. Examples include Enemy of the State (Tony Scott 1998), Kingdom of Heaven (Ridley Scott 2005) and Phone Booth (Joel Schumacher 2002). 27 These techniques can be used, and are used in postmodern film or literature texts, but it is the way in which they are implemented in this example, which displays videogames as more capable of offering postmodern sensibilities. 26


Fragmented identity The notion of a fixed identity is almost completely absent in this game; both in how the player identifies with the avatar and through the characters presented in the text.

The player’s introjection The player switches from controlling Snake; the confident, Hollywood modelled action hero - who is believed to have died at the end of the prequel stage - to controlling Raiden; a young “rookie” who is unsure of himself and has very little knowledge of the ‘real’ situation of his mission. By doing this, the text instantly disrupts the way the player identifies with the characters, as the player is forced to identify with both Raiden and Snake. The relationship between the two becomes more interconnected when it is revealed that Raiden has been trained, through ‘simulations’ (the significance of simulations is discussed blow) to be just like Snake.

The characters Fixed identity is further disrupted with the constant rediscovery, or changing of characters’ identities throughout the text. Snake for instance, returns to the narrative posing as Pliskin, the leader of the special unit also sent to rescue the president. At this point, the player knows it is Snake but Raiden does not, which puts further distance between the ‘introjection’ of player and character and does not allow the player’s identification to settle. Another example is that to begin with, Raiden - and the player at this point - is told that the leader of Dead Cell is Solid Snake (who Raiden knows of from his training), but is actually Solidus posing as 27

Snake. Ocelot literally presents dual identities as Liquid occasionally takes possession of his body and even the reconstruction facility that you enter has an undisclosed identity as it is actually Arsenal Gear. The multitude of examples of fragmented or multiple identities (as there are many more) constantly remind the player that identity is always in flux; to question identities that are presented to them and to understand that their own identity is not fixed.

Raiden’s multiple identities Raiden undergoes a number of identity changes; the character enters the game in a full body diving suit and is referred to as Snake (playing on the player’s expectations that they will be controlling the established protagonist), yet when the mask is removed it is revealed that Snake was his code name, which is now being changed to Raiden.28 Further to this, details of his personal life as Jack are steadily released through his conversations with Rose, where it is constantly eluded to that he does not remember much of his life.29 This is addressed toward the end of the text, as it turns out that Raiden was raised as a child soldier by Solidus and was known by many names including Jack the Ripper and White Devil.


The fact that his identity is constantly in flux, makes referring to him problematic. Throughout this analysis he will be referred to as Raiden unless specifically stated. 29 Rose is the character that offers technical support and advice; she functions to the narrative as Raiden’s love interest and to the gameplay as the character that Raiden speaks to in order to save the game’s progress. Hideo Kojima explains that the character names: Jack and Rose, are a reference to popular culture; to the Hollywood film Titanic (James Cameron 1997) (see Metal Gear Solid 2 – Making of the Hollywood Game (Nicolas Beugle 2002)).


The individual’s little narrative The fact that Raiden was forced into this life at six years old, illustrates that he was forced into a position by powers out of his control, just as grand narratives do to their subjects. The constant identity changes of himself and everyone around him prompt Raiden to break down, becoming unsure of who he is or whether reality is even real. In reply to his question, “who am I?” Snake says to him (and the player): “there’s no such thing in the world as actual reality... no one quite knows who or what they are... You can find your own name and your own future... choose your own legacy, it’s for you to decide, it’s up to you”. This passage is explicit about the power of the individual in forming their own little narrative (the use of reality within the same passage further enhances its postmodern resonance). The text defines the ‘real’ as what the individual experiences; what the individual feels; how the information is presented is not important, it is the feelings invoked that are always real. This embraces hyperreality as a means of experiencing things, which once experienced, become real; this is in opposition to the implosion of meaning that Baudrillard suggests. This rhetoric further champions the power of the individual and states that only from their individual little narrative can they truly find what is ‘real’ to them.



Self-reflexive criticism A point is made of the fact that Raiden has had no field experience; 30 he has been fully trained in the VR (Virtual Reality) training simulator.31 Snake refers to this as the production of a “generation of video game soldiers”. This speaks directly to the player and encourages them to question the amount of violence in popular culture; a clearly self-reflexive move, as the game is essentially attacking its own existence. This point is further reiterated later in the text when Raiden is remembering his life as a child soldier; he recalls that “they made us watch loads of Hollywood action movies, the ones with men firing big guns”.

The game’s interface The simulation that is the game itself, is used as an important tool in the construction of its meaning. Raiden and Snake upload a virus to GW in order to stop the Patriots from seizing control of the world’s digital information. As a result, the game’s interface is severely affected - as it is itself, digital technology. The map that is displayed in the corner of the screen, for the players benefit, begins to show random images; a child or a lady lying on a sofa for instance. Another reaction is that the ‘game over’ animation sequence plays, even though Raiden is still alive. This animation usually shows the words ‘mission failed’, along with a small screen showing Raiden’s dead body; in this instance, the words read ‘fission


At this point in the plot he does not remember that he was a child soldier. The inclusion of this VR training in the plot is a self-reflexive recognition of the simulator that introduces the player to the controls and functions of the game in MGS. 31


mailed’ and the small screen still contains the game’s action; the player must use this small screen to continue playing.

Colonel Campbell: An artificial intelligence Another consequence of the virus reveals the fragmented identity of your mentor throughout the game: Colonel Campbell (the Colonel). Raiden communicates with him via a ‘codec’.32 After the virus is uploaded the Colonel begins to act out of character, speaking in incomprehensible sentences and making statements like “Raiden, turn the games console off NOW... it is just a game!” and “Don’t you have anything else to do with your time?” It becomes clear that he never existed; that he was a simulation; an ‘artificial intelligence’ created by the Patriots, communicating via the digital codec. As he was nothing more than digital information, he too was corrupted by the virus. This instance of ‘hyperreality’ serves two functions; it disrupts the player, taking them out of the comfort of simply consuming the text; prompting them to realise that no text is only a text; it is having an effect on them and they are experiencing it - so it is real. At the same time, it is showing the player how fragile and corruptible the system of transmitting information is, and that this should not be taken for granted or left unchallenged.

The ‘real’ world Another technique employed to disrupt the player, is the occasional use of ‘real’ world footage in the cut-scenes. One such instance occurs whilst explaining that the software to make all computers compatible with GW was installed along with ‘the Y2K countermeasure’. As this game was released in 2001, the ‘millennium 32

A codec functions like a radio, but is a tiny digital device that utilises nanotechnology (microscopic machines). The device is placed in the user’s ear so that communication can be established by sending vibrations directly to the receiver and therefore cannot be heard by anybody else.


bug’ problem (which the Y2K countermeasure was designed to solve) would still be firmly in the mind of the player as something ‘real’.33 All these instances of simulation are used in order to constantly prompt the player to question the ‘real’ that is placed in front of them, so that they can understand what is presented and then form their own position (little narrative) based on this understanding.

The Patriots as grand narrative The Patriots explicitly represent grand narratives, as they are an oppressive topdown system of generating culture and meaning within society. Solidus wishes to discover the identity of the twelve remaining members so that he can kill them and destroy their power, but after the game’s end credits it is revealed that these individuals died over a hundred years ago. The Patriots, therefore truly represent a hyperreal system of control, as their values circulate and create more values and systems with no return to the real except through their implementation. This is eluded to in the text as the Colonel (now revealed to be an artificial intelligence representing the Patriots) declares: “over the past two hundred years a kind of consciousness formed layer by layer in the crucible of the white house... we’re formless, we are the very discipline and morality that Americans invoke so often”.

The digital age of postmodernity The text ends with this system having not been defeated, in order to prompt the player to consider the grand narratives that control their life. A simple vanquishing of this power, which may be expected through the Hollywood genre conventions


The millennium bug was a world wide problem in 1999; it was described by Mark Tran of The Guardian as “a term to describe the inability of computers to recognise the year 2000. The problem arises from the use of software which stores dates in two-digit form and which may interpret "00" as 1900 rather than 2000” (1999).


that the game self-reflexively acknowledges, would not have the same effect. The real victory is that their power is waning and that they are scared of the democratization of information in this ‘digital age’; a term frequently used throughout the text. ‘Digital age’ can be read as a synonym for postmodernity, as it is diminishing the power of the Patriots, just as Postmodernism is diminishing the power of grand narratives. The Colonel illustrates the Patriots’ fear, admitting that “the age of digitized information has given even more power to the individual; too much power for an immature species”. The text recognises the dangers of this technology by showing that dominant grand narratives can attempt to utilise it, but ultimately shows that their controlling, autocratic nature is not compatible with the co-creative, democratic nature of postmodernity. The digital age is presented as capable of instigating the creation and sharing of individuals’ little narratives that can gradually erode these grand narratives.

Morally ambiguous resolution The final battle embodies the preference of the individual’s own position. The battle is between Raiden and Solidus and leads to a morally ambiguous ending, as Solidus was intending to do what the text had presented to be the greater good; to destroy the power of the Patriots. It is Raiden’s personal motivations that lead him to kill Solidus, as Solidus revealed that not only had he raised Raiden as a child soldier, he had killed his real parents. Therefore, although this was the Patriot’s bidding, seemingly making Raiden their pawn, he was motivated for his own reasons.


A postmodernism of resistance Best and Kellner define the term ’postmodernism of resistance’ as a specific form of postmodernism; they explain that it “acknowledges its reflexive appropriation of traditional literary forms, but also seeks to engage political issues and to change culture and society” (2001: 24-25). Under this criteria (replacing literary with videogame), MGS2 exemplifies a ‘postmodernism of resistance’. It employs a selfreflexive position by attacking its own existence as a violent videogame and by disrupting the interface that connects the player to the text. This forces the player to understand that they are being told a story and that this story has a motive, as do all stories (narratives); do not simply consume them without understanding and questioning them. The game affirms political resistance by empowering the player as an individual; it tells them that they choose their own legacy; suggesting that all they have to do is understand and question what is presented to them and then they can create their own position. This echoes Marshall McLuhan’s sentiment: “There is absolutely no inevitability as long as there is a willingness to contemplate what is happening” (McLuhan and Fiore 1996: 25). The text hails the digital age as something that will empower individuals to join together rather than be alienated; that this takes power away from grand narratives’ dominance over the creation of culture and subject positions. This is reiterated and clarified after the end credits; Snake speaks over ‘real’ world footage, this time explicitly speaking to the player: Life isn’t just about passing on your genes, we can leave behind much more than just our DNA; through speech, music, literature and movies, what we’ve seen heard and felt: anger, joy and sorrow, these are the things I will pass on; that’s what I’ve lived for. We need to pass the torch and let our children read our sad and messy history in all its light; we have all the magic of the digital age to do that with. (Solid Snake) 34

CONCLUSION As the twenty first century wears on, the expectation of individuals to influence what they experience - driven by the vast amount of interactive and co-creative ‘new media’ available - is increasing. Videogame players influence and coproduce the narratives they are presented with, facilitating a shift from a top-down, to a bottom-up system of creating meaning. As online features become an essential part of videogames, players will become accustomed to the free flow of their fragmented and multiple identities, rather than one that is fixed and predetermined. These same videogames can offer simulated worlds where the player can find their own narrative and their own meaning; in many cases being able to make decisions that they deem as morally ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, rather than being told what the ‘right’ moral decision is. This fundamental change in the creation and consumption of media follows an even greater paradigm shift in society: the growing relevance of postmodernism’s little narratives in comparison to modernism’s grand narratives. The unfettered postmodernism that was prevalent at the term’s inception, has since come under criticism for not offering anything in place of the systems of modernity that it was propagating the demise of. In light of this, postmodernism became more of an evolution than a revolution; it had not eradicated cultural criticism derived from modernity, but offered it new life and new ways of reading culture and society. This compromise is also found in the study of videogames; they are a drastic change from traditional forms of narrative such as film and literature, but they are still a narrative based medium, therefore previously established theory is still relevant and useful. Further still, rather than being fundamentally different, the 35

active player – influencing the action in the narrative - can be seen as an extension of the active spectator – questioning the action in the narrative. The active spectator was the beginning of the demise of modernism’s demanding subject positions and the active player will continue this trend. Jenkins (2008) believes that the freedom offered within the liminoid spaces of new media, will lead to individuals finding it unacceptable to have a subject position thrust upon them, leading to the rejection of top-down systems of politics, economics and management. It must be stressed that this is a gradual process, as was highlighted in the analysis of Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty; grand narratives (The Patriots) will not be brought down immediately, but this new age of postmodernity can offer the tools and the mindset required to promote a more equal society wherein the creation of culture comes from the bargaining of little narratives as opposed to the demanding of grand narratives.



Everquest (1999) Verant Interactive. On PC (Windows).

Fable II (2008) Lionhead Studios. On Microsoft X-Box 360.

Grand Theft Auto IV (2008) Rockstar Games. On Microsoft X-Box 360.

Metal Gear (1987) Konami Digital Entertainment. On Sony MSX.

Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake (1990) Konami Digital Entertainment. On Sony MSX.

Metal Gear Solid (1998) Konami Digital Entertainment. On Sony Playstation.

Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (2001) Konami Digital Entertainment. On Sony Playstation 2.

Pac-Man (1980) Namco (Now Bandai Namco). On Coin-operated arcade.

Resident Evil 5 (2009) Capcom Entertainment. On Microsoft X-Box 360.

Space Invaders (1978) Midway Games. On Coin-operated arcade.



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