Video Game Thoughts: Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes

Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes was a 2004 action-adventure stealth game for the Nintendo GameCube by Silicon Knights. Silicon Knights’ previous game was Eternal Darkness. I really enjoyed that game, but The Twin Snakes was not all that original. It was a remake of an old PlayStation game. I hadn’t played the older game that much myself, but one of my friends had shown me all the coolest parts of the game. Because of that, I decided to only rent the game.

It was an interesting time. I was in summer vacation during college, so I had lots of free time. Even more, my dad’s work gave him a free vacation for two to a nice resort. My parents were gone for a full week. That meant a week for me to play games without any distractions. I invited a friend to visit for a few days, but other than that, it was just me and video games for days. I really loved it. I prepared beforehand by renting a few games. My parents helped too because they got high-speed internet installed the week before they left. I had a bunch of rented games to play plus several older games for the computer that I had never been able to play online before. It was a really fun time.

Anyways, the newer Metal Gear Solid was pretty neat because of the more powerful GameCube hardware. The graphics and sound were all nicely updated for the newer console. The voice acting was re-recorded with all the original voice actors for nice, clean sound recordings. The cinematics were much more epic now, with some scenes as amazing to see as the combat scenes in The Matrix. The Twin Snakes was like a blockbuster movie turned into a video game. It’s what would happen if movie studios knew how to make good games. That was also a downside because the game was pretty short. I was easily able to finish it within the rental period. It was probably no more than fourteen hours to do everything.

I had a lot of fun with my weekend rental of The Twin Snakes, but it still wasn’t enough for me to buy it. Despite all the things I liked, I just felt like I had experienced the game enough already at my friend’s house. I also felt it was too short to justify paying $50. Several years later, I just happened to be looking through the used games at a local video game store and saw The Twin Snakes for only $20. It was a must-buy for that price. I still had the old save file from the game, so I was able to continue with all my unlocked rewards. I started a new game though to fully experience this “movie” again.

Metal Gear Solid invented the stealth game. This was a game where combat was a last resort. The ideal situation was to get by all enemies without them noticing. Occasionally, an enemy might need to be dispatched, but it was to be done in the most discreet manner possible with no other enemies noticing. This was a realistic game also. It took place in the present time (at the game’s release). Weapons and technology were mostly real, with the occasional futuristic item. The game was serious too. It was a serious story. Killing people was sad. The hero didn’t want to kill if he didn’t have to. The Twin Snakes being a remake contained all the same things, and I loved it.

I had just entered adulthood when this game came out. I still liked Nintendo games, but I was also looking for games that catered to adults. The Twin Snakes was a great one. This was a game I could show to adults and not be perceived as doing kids stuff. A big part of my identity growing up was playing video games, but all the adults just considered them toys. I was constantly wanting to find a game I could show to them, “See, they aren’t just toys. They can be for adults.” I am happy that I got past that stage.

I was able to combine the wisdom of adults with what I had learned growing up. It is true that video games aren’t toys, but playing them isn’t the primary goal in life either. Video games are still just entertainment. It doesn’t matter much if others don’t like video games. I still have fun with them. I am able to manage my playing, so they don’t get in the way of work or other responsibilities. I’m fine if other people don’t like video games. That doesn’t hurt my enjoyment of them anymore.

Anyways, I really liked The Twin Snakes. I was glad I eventually bought a copy because I replayed it many, many times. The story was so good to me, I played it many times to relive it. I think that every video game can be grouped into either gameplay-focused or story-focused. Some games do well in both, but almost every game the developers will focus on one or the other. Story-focused games are now usually called “interactive experiences”. Overall, I generally like gameplay-focused games more, but here and there I can really get into a story-focused game like Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes.

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