Dear Mr. Moses:
In your article “Every Hero a Killer?…Not”, you use certain video games as an example to make your point about “heroism” and violence. I don’t disagree with the article, and videogames are certainly open to criticism in this respect. However, you call Metal Gear Solid 3 an example of Pro American ideology. You cite an Amazon reviewer who described how the game shows America’s greatness. First of all, Amazon reviewers are hardly an authority on anything, including the storylines of videogames. If this reviewer had paid attention to the story, he or she would learn that it does anything but show “America’s greatness.”
The story does involve the player controlling an American agent, but by the end of the game you see that the plot is much more than simply Good Americans vs Evil Russians. In fact, you realize that your character is being used, for somewhat nefarious purposes. The game also portrays Kruschev in a good light, and the main villain, while Russian, is a rogue who is trying to overthrow the Soviet government, and ends up killing many Russian soldiers. Another major character in the game, who is supposedly an American defector to the Soviets, turns out to be acting as a triple-agent, and when certain events occur, the US government abandons her, and orders her killed. You, as the main character, end up carrying this out and killing her. It is a very bittersweet ending, and when this soldier returns to a hero’s welcome in Washington, he at first refuses to shake President Johnson’s hand, in front of the cameras. Afterwords, he goes to visit this female soldier’s nameless grave, and salutes the tombstone.
As this game is actually a prequel to the other games in the series, fans know that this character ends up disillusioned by the government he serves, and ends up becoming a mercenary. Whether this changes your opinion of the game or not, I hope that I have at least showed that the game is not as ideological as you may have thought, at least not in the pro-American, neo-conservative kind of way. The game was also made by Japanese designers, as well as written and directed by a Japanese producer. Other games in the series have dealt with Gulf War syndrome, the American hypocrisy with nuclear non-proliferation, and corrupt US Defense Secretaries. There is even a question raised about “videogame soldiers,” and whether they are being desensitized to the horrors of war. These games are certainly not full of right-wing ideology, and while they are violent, they are rated Mature, and the violence is not thrust upon you. There is always a non lethal option to take.
So, like I said, I don’t disagree with your article, but as a big fan of the game, I don’t agree with your using Metal Gear as an example. Hopefully I’ve made my case. Thanks for reading.