A Hideo Kojima Game

I like to think I’m a mature adult, striving towards fulfillment and deeper understanding despite the occasional misstep/failure.

This illusion is completely shattered when I gallop towards a four-wheel drive carrying a POW, a mortar shell screaming down from the sky. Seconds to go before the damn thing hits and the horse breaks over a rock, jumps, lands in a storm of sand. I have a second to aim. The first shot shatters a glass window. Two more take-out the left wheels. The car swirls, the driver screaming. The POW scrambles out the back of the van. He’s on my horse in a second and we burst away before the mortar lands, the explosion cloaking us in dust. The driver is bleeding. In the escape I look backwards. He is caught-up in the cloud.

Just another day in Soviet-era Afghanistan.

None of this is scripted. It’s part luck. It’s part skill. It’s all adrenaline.

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is out today. It’s Hideo Kojima’s last MGS game, and I’ve been savouring it over the past four days. It’s been clunky, sometimes, but also fantastic, so far the best of what is and always has been an exceptional series.

Kojima rightly gets a lot of flak for some of his narrative decisions, but I love how daring he can be. So clever. So silly. So exciting. So bizarre. So much to learn, and so much to criticise. So much, too, to love. If games have an auteur, he is that auteur.

What a thrill.

And to think that today I’m back at the office.

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Domestic Failures #02: Cereal

Procure a rare craving for cereal. Walk to the supermarket clutching wallet in hand—smiling sheepishly at Mrs. Turner’s glance towards what she considers to be your inappropriate attire (shorts), a probable indicator you’ve fallen in her estimate—and spot a brand you especially like (Honey Nut Cheerios? Kellogg’s Fitness?). Walk home triumphantly (Mrs. Turner’s glance now disapproving the state of your legs), drop the change in a tidy column, remove a clean bowl from the cabinet, cleanly open the pack of cereal (no tears), pour in just the right amount, fetch a banana, slice the banana, drop in the slices with a flourish, open the fridge to pour in the milk, and the fridge—the fridge mocks you with its lack of milk. We had milk, you say. I checked before leaving the house. What happened to it? There was half a carton and the neighbours dropped in wanting some, they say. We just gave them the carton when you went to the shop. Scan the change; you’re 5p short to buy a new carton, and the teller’s stubbornly stringent. You’re unwilling to cash-in a solid 20. Fork up the banana slices and reluctantly spoon the cereal dry into your mouth instead. Should’ve had eggs.

Domestic Failures #01: Temptation

FADE IN:

INT. BEDROOM – AFTERNOON

A man, KARIM, sits at a computer, looking thoughtful. He erases and rewrites paragraphs, clearly unhappy with his work. Behind him is his BED, looking soft and inviting—almost maliciously so.

BED
Hey. You look tired.

KARIM
I am. The words won’t come-out right.

BED
You know what I do when I’m tired? I sleep on it.

KARIM
No.

BED
Come on. You’re yawning and it’s the afternoon. Psst. Hey!

KARIM
I have to write.

BED
Just a ten minute nap.

KARIM
No.

BED
Just relax. Ten minutes. I won’t be comfortable enough to let you doze off. (beat) I promise.

KARIM
I’m not going to fall for this again. You took all afternoon last time.

BED
You’re not even writing anything. All this time, wasted! What have you got, 1000 words? It’s been three hours. Come on. It’s a great way to get solutions to your problems. Think about efficiency.

KARIM (uncertainly)
I want to get this done early so I can see a film tomorrow.

BED
You can! By sleeping! Just look at Winston Churchill. He slept in the afternoon during World War II. World War II! The bigger budget one. The one with the clear-cut villain. He slept through that.

KARIM
I am pretty tired.

BED
Or da Vinci. He had the strangest sleeping patterns. I’ll just lie here. Ten minutes, Karim. Come to me.

KARIM
Ten minutes, only.

Foolishly, KARIM walks towards the bed, and places his head on the pillow. Ten minutes, he thinks. Just ten minutes. Then a cup of tea and an evening’s worth of writing. Yes, a nice…cup of…cup of tea…

CUT TO:

INT. KARIM’S BEDROOM – NIGHT

KARIM wakes-up a full 90 minutes later, exhausted.

KARIM
What time is it? No. No no nooo.

BED
Heheheh.

KARIM
You promised!

BED
I did just lie! Heheheh!

KARIM
You bastard.

A MALICIOUS ENTITY floats in.

BRAIN
Oh hey, you guys. Is it nighttime?

KARIM
Go away.

BRAIN
Why are you so groggy? Did you try reenacting the drinking contest from Monkey Island again?

KARIM
I need coffee.

BED
No no. Go back to sleep. You might as well continue and get an early start tomorrow.

The bastard actually snickers.

BRAIN (snickering along with BED)
I’m just going to stay here with bad if catchy songs. Let’s see if you can sleep with, oh, what about—Nicki Minaj? Yeah, Nicki Minaj!—stuck in your head…

FADE OUT:

THE END