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Is language a virus? Idea Channel looks at Metal Gear’s big ideas

There are those who believe Hideo Kojima, director of the Metal Gear series, is a master storyteller. There are also those who believe he’s incapable of telling a story at anything above the level of an overgrown Saturday Morning Cartoon.

Me? I’m somewhere in between. Kojima picks up on some truly interesting ideas and toys with them, but he gets lost in the complicated web of interconnected characters and events he and his team have woven over the years.

Case in point is one of the core ideas presented in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, as discussed by YouTube channel PBS Idea Channel. Beware of spoilers in the video above and in my summary below.

One of the core ideas that the game’s villain works off of is that language is a virus that afflicts its victims with politics and ideologies. The villain takes this to a literal degree, developing a virus that spreads through use of particular languages. PBS Idea Channel explores the idea in great depth, looking at the original quote the game begins with, at other instances of language being called a virus in our culture, and what different philosophers and creators might mean by that.

Whether you like digging into games and analyzing them to figure out what the creator might be getting at, or if you don’t care what the creator thinks and like coming up with your own ideas, there’s a lot to chew on here that, for me, gives me a lot to think about in relation to Metal Gear Solid V’s story, even with all its bumps and bruises.


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Eric Frederiksen

Eric Frederiksen has been a gamer since someone made the mistake of letting him play their Nintendo many years ago, pushing him to beg for his own,...Eric Frederiksen has been a gamer since someone made the mistake of letting him play their Nintendo many years ago, pushing him to beg for his own,...


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