10 Extremely Popular Video Games That Fuel The Sexism Debate

9. Metal Gear Solid

In Hideo Kojima's eyes, no person is any one thing. That's just fine with me - people are layered and complicated and contradictory in real life, so why not in video games? It's no problem when a male character like Otacon is a pacifist at heart but helps others wage war - there are dimensions there. But let's look at the women in the MGS games. Meryl? She's a soldier, a general's daughter and Snake's love interest. Olga? A soldier who's also pregnant. That's as far as her characterisation goes. Sniper Wolf is a sniper who has a relationship with Otacon, and her death, along with Meryl's (if you get the worse ending), is treated with more tenderness than anyone else's, as though watching a woman bleed to death in the snow is somehow more beautiful than shooting a fat Russian with a Gatling gun in the back inside a giant freezer. Well, it is. Because every female character in MGS is drop-dead gorgeous, so their suffering is more meaningful, right? I mean, even Mei Ling - the communications girl who saves your game in Metal Gear Solid - exists solely as a grainy picture of a super-cute Chinese pixie who has a huge crush on Snake. With the exception of the various Snakes, men are allowed to exist outside their societal roles as fathers, sons and lovers in the MGS universe, whereas women are more often than not slaves to their bodies and/or emotions (see: the screaming mini-bosses in Guns of the Patriots, who are little more than emotionally tortured supermodels). With all the excessive writing and cutscenes that go into each progressively more bloated, monologue-heavy game, you'd think we'd get female characters with a little more depth, but I wouldn't expect that to change so long as Hideo Kojima's auteurist sensibilities remain intact.
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Film history obsessive, New Hollywood fetishist and comics evangelist.