The first Metal Gear Solid I think is a terrific horror game and political thriller. I think you care about who everyone is, you’re scared, you’re uncertain and it even picks at videogames themselves in ways much defter than he does in his later work. The second one predates BioShock and has a deliberately spiteful attitude toward players which the sort of art masochist in me enjoys. Third one, bit tired, too long. Fourth one, one of the worst games I’ve ever played. Fifth one, pretty much a crowd-pleasing puff of air.
His sexual tastes are protected by Western critics under the rubric of “it’s a Japanese thing,” which I always think is tantamount to saying “all Japanese people are perverts.” If you look at how he views women, it’s always voyeuristically. You catch them while they’re getting undressed. You spy on Meryl’s back side. You hold R1 to take a sneak peek at EVA’s chest. Olga has a wet t-shirt. You stand and watch Quiet take a shower. This man is terrified of women. He’s ashamed of his own sexuality. He’s like a frat boy drilling a hole in the wall of the cheerleader’s locker room. I feel like if you wrote something about this you would get two reactions: people leaping to his defence, or people saying oh my, you’re so right. But we’re talking about a director who uploaded a picture of his Eggs Benedict to Twitter with the caption “looks like boobies lol.” How anybody can assume that the way he thinks about women is anything except adolescent surprises me. More sinister, I think this whole looking at women without them knowing kink of his is about humiliating them; getting one over on them; taking something from them without their knowing. I think it’s a power trip disguised as don’t-blame-me insecurity, or even slapstick comedy.
On top of all of that, he’s a turgid writer who so far as I can tell – particularly after reading an article about him in the December, 2011 edition of GamesTM – has an almost narcissistically high opinion of his own scripts and won’t let anybody edit them. The fact he gets called a genius makes all of us look awful. They call him a genius in games’ defence but it ends up being for games’ prosecution.