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Top 7... Definitive MGS moments

1) Breaking the 4th wall

Usually applied to the (*yawn*) theater world, the “fourth wall” is the imaginary wall at the front of the stage that separates the audience from the play. When the actors acknowledge the audience - usually in a sardonic way - they’re “breaking the 4th wall,” and essentially acknowledging that the viewer exists. Videogames do this to an extent every time you enter a tutorial mode - “press the Jump button to jump. You did it!” MGS keeps players talking with its decidedly cool “4th wall” moments; the times that get the other chunk of your gray matter pumping as they become a form of puzzle solving.

Early in the game, you’re told to find a Codec signal on the back of your CD case. It’s only after a few minutes of dawdling and worrying about overlooking a crucial item that you realize the game means the actual CD case the game came in. The boss fight with Psycho Mantis alone is a cornucopia of 4th-wall breakage; enough to fill an undergrad term paper. Not only does he read your memory card and move your controller with his mind (or rumble), but during the fight you’ll have your TV’s video input screwed with and you have to consistently switch controller ports to avoid him predicting your next move.

Above: Yeah, we know, we used this one already - but the video sums up our point nicely

MGS2 literally tells you to turn the console off and go outside, which is not only slightly creepy but will hit your self-esteem harder than a slow jam by Radiohead. Not only that, but in the middle of a tense climactic firefight, the screen shifts to the Game Over screen, now reading “Fission Mailed” for the dyslexic.

MGS4 may contain these little nuggets of joy when unwrapped next spring. In keeping with the “Old Snake” theme, we suggest a Codec conversation will scold us for not calling our grandparents more often? Or will Snake just look at the screen and shout, “Get off my lawn!”?

For more tasty top 7 goodness, visit our Top 7 Compendium, home to such greats as Top 7...Lamest Ninja. While you're at it, feel free to tell us what you think the definitive MGS moments are in the forums.

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6 comments

  • crumbdunky - July 14, 2009 9:53 a.m.

    Good read GR. MGS REALLY riles up the haters(or as I call them "those idiors with no style, patience or intellect")but despite that every game has been great-with 1,3 and 4 exceptional. Koj proved last time out with SE that he could do the back to basics thing just as well as the full fat exposition fuelled narratives of MGS1 and 2. With MGS4 he's returned, understandably for a game with so many loose ends to tie up, to the ctscene as a major game componenent-but it's even better than ever! Reliving the MGS history is always good but, fresh from another Guns... playthrough, all I can say is how crap the gaming world would've been without Koj's unique vision. MGS4is, whatever your idiot friends may moan at you, the best game of it's generation(so far at least)and as the culmination of near 20years of one mans work stands testament to his belief that games can be used for more than simple fragging. On so many levels the MGS games have worked and innovated while never being a less than enthralling series. I'm still in awe of MGS4 atm and have serious doubts over the wisdom of the upcoming Rising it a more action orientated approach but what'ss gone so far is peerless. PW looks excellent on PSP, mind. SC my big , hairy 4rse!
  • musashi1596 - July 13, 2009 9:30 p.m.

    I can't understand the incessant moaning about cut scenes either, especially seeing as they are skippable.
  • joebob286 - July 10, 2009 7:06 p.m.

    6 months after the first comment, and somehow i'm still second.! Great article by the way
  • Cwf2008 - December 14, 2008 6:35 a.m.

    First!
  • someonetgsn - July 14, 2009 1:39 a.m.

    Technically joebob is first b/c he was the first to make an actual comment. b/c saying just "first!" doesnt mean anything otherwise. Anyway, the coolest cutscenes are the ones that are skippable and pausable i love those. sweet artical by the way.
  • AnonymouZ - July 13, 2009 6:56 p.m.

    I don't know why everyone hates on the cutscenes. I be loving them. And... you're right, i did notice the lack of them on MGS3, but they said "fuck it, it's our game" on MGS4 uh>? xD glad they went that way. In any case, this be a good read. ;)

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