3 votes
Oct 8, 2015

Hideo Kojima has certainly produced games that people objectively like. He helped games explore stealth from a very early period, he expanded the range of stories that are possible to tell in video games, he allowed themes like militarism to be discussed openly, and he has proven willing to experiment in interesting ways. I have to admire the chutzpah he showed in replacing the protagonist of a major series.

However, he also has a ton of faults.

  1. He has encouraged video game narratives to include a lot of navel-gazing in a kind of post-modernist context about the idea of video games themselves. (Sometimes this can take a creative form that can help use the medium itself to comment on the game and the medium writ large, but most of the time it's just annoying). From No More Heroes to Bioshock, games are much more likely to comment on the connection between video games and otaku culture, the nature of retro gaming, or the necessary weasel that is limited autonomy than they are something of real social or artistic value. Video games may be one of the first mediums that developed introspection about the art form's tropes before it made a substantial number of good games, and Hideo Kojima contributed to that.
  2. His games have some cringeworthy dialog. "When I joined up, they gave me psychotherapy to destroy my interest in men" is stupid.
  3. The wild tonal shifts of the series not only alienate a large group of people but have also contributed to the public perception of the infantile nature of game narratives. That combined with things like the sexualization of characters like Quiet have allowed many average members of the public to think, "If this is your brilliant, auteur-driven game, you guys must still be in the dark ages intellectually and culturally".
  4. For a game designer and director who was inspired by the beautifully minimalistic Another World (Out of this World in America), Hideo Kojima is ironically quite prone to author filibusters, removing player agency unnecessarily, and so forth.
  5. As much as there is some very smart geopolitics and some interesting futurism on display in Kojima's works, there's also some clearly very limited understanding of the true toll of war, the nature of PTSD, etc.
  6. The narratives are often both grotesquely intricate and incredibly silly.
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