Time remains something of an enigma. Elusive and relative, it defies description save by great thinkers and writers and finds itself falling away in an endless dance of seasons. Leading us each into the final, inexorable, yet magnificent pirouette, dropping from this mortal coil and into the vast infinitude. Or, alternatively, a six foot aperture, wherein our interned husks shall dwindle to little more than dust, and nothing remains of our capacity to love or hate, for wit and humor, or kindness, cruelty and other such despicable qualities. It is through the river of time that, in the end, everything amounts to little.
I am reminded of the words of Henry David Thoreau, from his 1854 masterpiece Walden:
“Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in. I drink at it; but while I drink I see the sandy bottom and detect how shallow it is. Its thin current slides away, but eternity remains.”
I am cognizant that my musings surrounding Thoreau’s adage regarding time, life and death could be perceived as somewhat morbid, if not downright cynical. However, it sprang upon my thoughts like an unseen predator overwhelming and seizing its prey just last week on the day of my 28th birthday. I realised that very soon, I would no longer be in my 20’s and how suddenly the years are already quickly passing, and it brought upon me an expeditious ardor to seize the day while I still retain my youth!
“dum loquimur, fugerit invida aetas: carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero”
Quintus Horatius Flaccus
Which translates as:
“While we speak, envious time will have fled, seize the day, trusting as little as possible in the future”
And so it was, with this particular aphorism in mind that I set about the amelioration of my circadian labours! Which led me to consider a return to the vigor of education and the pursuit or worthy knowledge and the broadening of my horizons through art, language and music. However, I am a firm believer that small steps should be taken to achieve personal goals and so it was, during a delightful week long sabbatical from the humdrum rat race that I set my plans in motion through careful research and preparation. Then, finally, the pièce de résistance! The Metal Gear Solid omnibus! Comprising of MGS, Sons of Liberty, Snake Eater and the heartbreaking finalé; Guns of The Patriots.
Action, drama, love, hate, deception, clones! Not to mention a protagonist’s voice you could gravel roads with! This series encompasses all the qualities of astonishing narrative. A deep twisting story with multifaceted characters, from the friendship and honor of a celebrated war hero and his desire to fulfill his mentor’s wishes, to the adventures of his clone/son, their disputes and battles with each other, other antagonists and the complex relationships they build along the way. All resulting in an emotional final rendezvous, where they find respect and clemency in their final days. Oh, and Otacon cries. Suspend your disbelief and conceal thy consternation at that particular fragment of information.
What elevates this harrowing tale of humanity’s folly set against a backdrop of impending nuclear disaster, and international conspiracy, over so many is the characters and depth of story. Hideo Kojima provides a well researched military and social/political backdrop for his characters who truly come to life within the world he has created for them. Antagonists, protagonists and the supporting cast all have carefully considered backgrounds and emotional ties to each other. It is little wonder that having grown up with them that I, like many other gamers, developed a sentimental link with the cast. Considering this point, it is unsurprising how these games still have a profound effect on me and why I will still return to them from time to time, continually discovering immaculate joy in its adroit brilliance.