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Metal Gear Solid

(Boss Fight Books #9)

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  354 ratings  ·  52 reviews
Before they co-created the hit web series Hey Ash, Whatcha Playin'?, before Anthony was lead writer of Borderlands 2, before Ashly lent her voice to Saints Row IV, Towerfall, and Adventure Time—Ashly and Anthony Burch were just a brother and sister who shared a weird obsession with Solid Snake and his 3D debut, Metal Gear Solid (1998).

And why wouldn't they? Hideo Kojima's
Paperback, 178 pages
Published August 17th 2015 by Boss Fight Books
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Average rating 3.64  · 
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 ·  354 ratings  ·  52 reviews

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Peter Derk
Sep 02, 2015 rated it liked it
Soooo many complicated emotions about this book. Or thoughts, perhaps.

For starters, this is not the BFB title to read if you're not at least fairly familiar with Metal Gear Solid. Of all the books, this one probably spends the least time laying out the plot and gameplay in a linear way. Which is fitting considering that the game is goddamn bonkers, but I still think this would be somewhat of a difficule read if you hadn't played the game.

Oh, and DO NOT read the pdf version. The footnotes all get
Eduardo Cruz
Apr 21, 2019 rated it it was ok
Ash: MGS1 is great¹, but Snake is a misogynistic fuck².
1. Anthony: Kojima!
2. Anthony: Come at me bro!
Like, what the hell.
I hope that we, as a society, become more inclusive and fair so that we can leave that I-am-an-activist-for-saying-this-is-sexist banner behind us and really focus on the topic at hand; which, in this case, is games.
Yeah, games. Not the stories in those games, not the characters in those stories, not the relevance of such characters.
Like, we get it. Kojima won't probably
Travis Riddle
May 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
A pretty interesting look at the game's mechanics and narrative design, and a (quite) critical view of how its writing--and the writing of any game, movie, book, etc.--can shape the consumer's understanding of themselves and their worldview in a positive or, in this case, negative way. It raises some good points about a lot of the sexist tropes present in the game, offering personal experiences on how exactly those tropes shaped the authors' lives, and some questions on what responsibility media ...more
Tom Peeters
Aug 06, 2018 rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this book, since it discusses one of my favorite games of all times, alas, the book is filled with SJW views. You're constantly bombarded with 'oh that's racist and sexist'. It doesn't see Metal Gear Solid is it really is, a pastiche of 80s action movies with a gruff and cynical/stoical protagonist (I mean, the main character is literally based off of Snake Plissken).

If we follow the author's reasoning, each and every video game hero needs to be some kind of virtuous soldier who
Alex Camilleri
Nov 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
As a big fan of Kojima's work, I very much enjoyed reading this book. I really appreciated the pace and how personal the writing felt. The critique is absolutely fair and relevant. ...more
Jamie Perez
Aug 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I think this was my fave Boss Fight book yet -- and that's saying a lot. It was a rip-roaring survey of a lot of the things we wrestle with when we talk seriously about games these days as culture and art and just plain fun. Breeze through the self-congratulatory moments -- we're all human. I certainly look forward to diving in on their web series after reading this. I'll be passing my copy along to friends. ...more
Jonny Ward
Feb 05, 2019 rated it it was ok
Hated the petulant tone. Hated the bullish lack of context in which the game were designed, developed and released. Hated the consistently unfunny and too-frequent footnotes.
Caleb Ross
Jan 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Earthbound book review
Click the image above to watch the video review.

I like books. I like video games. I like mashing them together like potatoes....potatoes against the bottom of a bowl. You can’t just mash two potatoes together to get mashed potatoes. That’s cumbersome, messy, and questionably effective. The bowl is necessary. Otherwise, you’re probably just puppeteering a violent potato orgy.

The latest potato-on-bowl experience I've had is this, Metal Gear Solid from Boss Fight Books, written by Ashly Burch a
Jan 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
So like most of the books in this series, I've never played Metal Gear Solid. Oh, I saw some of it at friend's houses, and I've been exposed to it via cultural osmosis, but I've never played it.

And I don't think the book suffered for it. I think this is the best written of the BFB I've read. That may be a little unfair to the other authors because this is just the funniest book in the series, the Burches are funny and the book has them trading off writing sections and footnotes which works well.
Aug 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I'll let the following passage speak for itself.

[...]This scene is objectifying. It's sexist. It undermines the game's attempts to characterize Meryl as a smart, tough, self-possessed woman. It's also, infuriatingly, one of the only interesting gameplay twists in the series. Where many of the game's one-off challenges ask the player to disregard all of the stealth mechanics upon which the game is based, the Butt Mission encourages the player to gain a deeper understanding of enemy patrols, vi
Stuart Hodge
Aug 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
A good and entertaining analysis of one of my favourite games. The Burches played Metal Gear Solid at a similar age to me and my brother, and the way they spoke about the game and the joy of discovering a video game that was more than facile in its narrative ambition rings very true to me. I would have liked a bit more context, placing MGS more firmly in its time, and some more elucidation of some of the arguments would have been good- some are skipped over too quickly- but all in all a good pie ...more
Jul 02, 2016 rated it liked it
I have never been interested in Metal Gear. To be honest, I am still not. My husband is, however, a fan. And I think he was a bit tired of my snarking cutscenes, etc from the games, if he happened to play one while I was home. So he suggested I read this.

I love when fans of a creative work of any kind can appreciate the work for what it is and the impact it has...and still rip it to shreds. The authors definitely love Metal Gear, and it shows, but it isn't on a pedestal. And that made their comm
José Joel
Mar 14, 2017 rated it liked it
Rather that a deep look into the game like the excellent Spelunky book of this series, this book frequently interrupts a fun conversation about the game series to derail into personal anecdotes of the writer, feeling like half a memoir of the author and half metal gear. At times clever and deep, but at another times making confusing observations that hardly have anything to do with the game series.

Still, fun if bought for a cheap price, but fans of the series wont learn much new reading this.
Margaret Sankey
Apr 15, 2018 rated it liked it
Another in a great series, this is a brother and sister duo who grew up playing the game, then went into the industry as writers, game developers and voice actors--the deliberate mix of perspective, especially comparing their 10 year old selves to now, is a fascinating window into how the mentality of one person, like the game's developer Kojima, can produce something that has both long disquisitions on nuclear deterrence as well as a game mechanic to jiggle a character's boobs. ...more
Apr 16, 2016 rated it liked it
An interesting look at Metal Gear Solid and its various issues. However, loses a star due to the ridiculous overuse of footnotes. Seriously, they're constantly throwing them in and it soon gets tiresome and really impacts the flow of the writing. ...more
Jack Wolfe
Jul 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
The Burch siblings begin their journey with "Metal Gear" (and the opening chapter of their book on the game) the same way I did: by replaying that awesome demo (you could find it on that great disc that came with your Playstation, alongside "Crash Bandicoot: Warped" and "Wild 9" and "Cool Boarders" and a bunch of other classics) countless times, typically alongside a sibling (in my case, two or three), attempting every permutation of the Heliport sequence, finally finding the SOCOM after like te ...more
Kelly (BookWtch)
Mar 05, 2019 rated it liked it
Metal Gear Solid released September 3rd, 1998. I was 9 years old. I remember my dad coming home that afternoon with it in tow, and after that, some of my fondest childhood memories ensued. Struggling to figure out Meyrl's codec frequency, surviving Ocelot's torture sequence, Psycho Mantis reading my memory card and making my controller shake. But my fondest memory of all, experiencing all of this with my dad, who was a big a nerd as I was about it all.

MGS also flipped the switch to an element o
Nov 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I genuinely love talking and thinking about games, and it really makes me happy when people discuss games using not only objective standards of quality but also acknowledging their subjective experiences as well. Ashly and Anthony Burch are really good at doing this, mostly because of their significant careers in gaming writing and reviewing. A great read about a weird, flawed, masterpiece.

4/5 stars.

***quick edit after reading some of the reviews, about the authors shoving their "sjw politics" i
Jul 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017-reads
I really enjoyed this addition to BFB, but I'm going to admit I'm biased: I love Ashly and Anthony, and all their antics. I've never seen footnotes used so creatively, every single one was playful or revealing and an absolute delight (more of this in creative non-fiction, please). The main reason for my love of this book is the reiteration of the fact that you can love something and still analyse it, that it can be both brilliant and flawed, even when viewed through a nostalgic lens.

This sentim
Cian Rice
Feb 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed this read. Speaking more to how the MGS influenced them, the Burch siblings each hit upon points I found incredibly relatable. At one point Ashley recalls how something clicked for her - acting, and specifically in regard MGS, voice acting. Anthony talks about how how Kojima has a sense of sincerity and how as an adult Anthony differs from the youth who loved that storytelling (relating to how the team at Gearbox handled moments in Borderlines 2) but as an adult he likely wo ...more
Sarna na Kiju
May 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Short but sweet. It was mostly a critique of the game than anything, and to be honest I'm delighted to have read that. There were many flaws in the game that I didn't want to acknowledge. I'm slowly learning it's okay to like a flawed game. Thanks!

Also, it made me laugh lots of times.
Didn't even know it was written by the Burch siblings*, which was a nice surprise.

*bought the book in a Humble Bundle, didn't even look at the authors' names
Jordi de Paco
Aug 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I'm giving this book five stars because for me it's been super stimulating. Metal Gear Solid it's my favourite game ever... And to read two people who love the game as much as me shitting all over and pointing out many of its issues has been a super constructive experience, truly mind opener. Plus the authors' writing is super amusing. I loved it. ...more
Jan Martinek
Mar 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is SO good: „They grew up, but their all-time fav game did not.“

Scorching criticism written with love, incl. loads of self-reflection. Plus lot of fun, as it's cheerfully written by two siblings, formerly glued to their PSX, aged 8 and 10. I'd recommend this even to the people with minimal knowledge of MGS.
Apr 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
MGS is probably my favorite game series. The Burch siblings treat it here with the reverence and criticism it deserves... except for when Anthony talks down on MGS2, the best game in the series. But this book is mostly focused on the universally loved first game, and (aside from some occasionally annoying footnotes) the analysis is basically spot on.
May 26, 2019 rated it it was ok
This exploration is not nearly as good as some of the others I've read so far. Anthony jams in the fact that he was a writer for Borderlands 2 multiple times. The analysis of the game centers mostly on the dialogue while largely missing other important pieces that contributed to it being an influence on future games. ...more
Juan Eduardo Castellon
Great creative structure. Two brothers comment on different themes of the video game and interrupt each other to further analyze the other's remarks. And I specially enjoyed the "footnotes" which were really funny. Also, it made me realize a couple of odd or wrong things about one of my favorite games of all time. Kudos! ...more
Jan 15, 2020 rated it it was ok
I appreciate the perspective this book takes on earthing overlooked flaws on the titular game, but ultimately this book was just not for me. I found it also disappointing that there was no insight into MGS's development. Despite the below average rating, I still encourage others to give this book a try. ...more
Travis Wagner
Sep 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
So many negative reviews because it is critical of the latent sexism of the game, which is "unsurprising" but also misses how thoughtful the approach to criticism is here. If anything, I would say that the insistence of falling back on humor makes it lose some of its seriousness as an attempt to assuage the same people who have no interest in looking at this game in a critical light. ...more
Avedon Arcadio
Mar 21, 2020 rated it it was ok
While a good and obvious dissection of the game they style of writing is annoying having two writers work on this as well as the countless ridiculous footnotes. I guess somehow people thought they were funny?
Devin Helmgren
Dec 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Read this in three days, loved their takes on a odd ball classic.
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