Metal graph

Hey, look, I figured out how to make the blog layout display full text. Now maybe people will comment again. Or maybe I need to stop writing such mediocre garbage first?

Apparently I repeated a Metal Gear anecdote from an old episode of Retronauts on today’s Games, Dammit! To make up for my tendency to completely forget everything I say in the course of a podcast, have a fresh new Metal Gear anecdote.

Yesterday I mentioned the fact that I was always bummed out about the way Metal Gear never actually appeared in Metal Gear despite showing up on the box. I didn’t know about the whole thing with it being a compromised conversion from the MSX2 at the time; I just knew that there was this amazing-looking walking robot featured in the box art that didn’t appear in the game itself.

What I didn’t mention was that it actually became a small obsession for me for a few weeks. I felt cheated by Metal Gear and decided I should do something about it. With the impractical bullheadedness of youth, that self-mandated mission took the form of designing a Metal Gear sequel. I called it… Metal Gear 2. The premise? Blowing up the supercomputer didn’t do the job, and Metal Gear remained mostly intact. The Soviet army salvaged the technology from the ruins of Outer Heaven and began reconstructing the machine in a secluded base near Vladivostok, so Solid Snake would have to sneak into their base to finish the job he had begun. This premise is nothing at all like the eventual actual Metal Gear sequels would turn out to be; for starters, I figured Big Boss was legitimately dead. Heresy!

Anyway, I carried around a small pad of graph paper with me for weeks, drawing maps and designing weapons, enemies, and bosses. We’re not talking award-winning design here — I pretty much just shuffled around buildings and ideas from the original game. But I drafted maps for just about an entire game in my free time — at family dinners after church, in the bleachers at my brother’s Little League games, and uhhhh… in geometry class. Look, I was never good at math. I figured, why fight a lost cause?

Crummy as my adolescent game design sensibilities surely must have been, I do wish I still had that graph paper tablet. I’m pretty sure my Metal Gear mech design was, as the kids say, off the hook. Off da hook, even.

13 thoughts on “Metal graph

  1. Is there a game jam for creating games based on kids’ designs? If not, there should be.

  2. It seems like you had some pretty good ideas between this and jetpack Goonies.

  3. Reminds me of my youth when my friends and I would sneak around the woods pretending we were comrades of Solid Snake trying to take down the hulking Metal Gear that, for some reason, took up residence in our backyard.

    Thankfully, no one knocked us out and tied us to balloons to recruit us.

  4. Hey! I’m one of those people who comments sometimes, but hasn’t done so too recently. Largely because I feel like an idiot.

    Last time I commented, it was in the form of indignant shouting about a gender equality issue that was out of your control. While I do feel strongly about the topic, my approach – publicly reproaching you on your own site, rather than contacting you directly or trusting that you got the message the last two times I voiced it – was most uncool. Sorry. Next time I’ll save the righteous indignation for Captain Bucky O’Hare.

    I’ve also written a longer open letter / apology / celebratory article on my site:

    As for the topic at hand, young me had a tendency to design games that really DID become real. You know Beyond Good & Evil? Michel Ancel totally stole that from junior high-era me.

    (Oh, the Righteous Indignation was Bucky O’Hare’s ship. Not that GameSpite readers wouldn’t know that.)

  5. Very cool. I remember doing the same thing… except Mega Man was my obsession then. I designed new stages and stuff, had new Robot Masters, the whole shooting match. I’ve still got ’em stashed somewhere.

    When the fighting game craze kicked off, I wasn’t very good at pulling the controller motions for those games. So I came up with one with my own cartoonish characters, and many of the special moves were intended to be pulled by holding certain buttons to charge, so you could buffer a chain of moves together. I think a few games ended up doing this, eventually… but I got better at those games, so now I couldn’t imagine having to charge for a move. I _still_ can’t play as Guile anymore. :P

    The cool thing, of course, is that I’ve still got it stashed back home! (I have a sneaking suspicion the work wasn’t quite as cool as I thought it was then.)

  6. Didn’t Geoff Johns just do something like this for he He-Man reboot/relaunch? One of the new characters was something/one he dreamed up when he was 8-years-old. I’m not the biggest fan of his work overall but that’s still kinda cool…

  7. Wow, I can’t believe I wasn’t the only one who designed a Metal Gear sequel using graph paper. All my ideas for it were basically ripped off Zelda 2 though.

    • Ah, you fell into the ol’ “NES sequels should never resemble the first game” trap, eh?

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