Meeting Hideo Kojima

The Journey to E3

The second I read the following statement “Konami announced today that MGS3 will be playable on the E3 floor.” I panicked, fell off my chair, and went into an emotional seizure partially because I live 15 minutes away from where the demo will be playable, partially because I have enough rascal genes in my blood to find a way to get into E3.

My constant, ongoing obsession of Metal Gear Solid will finally pay off, of course it doesn't hurt that I lived in LA and knew the right people. After three months of patient and painful anticipation, E3 opened its doors to the “privileged public” I took three days off my university; you can fail a class anytime of any year, but I knew very well that there is only one E3 2004.

I did not know what to expect, since Konami and Kojima are not the most predictable the gaming industry. Would the demo be an actual part of the game? Are there any cut-scenes will they give a copy of the demo? However, my most important concern was “will I ever get to meet Kojima?”

I was at the E3 entrance closest to Konami's booth, where I got a clear viewing of the jungle that Konami constructed for displaying the demo. For some odd reason, I was there an hour and a half earlier than opening time. The anticipation was simply killing me, I have only experienced such feelings the night where I lost my virginity, but that will be a different article.

I did not waste anytime at all. I took off in search of Kojima on the convention floor (outside the E3 show floor) I went inside every restroom scanning for Kojima. The thought of seeing Kojima urinating made me utterly sick at the fact that I held such a moment with such high regards. Unfortunately, I had no luck finding him.

The doors were about to open, so I ran back to the entrance. The moment the doors opened up, I sprinted to that jungle, got my hands on the controller and hit the start button.. it all seemed so surreal. Seconds later Konami's giant show floor screen started playing what sounded like a Kojima's presentation. I left the controller and ran to the front of the screen, where the place was packed.

The Trailer & The Demo

I was mesmerized, I was the first person to see the trailer out of every MGS fan I knew. The crowds laughed, applauded with a “WTF” t the ball-squeezing scene.

I was one of the very first people who got their hands on the leaked MGS3 information; I confirmed the information through many agencies. I read the titles of the different characters. Watching that trailer made me overjoyed and relieved that I did not read the leaked document. The trailer was over and I ran back to play the demo.

I started the demo again, and it started off with “Konami Computer Entertainment Japan Presents” I was simply overfilled with happiness, as if Dr. Naomi Hunter just injected me with a heavy dosage of happiness nanomachines. It was the opening cutscene and I was stunned. I once thought that nothing can surpass the presentation and staging of the MGS2 opening cinematic, but I was proven wrong.

Then we were introduced to the new radio system, where you can Snake the whole 3D snake model listening to his ear piece, and as for the people you are communicating with you can not see them per se. You are presented with 5 profile pictures of them, plus some profile information about their history, age, occupation etc.

The conversation was relatively short and interesting. Unlike the morbid and over detailed conversations between Snake and Otacon in the beginning of Metal Gear Solid 2, this was actually very interesting and resemblance to the style of Metal Gear Solid 1. Something that struck me as significant is how The Boss was on there as well, and she seemed like she was Snake's lover of some sort, then you can see her kicking his ass in the trailer. Which makes me want the play the game more and more.

The Game

Micheal Bach wrote an amazingly detailed description of the demo already, but I will go into little aspects of the demo that got me excited.

The moment I got control over Snake, I realized that this is a very different MGS game, so spending sometime learning the new gameplay mechanisms was a must. ICO, Prince of Persia are the only 2 other games that I played before where the environments were as significant of a gameplay element, well crafted, and impressive as the character itself. The Snake Eater takes this element and implements it beautifully.

The AI is much smarter, their field of vision is vast. They can hear you even if you are sneaking up behind them. Once spotted, you will not be shown any mercy whatsoever. The bio mass is also overwhelming, some of the radars you have will be rendered useless because you will not know if that dot on the radar is a guard or a frog. You will defiantly get some scares from a frog or a snake that might surprise you while you are hiding.

This game is soaked with details. My favorite being splattered blood staining Snake exactly where it hits him, leafs falling, and the whole environment built itself.

I also liked how I was able to reach the entrance to the room where Solovok was held by taking different routes. When you are killed, the words “Time Paradox” appear on the screen, which was also a clever and nice touch that fits the setting of the game.

Meeting The Man

Now that I have played the demo for countless times, my next objective was to track down Kojima, get his autograph, and tell him how much I loved him. My search was futile, Konami representatives told me that there is no way in hell I am going to meet him, they said he was a very busy man. I made up for that turn down by collecting as many MGS kits as I could. (link to description of the MGS3 kits, I have pictures that I can provide)

I went home and was more determined than ever to get what I want, I said to myself “I WILL meet Kojima” I packed my MGS copy, a pen, a camera and went back to E3.

I started off the second day at the Nintendo booth, where I spotted Shigeru Miyamoto so I jumped at the opportunity band took a picture with him, I am not a big fan of Nintendo per se, but if you can't get Ashley Judd, you might as well go for her ugly sister.

I headed back to the Konami booth for more MGS3 goodness. Every time the trailer rolled (once an hour) I would take out my camera and take a snap of the crowds to show how crowded it was every time the trailer was shown. Suddenly, my heart went from the average 70 beats per second to over 160 beats per second. I saw him, I saw Kojima meshing in with the common crowds, watching his own trailer.

I did not want to appear like a disillusioned, over hyped jackass. So I took out my video camera and zoomed in on his face to make sure that this was the man I have been hunting down. I was still in denial, how can Kojima be standing there with the rest of the crowds? It appears making Metal Gear for so many years made him into a very stealthy person, and his camo meter was certainly high ;).

There was no mistaken it, I removed closer and zoomed in my camera on him again, it was really him, there was a guy next to him who looked fairly familiar. It was Scott Dolph, it was time to take action, here I am, less than 10 feet away from the man which replaced god with.

I thought finding the man would be difficult as hell, but I had no idea that approaching him will be much, much harder. I built up enough courage to walk up to them, making sure I won't be captured by Konami representatives and thrown in the Konami dungeon, where Silent Hill really exists.

I came up to Scott Dolph (standing in Kojima's face) I asked Scott Dolph.

“Excuse me sir, can I please take a picture with Kojima-san?” at this point, Kojima looked at me, and he was very upset that I was so rude in blocking his vision. Scott Dolph, very irritated now, said “excuse me, but we are watching the movie”

I then ran back to where my backpack was, I took out my MGS copy, I removed the manual, took out my pen, a camera and waited patiently..

The trailer was over, and they started moving away from the crowds. I chased after the, I was right behind Kojima saying “Excuse me, excuse me” at this point I was terrified, I was not going to blow this one up. “KOJIMA-SAN” I yelled at him, He turned around, startled, I looked at him, waved my camera saying “no, no”, I then started begging, bowing saying “please, please, PLEASE” He kept smiling and shaking his head. Scott Dolph came towards us, without thinking, I threw the camera at him “please take it” I gave Kojima my MGS copy, he signed it. Scott Dolph said “Say cheese” I did not know what to do, do I laugh? Do I smile? Too late, the picture was taken. I shook Kojima's hand and told him that he is the reason I want to become a director. Seconds later, both men started walking away rapidly. I turned around to see that many people gathered behind me to get to meet Kojima, but apparently Kojima was “too busy” or one of them were as consistent as I was ;).

It happened to fast, I then squatted to the ground, and I literally jumped into the air out of happiness. My friend Nick took another picture incase Scott Dolph did not want to take it, people came to me and said “you are so lucky” that, ladies and gentlemen, truly made my day. I was content, I can finally go about E3 seeing other booths and experiencing other games.

Thanks for visiting MGS:TUS and reading my experience, hope to write more to you soon. I wish all your dreams may come true as well, this is Chris, reporting from E3.

-- Article by Christopher Oneill, 18.09.2004

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