Few people have heard of it, yet many consider John Blankenbaker's KENBAK-1 to be the first commercial personal computer.

Koss introduced these headphones over 40 years ago, and they remain affordable favorites to this day.

Retrospective: Metal Gear for MSX

The Metal Gear series is absolutely my favorite game series of all time. (I hope you'll forgive me if I go a bit "fanboy" on this one!) There's no question about it, the unique suspenseful stealth gameplay mixed with a bizarre and twisting storyline and the all around genius of the series' creator Hideo Kojima makes for games I just can't get enough of. Today's retrospective will examine some of the history behind the original Metal Gear games.

Metal Gear

(Metal Gear for MSX)

Since I'm such a huge fan, it never fails to make me cringe when someone mistakes the NES Metal Gear games as canonical or official. In fact, they are not. The real original 2 Metal Gear games were released for the MSX computer systems which were most popular in Japan. Let's examine a bit of the history, shall we?

First, the original Metal Gear was released for the MSX created by Hideo Kojima himself. It was and is a great action/adventure game featuring revolutionary stealth gameplay. Then, sadly, the game was very badly ported to the Famicom/NES without Kojima's involvement and despite having similar gameplay, the game itself was fairly different. For example, it was totally lacking the final battle with Metal Gear! (I believe Kojima himself, as seen on the Metal Gear Saga DVD, referred to the NES version as "garbage".) Despite all this, it was a shoddy port of a fantastic game which resulted in a fairly great game. Since the US never saw a states-side release of the official version until recently, (with Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence) most American fans didn't know how much better the MSX version was at the time.

Next, after seeing the NES version's popularity in the US, a US Konami development team, without Kojima's involvement, created an unofficial sequel simply called Snake's Revenge. While, it was a "ok" fan-game of sorts, it was in no way canonical or official. Metal Gear fans tend to look at the game as a fairly comical experience, though it was not intended to be. Good did come of it, however, as it helped inspire Kojima to create a real sequel to the MSX original!

Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake
(Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake for MSX)

After the release of Snake's Revenge, Kojima created a real sequel and Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake appeared on the MSX just like the previous game had. At last, there was a fitting sequel to Metal Gear for the MSX and what an amazing game it is. Unfortunately, tragedy struck yet again when the game went unreleased outside of Japan. There wasn't even a badly-done port, this time, which is really for the best.


(Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake for MSX)

So what's an diehard English-speaking fan of Metal Gear to do?! Well, as I mentioned earlier, Konami finally helped redeem themselves when Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence was released to English-speaking regions. It included both Metal Gear games for the MSX in English! Not only that, but they're based off of the Japanese mobile phone versions with added features, tweaks and graphics updates! Finally, Metal Gear fans all over the world could play official English translations of the real original games, the Metal Gear games for the MSX. So what's the moral of the story? If you want the official Kojima-blessed Metal Gear experience go with the MSX games, not the NES ones.

The mobile phone version of the first Metal Gear is available here in the US. My carrier is Verizon and I don't know what other carriers have, or will have, the game available. Additionally, it's possible this means the US will also receive the mobile phone version of Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake! Look be on the look out for it!

For more information on Metal Gear, see Wikipedia and MobyGames.
For more information on Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, see Wikipedia and MobyGames.

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