chapter  8
Hiroshima and violence in Metal Gear Solid
WithRachael Hutchinson
Pages 26

Kojima Hideo’s Metal Gear Solid series is well known for its anti-war stance, achieving an interesting balance of heroism and critique. Kojima does this by placing the player in a position of individual heroism through the exploits of Solid Snake, but setting the action within a broader national narrative of non-heroic defeat in World War II. Kojima relies heavily on imagery depicting the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, incorporating the bomb and its development into the overall narrative of the characters. The context of the Cold War, nuclear proliferation and the arms race provides the fundamental underpinnings of the plot, in which realistic depictions of nuclear weapons, nuclear waste, and nuclear strikes on Hiroshima and Nagasaki are not merely symbolic, but necessary and integral to the story. The positioning of Hiroshima in Japan’s national memory has changed over time, as Donald Richie and others have argued.