The Most Profound Moment in Gaming History
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The Most Profound Moment in Gaming History

September 14, 2019


For the past four years on this channel, I have made videos on various topics, but by far the most popular form of video I have done centers on video game analysis. What I think made them so popular is that instead of being your usual video game review, I have focused primarily on narrative. Specifically, I have focused on what I believe are the best stories in the video game canon. For twenty-odd years, video game narratives have been demonstrating a capacity to confuse entice, and emotionally manipulate their audience in the most positive of ways. Most recently, in fact, I have been putting forth the argument that video game narratives have demonstrated such sufficient profundity, that they sometimes have matched the greatest stories told in other mediums. To continue our collective celebration of our modern-day digital mythology, I would finally like to give full attention to a game which, I would argue, has the most profound moment in gaming history. I refer to the final codec conversation from Metal Gear Solid 2. While I have done several videos on Metal Gear Solid 2 in the past, I have never given full analytic attention to this specific moment. The main reason why is because somebody has already done so. My all-time favorite YouTube video is titled “The Most Profound Moment in Gaming: MGS2 AI Conversation Analysis”. Though it was released almost nine years ago, by its creator LogosSteve, I pondered for a while how I might do a better job than he did. However, given our current cultural context, I believe I have a few other worthwhile things to contribute. The advent of subjects like “Fake News”, the resurgence of rampant political correctness, and our tendency towards online tribalism has imbued this conversation with a much denser sense of meaning. To those who consider themselves gamers, but have never played a Metal Gear Solid game, you are obligated to at least listen to this final conversation. Not only will you be enlightened by its philosophical commentary, but you will be terrified by its implications, as I have been for my entire life. Up until the end of the game, the main character Raiden believed he was receiving orders from a man named Colonel Roy Campbell, a man who was also Solid Snake’s commander throughout Metal Gear Solid 1. At the end of Metal Gear Solid 2, Raiden learned that his Colonel was in fact an artificial intelligence manipulating Raiden to perform its political bidding. The bidding in question refers to the A.I.’s desire to control the human race by controlling the spread of information via the press and the Internet but we’ll focus on that more in a moment. During the first part of this conversation, the audience learns how this A.I. came to be, and surprisingly, it is similar to the way human beings as a species came to be. Unlike the origin of human life in the oceans, the A.I.’s quote-unquote “life” had its basis in American idealism, hence the A.I.’s referencing of the White House as a symbol. In the mind of the A.I., their purpose is to push forward American values things like freedom, equality, and healthy competition. However, Raiden points out what should be an obvious contradiction in the A.I.’s thought process: that the AI wants to take away those freedoms via censorship. Not only are the A.I. about to argue for the ethics of controlling information, but they are going to do so in a very condescending manner. As we move on, I suggest that you, the listener, pay attention to how the A.I. demeans Raiden. Their pomposity is intrinsic to the effectiveness of their future argument. What the A.I. is trying to do here is illustrate how genes function similar to how memes function. If genes are, quote, “a unit of heredity which is transferred from a parent to offspring and is held to determine some characteristic of the offspring”, then a meme is something like an ethic, a fact, or an opinion that later generations inherit. Like genes, memes are also subject to a process called “natural selection.” If certain organisms are better adapted to their environment than others, then their genes are passed on to the next generation while others have the potential to die off. Similarly, if certain memes seemingly hold enough meaning or logic, then supposedly they survive better than memes that do not. What distinguishes memes from genes is the nature of the selection process. Genes are more-or-less subject to the amoral discretion of nature, but memes can we analyzed and weeded out via moral discretion. However, the A.I. will now illustrate how the natural selection of memes bears a unique problem in the Internet age, compared to the past few centuries. Prior to the Internet age, information was curated. We read about the news in newspapers, watched the news on TV, and it was all funnelled to us after passing through a, hopefully, professional body. Granted, there was a greater potential for curators such as journalists, editors and academics to manipulate information to fit their various political biases, but at least there was some form of selection process going on. In the age of the Internet, however, information is released so fast that it is impossible to control the discussion. Instead of listening exclusively to reporters, we are left to our own devices to derive what is valuable. Except unlike the curators in the pre-digital age, the general population does not know how to separate the wheat from the chaff. We will focus on small, trivial issues like a celebrity’s love life rather than macroissues such as the cumulative monetary debt of the Western world. We will only listen to news sources that confirm our pre-existing political leanings, and ignore any challenging voices. If it sounds like I am engaging in apologetics for censorship, I am not. I would never censor information under any circumstances, but, what does one do in respect to the destructive influence of human bias? The A.I. goes on to propose a solution. The A.I. argues that because they are not prone to human error and have inner CPUs with greater processing power than the human brain, they would know how to curate information and present it to the human race in a way that doesn’t slow human evolution. Unlike your average political body which might censor information that is inconvenient to their cause, the A.I. would simply present information in the most factual way possible so that political bias would not intervene, thus cooling political tensions across the political spectrum. Of course, if something like the A.I.’s censorship program came into place, ethical questions would arise regarding whether or not this compromises human freedom… specifically our quote-unquote “free will.” Ideally, human beings should have the autonomy to make their own decisions, no matter what mistakes may follow. In response, the A.I. argues why the problems that arise from that freedom, supposedly necessitate censorship. Here, the A.I. illustrates here the various ways in which human error corrupts truth. That human error arises from an instinctual drive to protect ourselves emotionally and physically, which truth tends to threaten. For instance, let’s say a religious fundamentalist is confronted with various scientific truths that challenge their worldview. Let’s say the fundamentalist loses faith when confronted by those truths. What happens psychologically is that because the fundamentalist no longer has a belief system to make sense of the world, they are thrown into a mental pit of confusion and resentment. That loss of structure and certainty is so painful to the ideologue that it seems it would be better to avoid that feeling at all costs. This instinct is endemic to almost all human beings. This is why we separate ourselves into political tribes and won’t consider the ethical implications of our positions. For instance, is it right to be pro-choice, or pro-life? Instead of considering the validity of either side’s argument, the pro-life crowd will chastise the pro-choice crowd as being on par with murderers, and the pro-choice crowd will chastise the pro-life crowd as being misogynist, religious zealots that want to control women. These low-resolution assumptions exacerbate tensions between political parties and can potentially lead to violent conflict. Most people will avoid these difficult conversations to preserve order, but if you ignore them long enough, political positions become cemented, and people will kill each other before they admit that they’re wrong about something. The A.I. then present a future where human bias corrupts the flow of information. As we saw in the 20th century, whether it is with Hitler’s fascism, or Stalin and Mao’s communism, the ideologically possessed would rather kill millions in the name of their ideology rather than consider the arguments of their political opponents. We see this type of attitude in its nascent stages in the digital age. Whether it’s calling everybody who disagrees with you a racist, sexist, homophobic Nazi, or a West-hating communist, this attitude is pervasive throughout social media, forums and comment sections. This type of inflammatory language has further polarized our political climate, and has resulted in violent clashes. In the mind of the A.I., this is due to the fact that we insulate ourselves by staying inside our little ponds, and casting all outsiders and dissidents as bad people. If this continues to happen, who knows what violent, oppressive future might manifest? Unlike the reality of MGS2, where a supposedly benevolent A.I. can make the hard decisions for us, our reality might become a sort of Orwellian nightmare, which the A.I. wants to prevent. I want to remind you all that Metal Gear Solid 2 came out in 2001. This game was warning us about the advent of “fake news”, misinformation and half truths, roughly two decades before the issue captured our collective attention. Worse yet, not only do the A.I.s describe a potentially dystopian future for both our reality and the reality of the game, but they also make us inadvertently realize that we currently have no constructive solution to the problem. The only tactic available at the moment is for individuals to strengthen their moral compass, and call out misinformation where possible. However, given humanity’s inherent imperfection, even the best of us are prone to mistakes. Worse yet, instead of bolstering the best among us despite their mistakes, we will feverishly exacerbate the mistakes of our opponents for political gain. We see this quite vividly in what has been aptly termed “call-out culture.” For instance, it is thanks to this culture that there is no host for the Oscars this year. It is thanks to this culture that people will be fired from their job over a tweet they made ten years ago. A person might even be fired for a tweet that was taken out of context, when said person did nothing wrong whatsoever. Worst of all, it is thanks to this culture that we will elect politicians not based on their ethics or policies, but on how effectively they can punch the other side. … and let me re-emphasize, we have no solution to this problem. In the reality of MGS2, however, a hypothetical solution is presented: because people abuse the responsibility that comes along with freedom of speech and expression, and would rather attack people than their ideas, a system that controls information must be set up, supposedly for our own good. The A.I. go into more detail regarding this solution as the conversation goes on. However, that analysis will have to be saved for the second part of this video. Thank you so much for watching, ladies and gentlemen. If you liked this video and understand the importance of the message I’m trying to convey, please share it around. Also, I implore you to check out LogosSteve’s original video, “The Most Profound Moment in Gaming.” 9 years later, it is still my favorite YouTube video ever, and I think you will get a lot of value out of it. If you want to see my other Metal Gear related content, please click on one of the videos you see on screen now. And hey, if you like that, maybe consider subscribing!

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  1. I’m proud to have been involved with such an iconic and thought provoking entity. Kojima-san, I hold you in the highest regard. Brilliant, then. Brilliant, now. Well done, Max!

  2. totally true the fact that nobody listen to each other anymore, neither accept any possible idea or way of seing THINGS, and life, of seing the world.
    We all in comfort, alone in our own cocoon with our ideology and idea, and constantly reject any outside thinking or ideas because it scared us and implie that we must question the ethic of our own thought.

    the whole world is connected but humans has never been this much divided as the same time, and this why we keep going the wrong way fucking our planets up

    I was discussing about this moment in MGS with a school friendsome weeks ago, that also played it but we were young, we didn't fully get it, and now we saw that MGS philosophy was pretty ahead of its time and pretty "lucid".

    When you listen to Trump saying games causes violence… i've seen much more deep ideas and philosophy in certain video games that i have seen in a lot of movie and series, and still games are so underrated (when we talk about something else than fortnite, cod and shit)

  3. "Rampant political correctness"…
    God I miss being openly racist, classist, sexist, homophobic, insensitive to disability and gender issues!!!
    I'm a white male and my privilege is eroding!!!

  4. haha guys ai algorithms made by billionaires would never pretend to be human to human to win political power that would never happen on Reddit. wait.

  5. Thank you John malkovich's son, I am forever grateful to you and am now enlightened. May peace be upon you traveler.

  6. I allways looked at how the signal bars in the codec for Raiden were different from Snake's, In my opinion it's an early tip on the history, trying to copy the original, but they are nor regular like Snake's, as it was just a emulation, rough copy.

  7. The sad thing is, you don't even need to do something wrong to be a target with outrage culture. But this isn't new, by any means.

  8. 7:47 – It is profoundly unhealthy to not censor any information under any circumstances whatsoever. To do so would mean that terrorists should be given all data from the clandestine 1980s Soviet biowarfare program, corporations should be able to monitor and thereby exploit your every single move, and minors should be given access to pornography, to name only three examples. If we had no censorship AT ALL, then by definition, privacy would be abolished. Instead, the question has always been WHAT should be censored (literally: filtered), and why.

  9. We Marxists have been talking about this for like centuries. We’ve been wanting to stop the hegemonic blob forever. This is what we’ve been fighting.

  10. For it shall be known to mankind for all eternity, do not name thy child Jordan Hunt, for he will be thrown in the slammer and grow up a lip pierced pro-abortion pantsuit wearer.

  11. Anything with two 10min vids isn't a "moment". Its a detailed discussion about getting a nerdboner. I was expecting a clip from one of my favorite games. I feel mislead and disappointed.

  12. …when people see things into thigns that doesnt even exist … Fake news WAHH!!! WHAT A SURPRISE BRUH ! Only because the game told this in such dramatic way now you wannak jerk off to it? Oh my gawd its just a fucking game with a theory that everybody knows already, the solution is simple: dont believe everything.

  13. Kojima was woke as fuck, imagine if he is slightly predicting some dystopian future in death stranding?
    R.I.P Humanity

  14. Just imagining being Kojima trying to push this narrative into a video game.

    Game dev helper: Are you sure about this?

    Kojima: No question, you may understand some day..

  15. If you want a truly amazing story, play Mother 3. This game will make you cry, and if it doesn't, it will pry them out itself

  16. Kojima himself has been quoted as saying that MGS is a backronym for “Meme, Gene, and Scene.” MGS2 was way ahead of its time.

  17. I’ll never forget being 11 playing this game and hearing “TURN THE GAME CONSOLE OFF” and being so weirded out that I was about to turn it off 🤣

  18. While I've only been able to get my hads on one Hideo Kojima game in my life, I made it a personal goal to at least watch the entirety of the MGS games from start to finish through Youtube. It's amazing when you hear the first long-winded dialogue, it isn't just droning script reading but profound, it may be a long speech but it has meaning and was thought out. Each game has this way of revealing real-world concepts and philosophies but it doesn't feel forced, more so symbiotic. But in MGS2 I was thuroughly creeped out by the pinpoint accuracy of GW's speech about the S3 program's true intent, controlling the flow of information to influence the masses, manipulating how people perceive certain topics through what many consider the most essential form of communication in an ever technologically advancing world. It's something to make your blood run cold when you realize…. This speech was in a videogame years before these concerns were mainstream…

  19. In the end it boils down to 1 question did we truly deserve "freedom" in the first place if all we do is lie to each other and then die off in the end?

  20. So machine learning and big data used to filter web searches and give relevant suggestions are the real life equivalents of the Patriots censorship tool… Wow I feel strangely safe somewhat

  21. The interesting thing is, the A.I. is based on the White House, however, the people within those walls are a cult of personality, to say the least. Artificial Intelligence is only as good as it's creator, the programmers and mathematicians. If they miss something or don't do the logic correctly, the A.I will suffer regressions but will not be aware of it's own short comings. This is just something to think about.

    I used to write A.I. for games and other simulations, I'm always looking at my old work and seeing I missed something or could have done it better; hindsight is 20/20.

  22. Such valid points. Big fan of MGS and I agree with basically everything you said Max. Scary stuff when you really stop to consider the current state of society.

  23. The last I heard, it's not so clear now the long neck of the giraffes is all about natural selection. I may just be sexual selection at its best.

  24. Political correctness has been proven to be harmful long-term since when people get full of it when everything goes to sh**, they vote the first one that for a change isn't afraid to say anything publicly, then people like Trump can rule just for this reason.

  25. Maybe in time we will have to evolve stronger "moral compasses" to be able to sift through all the crap out there. I would imagine that means stronger processing centers, bigger brains. Whether people's "compasses" will be pointed in a good direction is a different question.

  26. I saw "All your Base Are Belong To Us" and finished this game, back in the day thinking about no connection about them. Almost 2 decades later, here we are. So, meme shitlords are AIs?

  27. The most profound moment in gaming history?
    Arthur Morgan's last ride
    The stunning visuals
    The touching audio callbacks
    The instantly iconic soundtrack

  28. I propose it accumulates what any particular individual focus their attention on… If one's interest is appropriate news or information that is suitable or relevant to their place in society, they're an ideal candidate for their title… So instead of controlling information, instead use it to place them in occupations accordingly. So they may best serve society & the community…

    Of the people for the People by the people…???

    Naw but it actually specifies their CPUs have surpassed our cognitive capacity!!!???

  29. 10:22 Just like America 1963…

    There are loose ends in our history…some untidy sections…but if we pull on one of those loose strings, we might unravel the tapestry that is our history!

    That very history that led up to your awakening… What you're proposing…where does it start where does it end..???

  30. Psycho pass goes in depth into this as well. When you can completely understand but not reject something you know you should. Holy shieet!!

  31. Hideo Kojima was certainly a man ahead of his time. I remember this game and all the others in the series and thinking that he had a message to tell, a warning, and knew the only real way to get people to listen was to create something so alluring that people would have to listen because it was embedded within it's very fabric. He created MG as a game-developer, sure, but eventually used it to get his message out. He succeeded.

  32. You can't present logic and facts to SJW's without being attacked personally and not ideologically. Abortion is murder. The baby has its own body. Biology proves this. Law proves murder. Same with gender. Biology proves there are only two sexes..therefore only two genders. The left are the insane ones..not the right. Debate me on any subject..truth us on my side..not emotion..so I win everytime. Facts and evidence prove truth. The left lacks in both these departments and therefore lives in a world of falsehoods..not truths. When presented with something that exposes the falsehood..they ignore or attack rather than debate against it. The media has indeed programmed them away from truth.

  33. MGS2 is easily the most deep and complex and thought provoking game out there, that was many years ahead of time.
    I was equally fascinated and ever since I first played it, it left a deep impression on me. I was around 14 at the time, when I played it through the first two times, I still did not fully understand what the game was really about, but it never let me go since, and as time past, I saw and understood more and more what MGS2 foretold and its meaning behind it. To this day, I am still amazed to see that this games message is still relevant since its release. This is Kojima's Ultimate Masterpiece by far, as he realized that the plot was so complex that the average player did not truly understand it and thus his later games became more simplistic in comparison.

  34. The future is more terrifying than these ones warn you about. They do not tell the whole truth to help aid you to The way. The truth is written in the King James Bible, spoken by the one whom made the truth.

  35. The most profound moment in gaming history was in GTA IV.

    Niko Bellic: I've always wanted to be a lawyer.

    Francis McReary: You can be whatever you like, it's the land of opportunity. Any fool can BECOME PRESIDENT.

  36. I wish that there were some way to make people see this more. If only there were an AI that could profoundly suggest this video into people's reccomendations. Hmmmmm….

  37. 2002, I was ten years old and this game fucked my mind. After the end of the Game, i feeled so confused. Great memories! 😀

  38. Excellent analysis. MGS stands in a row with many good 60's science fiction books whose dystopian ideas unfortunately came true too often.

  39. I wonder why an AI that comes to these conclusions still wants to preserve humans at all costs and doesn't instead view itself as the next step in evolution. Sometimes I think humans are just not capable of managing such a gigantic, complicated and fast evolving world. I mean the human brain has not changed very much (if at all) in the last ten thousand years, but the problems it is expected to solve (and endure) today are on a completely different scale.

    Of course there are enough books, movies and games that deal with this.

  40. Almost 20 years later and this game seems more relevant now than ever. I wonder if we'll be looking back at Death Stranding in 2040 in a similar way.

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