A Metal Gear Collection That Isn’t Very Solid? – Finding God in Video Games

After years of anxious anticipation, Konami finally graced us with something we have all been asking for… with the release of the Metal Gear Solid Master Collection, almost all of Solid Sake’s original adventures are available in one curated set of games to be discovered by a new generation of gamers (or rediscovered by those of us who were around for the original releases). But this “collection” seems to be missing a few things… make that SEVERAL things. As a self-professed Metal Gear front-row seat fan, I was prepared to bask in the glory of these titles that represented many of my fondest PS1/PS2 era memories, and I was fully prepared to accept that there would be a few titles missing (such as MGS 4) as well as a lack of overall polish as these are not being remastered or even graphically cleaned up… for better or worse these would look and play just like we remember them. What I WASN’T prepared for were the multiple shortcuts that the developer would take, resulting in the delivery of an incomplete experience with the promise of future resolution being provided by an upcoming patch. I don’t know about you, but after waiting for a couple of decades for this collection to exist, I would have been okay with waiting a few more weeks for it to actually be, you know… completely solid.

While some of the issues (such as the issues with slowdown during the cutscenes or the subtitles not matching up) were clearly unintentional and should be able to be remedied quickly, some were quite intentional such as the decision to make the majority of the games in the Nintendo Switch collection a “download”… meaning the main reasons most of us are purchasing this set (MGS 1,2, and 3) aren’t even physically included on the cartridge and must be downloaded to a separate storage device (purchased separately, of course). While those of us who have the space available on a current memory device will see this as more of an annoyance than a true inconvenience, the reality is that this “Master Collection” is intentionally incomplete… not because we are missing some of the titles that will likely show up in a future Master Collection Volume 2, but because this set was delivered without even completing what was promised. Konami appears to have exploited the goodwill of die-hard fans (like me), knowingly releasing an unfinished collection of titles that weren’t even updated or enhanced… all while guaranteeing that they would “fix the issues after the launch”. While most games these days are released with an expectation of a “day one patch” to remedy unexpected issues, those are typically NEW games, not simple re-releases. For Konami to release this set of old titles in such an incomplete fashion reflects a serious assumption on their part… one that we all face the temptation to demonstrate as well.

I am certainly guilty of making this same arrogant assumption in my life, thinking that I have plenty of time to address incomplete personal commitments or fulfilling promises that I have made at some point in the nebulous future… a future that isn’t mine to command. Sure, I am fiercely aware of my increasing age and the reality that each day behind me is one I will never get back… but I still fall victim to the prideful thought that my future self will eventually clean up some of the messes that I am choosing not to resolve today. This is more than mere procrastination… it is the misplaced confidence that I have time to finish things in a “tomorrow” that isn’t promised to me, offering the equivalent of a “mostly empty cartridge” that presumes upon a more convenient time that may never come. The Bible has much to say about this misplaced confidence that masquerades as faith in the Lord… and at its core, it has one name. Pride.

If you missed the first two installments in our series on “The Parasite of Pride”, here they are if you would like to get caught up before we dive headfirst into the book of James:

James 4:13-17 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.

James never minces words, stating in no uncertain terms that it is arrogance that leads us to presume upon the future and assume that we have any control over what tomorrow holds… but the interesting context to this moderately well-known chunk of Scripture is in his closing point when he says, “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.” The word “therefore” means it is building on the previous statement, not a separate unrelated thought. For years, I took these two ideas as two unique and independent thoughts, but when brought together the way they were intended an amazing truth jumps out at me and slaps me across the face… James isn’t merely telling us not to take tomorrow for granted or instructing us to place the Lord’s will at the center of our planning, even though both of those are true. When taken as a complete thought, he is warning us not to wait until the future to do the “good things” we know we are supposed to do… and putting off those “good things” that the Lord has guided us to do is a sin that has its roots in arrogance. As someone who has grappled with this temptation throughout my life, that was not a fun sentence to write… but as always, the answers are not far away.

Over the years, like Konami and their incomplete MGS collection, I have made an unhealthy habit of presuming on the future… a prideful decision that has revealed itself in very basic ways in my day-to-day life. I promise friends and loved ones that I will call or visit… but I never get around to it, and in many instances those options are now no longer present. I tell myself that I will make up my lack of presence to my family “in the future” because of other pressing matters in the present… but as they grow up, I can’t ever get these moments back. Or I make commitments in my relationship with and service to the Lord, but I keep pushing those promises down the road as I offer an “incomplete” version of what I promised… arrogantly thinking that I can simply place Him on the back burner when it suits me and make Him a priority at a more convenient time. The parasite of pride finds a way to infect even my most well-meaning intentions with the misguided view that I can push any of the “most important things” into a tomorrow that only the Lord controls.

There will ALWAYS be more things to do than we have time in the day, and the accomplishment of even our God-given dreams will always involve the temptation to take unauthorized shortcuts or make presumptuous decisions. There will always be distractions in our path that can cause misplaced priorities or enable confusion on what the “best things” for us to do at this time truly are… and the human tendency to say, “I will get around to fulfilling these important commitments once I get through this week, this month, this season, this school year, this promotion, this project, etc.” may seem innocent, but it actually reveals the same arrogance at the heart of James 4. The mistaken view that tomorrow is guaranteed for any of us, that the Lord’s will is going to wait for us, or that our family and friends will always be there later. And in the words of Christ when addressing the actions of Mary, the sister of Lazarus, He provided some critical clarity that should illuminate the path we can walk to avoid fallen prey to these presumptuously prideful thoughts masquerading as simple procrastination…

Luke 10:38-42 Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”

John 12:1-8 Then, six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was who had been dead, whom He had raised from the dead. There they made Him a supper; and Martha served, but Lazarus was one of those who sat at the table with Him. Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil. But one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, who would betray Him, said, “Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it. But Jesus said, “Let her alone; she has kept this for the day of My burial. For the poor you have with you always, but Me you do not have always.”

In both these verses, we see Mary’s priorities placed firmly in her loving service to the Lord as her north star… by keeping her eyes firmly and lovingly fixed on Christ, all these other things would find their proper place, time, and season. He didn’t say that those other pursuits lacked value or were unnecessary… He simply honored that Mary’s heart was on “the best things”, and that priority ensured that she was fully present for the “good part”. It is the presence of the Creator placed firmly at the center of our thoughts and all that we do that prevents pride from sneaking in and making promises we don’t have the power to keep.

Konami released their “Master Collection” of Metal Gear games, but something was missing… the “mastermind” behind the series, Hideo Kojima. The absence of the creator due to the very public falling out between Konami and Kojima meant he had nothing to do with this release… and without the creator at the heart of the project, it all fell apart. I can’t speak to their intentions, but in retrospect I think we can all agree that one of the greatest franchises in gaming history deserved far better treatment than this. And as Konami scrambles to complete their product on the indefinite date of “a future tomorrow”, the truth about our future and how we should view it becomes crystal clear.

Luke 12:16-21 Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.” ’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’ “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”

While the Lord may see fit to grace us with many tomorrows, it is the height of human arrogance to expect to see any of them or make plans to do for God tomorrow what we should be doing today (Hebrews 3:13). Let’s look at today as the unearned gift that it truly is and place His will at the center of all of our choices… to show His forgiveness TODAY to those we thought we had plenty of time to forgive. To spend time with those that we promised to visit while they are still here to see. To complete those missions for the Lord that we keep pushing off for a more opportune time… before that time runs out. To give our God, our spouse, our children, our family, and our friends the “100%” that we keep promising but can’t seem to find the time for. There are certainly different “seasons” in our lives (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8) ... there is a time to sow in the present by investing in the future and a time to reap what we previously sowed so we can truly LIVE in the present. But it is the Lord who sets and defines each of these seasons, and only He knows how many cycles around the sun that each of us will have… and only a life lived in full submission to the Creator as the head of the project will guide us into making the daily decisions that are “solid” enough to stand the test of time.

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