Ruth's Diary


Today is Friday 13th: that day is always guaranteed a good day for me. I don't really know why that is but 13 has always been a good number. Before moving to this house the last 2 houses I lived in were number 13 (the first one being the house I was brought home from hospital to).

Now I was going to go into detail about what working at the Derby was like, such as the working literally all day thing (12-hour shifts on the principal 2 days-God how weird! I came home and went to bed soon after.) and the strange rubbish, like finding tampon applicators dumped in the grass outside the toilets and finding people were careless enough to leave behind money, unopened cans, unopened packets of sausages and entire gazebos. And then I was told of legendary stories about how one year a wallet containing £450 had been found, as well as a camera of the same value. The days spent as a litter-picker did inspire me to write a letter to the Daily Telegraph Editor and it got published in the Letters to the Editor section last Tuesday. I was happy to find my name there. (And Dad's a little envious: none of his letters ever got published.)

So I was going to say all that and more but Metal Gear Solid 4 came out yesterday so I'd rather talk about my various MGS experiences. I was fully aware of the release of the first game (Metal Gear Solid rather than Metal Gear) because during my early years as a gamer there was an in-depth article about it in a magazine Nathan and/or I bought. I didn't really understand it though and at 10/11 years old the only game hype I was aware of was for Tekken and Ridge Racer installments-games suitable for my age at the time, funnily enough. (There was also hype for Tomb Raider III, which became my first ever 15-rated video game but I didn't really like it).

MGS2 I played as a demo at first. Nathan encouraged me to play it to show the game was worth buying and he thought I would enjoy it. (This was also the time he still did gymnastics.) From the first few moments of going up and down the tanker, trying to keep out of the guards' sight, I was hooked. I couldn't wait for the game. (And so, the gaming world was introduced to Raiden *squee!*...a character designed to encourage more teenage girls to play. I didn't need Raiden to get MGS2 but the ploy only worked in Japan.) Now since Nathan has bought every single MGS game (except for MGS2: Substance-I bought that) it was his game so he got first dibs at playing it. What we would do was that we both played the game whenever we had time, so while he started off ahead of me, being first to play and all, I caught up and even overtook where he got to. It became a competition of sorts. He ended up being first to get to the final Boss but he had trouble defeating him so since I'm never too good with MGS bosses (they're too intelligent for me and rarely work in a pattern-I prefer bosses on platform games) he just waited 'til I got to the same point he was (he was playing hard difficulty while I played medium) and we both watched the ending after he defeated him. Now at various points I watched Nathan play the game and while I sometimes found out spoilers, it never ruined the enjoyment I had of playing it myself. (Yeah, I just wanted to see Raiden in as many cut scenes as possible.)

When MGS3 came out I was doing my AS Level mocks. That meant Nathan had more time than I did to play (I had more work and 3 extra-curriculars a week to do, Nathan just stayed at home all the time) so I never bothered to try and keep pace with his playing. I did find myself watching as much of his gameplay as possible. It didn't matter if I got story spoilers 'cos the story wasn't as deep as that in MGS2. He ended up watching me play as well and got so irritated by my hesitation and ease at panicking whenever I got caught. Later he gave me some tips and encouraged me to play through hard difficulty.

So now MGS4 is out and perfectly timed considering it's the Summer holidays and we have practically nothing to do. Ironically this causes a problem: how do we decide when each of us can play? Well while I watched Nathan play through (first dibs rule again) the first time, afterwards I haven't watched him at all unless he plays online. He reached a certain point yesterday (day 1) and today I got to the same point he did. Now he's progressing as I type. The reason why I'm not watching him play anymore is because every single cut scene reveals an element of the story (so far) whether it's big or small. I also realised I don't panic when red alert goes off either. I'm still dreading the first boss though, the only reason I managed them on MGS3 was because I was told how to beat them by Nathan (or saw him do it)...I'm now on my own.

But to all those people who have already completed either the game or half of it: calm down. You should enjoy the game and not lose sleep in order to complete it as quickly as possible. You're mad, all of you.

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