Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (2001)
All of the Metal Gear games were ground-breaking in their own way, but Hideo Kojima's 2001 release of MGS2 brought far more than just gameplay and graphical innovations when it wowed us all on PlayStation 2. Underneath the slick production values was a meticulously constructed narrative that cleverly manipulated its audience. Metal Gear Solid 2 was incendiary. It caused outrage and confusion. The series was already famous for the kind of trickiness that would print answers to riddles on the CD jewel case and ask you to switch controller ports to defeat enemies, but this game wove a message about truth and identity in 21st century politics that seems even more prescient now than it was 16 years ago. Towards the end of the game, there's an extraordinary conversation in which the motivations of the Patriots are revealed, along with their disturbing ideas on the effects of mass culture and social media on the people. "But in the current, digitized world, trivial information is accumulating every second, preserved in all its triteness. Never fading, always accessible," says Campbell, now revealed as an AI. "Rumors about petty issues, misinterpretations, slander..." continues Rose. "All this junk data preserved in an unfiltered state, growing at an alarming rate. It will only slow the rate of progress, reduce the rate of evolution," says Campbell. And then Rose says, "Everyone withdraws into their own small gated community, afraid of a larger forum. They stay inside their little ponds, leaking whatever 'truth' suits them into the growing cesspool of society at large." Somehow, Kojima had foreseen the effect of Facebook and Twitter's algorithmically curated newsfeeds long before even MySpace was invented.