Metal Gear Solid cardboard box
Metal Gear Solid is very serious business, except for when it's not. The series has deftly straddled the line between the solemn and the goofy, the mundane and the fantastical, ever since its inception in 1987. I can't think of too many games that can feature a scene requiring you to point a directional mic at two villains as they discuss their successful abduction of a US president… which you can completely ignore to listen to an unfortunate man attempt to evacuate his bowels in a nearby restroom. The series swings wildly between the absurd and the somber, often within the same scene, and it's done so naturally that it's hard to think of Metal Gear as anything but a combination of the two. There's no item in Snake's repertoire more representative of this perfect balance between the equally important halves that make up Metal Gear's tone than his constant corrugated companion, the cardboard box.
The cardboard box made its first appearance in Metal Gear on the MSX as a way for Solid Snake to evade enemy patrols and surveillance cameras. If you wear it in the back of a handful of specific trucks, the enemy soldiers will even transport you around Outer Heaven. Of course, the game doesn't tell you any of this, as you have to figure out its myriad uses for yourself. The first time you equip it and notice your avatar's been replaced with a box, your mind begins swimming, awash in all the stealthy possibilities.
Much like the series itself, the cardboard box has been overhauled numerous times over the years, showing just as much technical sophistication as Snake's night vision goggles or his upgraded Nikita missile launcher. Metal Gear Solid brought the cardboard cube into three-dimensions, showing a Solid Snake fully embracing his inner five-year-old, as he darts from cover to cover with his legs hilariously poking out of the bottom of the box. If Snake is careful (and a little lucky), guards will stop to take a look at this seemingly out-of-place delivery crate, then walk on by, dismissing it completely. "Just a box, " they reason, continuing on their patrol. If only they knew the truth.
Further entries give Snake a variety of boxes to play with. In Metal Gear Solid 2, Snake finds a wet box for hiding outside in the rain on the deck of a massive oil tanker, and Raiden stumbles across a box with the Zone of the Enders logo on it (the hottest video game franchise in America, don'tcha know?) purely for kicks. And in MGS 5, it appears to be a veritable mobile stealth fortress, allowing Snake to pop out and surprise guards, use it as a sled to ride down hills, or leap out the side for a quick escape.See also:
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