chris-littlechild - April 6, 2012
Metal Gear Solid is a series based around the concept Tactical Espionage Action. As such, it's unsurprising that it offers a perfect example of the ultimate camouflage: the stealth suit. Invisibility has always contested flight for superhero ability we're most jealous of and would give our left balls to emulate. When you consider the practical implications of the former, though, it may be wise to reconsider.
Metal Gear Solid's first outing on playstation awarded you with the stealth suit for rescuing incontinent uber-geek Otacon. When not pissing himself or hiding in cupboards, (or both simultaneously, he's a multi-tasking sort of guy) he's been developing technology that renders the wearer nigh-invisible via light refraction. Starting a new game with it in hand opened up a brave new world of unscrupulous shenanigans. Rather than taking half an hour just to cross a room, ninja-ing your way past a swarm of angry guards, you can now take the direct approach. To wit, carefully attaching a C4 plastic explosive to an oblivious dude's back and detonating him at will. Cackling in a fit of schadenfreude throughout, naturally.
Such cruel jokes are really all most of us would ever achieve if we possessed such an ability. Consider conjurer extraordinaire/ubiquitous ass-pain Harry Potter. In possession of the magical world's only utterly infallible invisibility cloak, what does he accomplish? A few late night wanderings around the castle. At one point, he uses it to sneak into a sweetshop. These exploits are hardly the stuff of legend, I'm sure you'll agree. Admittedly, there's some minor saving the entire planet from the most terrifying tyrant in history, but that comes later. If he wasn't such a benevolent soul, I'm sure he would've stretched the cloak across a Hogwarts toilet seat once or twice, so Weasley-whizz went absolutely everywhere. (I believe they learn the piss-removal spell in their first year, so cleaning the garment post-prank wouldn't be an issue.)
When it comes right down to it, it's difficult to think of a practical use for invisibility. Except in the case of criminals. Potential for highly ambitious heists combine with a retribution potential of around 0%. Further, your celebrity love du jour would be completely unaware of your presence, until they notice that their underwear has mysteriously disappeared from their yard. Again. Thieves and crazies, then, would be delighted by the advent of a real life stealth suit. For the rest of us, it'd be kind of fun for a while but become tedious rather quickly. The clown at a child's birthday party even the children want to attack after ten minutes of appalling balloon animals of technology.
Below, Solid Snake busts out some stealthy skills the old fashioned way. Less light refraction-based cheating, more shoving 10,000 volts of electricity into a dazed soldier's gonads.
Article by Chris Littlechild
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