See the old sci-fi magazine that inspired Metal Gear Solid 5



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As I mentioned last time, I was out doing some last-minute shopping on a cold, dark, possibly magical night, when I stumbled into a strange little store called "Curios, Rarities, Bibelots & Old Sci-Fi Magazines That Inspired Games From 2015". I chatted with the shopkeeper, who told me he used to own a store deep underground that sold bombs, parachutes, cameras, and personal teleportation devices. He also told me that several games from 2015 had been inspired by old pulp sci-fi magazines from the 1930s, and he had several for sale. He really stressed the word sale as he kept one hand on his loaded shotgun. I paid him in gold nuggets.

One of the old magazines I purchased that night was from 1934. It was called Inadvisable Science and contained a story called Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain. It sounds bizarre, almost as if I'm completely making it all up, but the story appears to have been an inspiration for the game of the same name.

There are a number of odd things about this issue of Inadvisable Science. First, it's 786 pages long, very unusual for a magazine, though fitting for a tale that is long, rambling, at parts completely nonsensical and very hard to follow. Having not read several of the previous installments, I'm not even sure what the protagonists name is. Snake? Punished Venom Snake? Ahab? Big Boss?

Odder yet, at the start of the magazine, there are a number of pages like this:


Even stranger, the magazine's publisher insisted I read every single one of these pages every single time I opened the magazine. Granted, I didn't read them, really, I'd just flip through them as quickly as possible. Who the hell wants to look at bunch of annoying notes every single time they want to read a story? Stick them in an index or something.

A lot of the story details exciting combat, some great stealth missions, and a number of cool weapons and gadgets Snake uses, though there's tons of text about Snake looking over the stats of his staff members and assigning them to tasks at Mother Base. It's nice when the story gives a little insight to some of the captured soldiers he recruits, however:


Of course, there's also a lot about balloons.


Oddly, the last fifty pages of the magazine are completely blank. I have no idea why.

By the way, if you're interested in making your own covers of sci-fi magazines, there's a great online tool called The Pulp-O-Mizer! Note: this is for creating a fake cover, not a real cover like the one on this page.

Christopher Livingston
Senior Editor

Chris started playing PC games in the 1980s, started writing about them in the early 2000s, and (finally) started getting paid to write about them in the late 2000s. Following a few years as a regular freelancer, PC Gamer hired him in 2014, probably so he'd stop emailing them asking for more work. Chris has a love-hate relationship with survival games and an unhealthy fascination with the inner lives of NPCs. He's also a fan of offbeat simulation games, mods, and ignoring storylines in RPGs so he can make up his own.