Should Kojima of had his way growing up he would be sat behind a camera now directing the next blockbuster. Film-making was his passion back then and arguably still is. He remembers movie nights each evening with his parents and two elder siblings, where the only rule was no one could fall asleep until the end of the film. By the age of ten his parents would give him money to go to the cinema alone as long as he brought back the program and an extensive review of what he had watched. At school he and a friend would shoot movies on a super 8 camcorder and charge the pupils 50 yen to watch them.
This is how Kojima expressed himself, something he admits, he struggled with as a child, especially after moving home for the second time and losing his father at just thirteen years old. This had a huge impact on his family emotionally and financially but encouraged young Kojima to make it in the film industry.
Although studying economics at college, filmmaking was never far from his mind, Kojima describes how everyday conversations would soon be hijacked by thoughts of movie-making whisking him and his concentration completely away. Kojima admits that he had little control over this at times which would land him in some comprising situations like falling down storm channels at the side of roads, head in the clouds.
Unfortunately, the truth was film making in Japan was mostly made up of low budgets and B-movie type productions and even opportunities to these parameters were scarce. Kojima needed a different outlet that would cater to his creative flair and his ever-growing imagination. Has luck would have it he crossed paths with Nintendos Famicom and this is where his love for video games began.
Kojima’s decision to drop economics and concentrate on entering the games industry was met with trepidation. Everyone from his lecturer to fellow pupils thought he was making the wrong choice. The only person who supported his decision was his mother. With all the support he needed Kojima applied for a position at Konami, he chose Konami because they were the only Japanese gaming company on the stock exchange.
In 1986 he was given a position planning in the MSX home computer division. Kojima was a little disappointed with the position as he favoured the Nintendo over the MSX, knowing it harnessed more power.
Nether the less he was the assistant director on a game called Penguin adventure a sequel to Antarctic Adventure and the first game to bare Kojima’s name.
Despite Kojima’s reservations about the MSX, Penguin adventure harnessed significant improvements over Antarctic Adventure and lead to Kojima designing a game called Lost Warld. This game was cancelled as it was too ambitious for the MSX, bringing everything back to Kojima’s desire to work with a more powerful console.
It was at this point Kojima was asked to work on a game the original creator had run into difficulty with. The limitations of the MSX2 had left the game with nowhere to turn. The game, Metal Gear, this is where Kojima’s love affair with this little known title began.
In part 2 we explore –
- The rise of Metal Gear Solid
- Hideo Kojima’s rise to fame
- Kojima and Konami’s turbulent relationship
- Kojima’s lesser know achievements