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We are the Sons of Submission

            We are the Sons of Submission: Obedience to Authority in Metal Gear Solid 2.
             as that which keeps the appearance of freedom.
             --Jean-Jaques Rousseau. .
             In his two works on mindrape, A Rape in Cyberspace and My Dinner With Catherine MacKinnon (And Other Hazards of Theorizing Virtual Rape), Julian Dibbell points out that in an online setting, the player's identity is ambiguous. The player-character exists somewhere between the virtual and the actual "not quite one because the character and their virtual environment are both fictions, and not quite the other because for each fictitious player-character there remains an actual player who has made a real investment of identity in their online persona. This ambiguity is borne out by the reactions of those who have experienced mindrape, in their understanding of both the violation and the fiction of its context. Hideo Kojima's Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (MGS2) points out, from a single-player setting, that the player-character's identity is similarly ambiguous. The character Raiden is the player "he has the player's name, gender, and blood type on his dog tags to prove it (Document, Ending 4). Yet, he also asserts his independence from the player in the game's ending, casting the dog tags aside and vowing to form a self of his own choosing. The narrative of Raiden and the metanarrative of player-Raiden intertwine to address MGS2's themes of identity, freedom, and obedience.
             With this in mind, we would like to explore these themes from three perspectives: the virtual (that of the character within a narrative), the actual (that of the player outside the game context), and the position between the two formed by a player-character relationship of shared identity (that of the player playing). Using Dr. Stanley Milgram's psychological studies on obedience as our benchmark of obedience in the actual world, this analysis suggests that obedience itself is one of the pleasures of gameplay.

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