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Hideo Kojima’s Strange, Unforgettable Video-Game Worlds

“‘Death Stranding,’ the newest video game from the developer Hideo Kojima, was introduced to the world in the summer of 2016 on a stage at E3, the gaming industry’s annual trade show. The spectacle resembled the scene in King Kong when the beast is displayed to the public in a Broadway theater. A live orchestra struck up a blaring John Williams-style score as the curtain lifted to reveal a sloping stage, at the very top of which stood Kojima, a slight Japanese man with swooping black hair and glasses. The floor began to light up underneath him, panes of light flying in from left and right to create a sort of light bridge, which he bounded down to shake a Sony executive’s hand. Then he stood center stage, beaming, to deafening applause. Kojima proceeded to play perhaps the strangest three and a half minutes of video ever to grace the E3 stage. Keep in mind that this is a venue where cybernetic dinosaurs and giant-felling samurai are par for the course. The video opened with a William Blake poem, the first lines of “Auguries of Innocence,” then cut to a close-up of highly realistic computer-generated sand. The camera floated over the sand, revealing a jumble of dead crabs. Handprints appeared in the sand and then filled up, inexplicably, with black goop. The handprints led to a naked man lying on the beach, his left wrist locked in glowing handcuffs. A black cord connected the man to what appeared to be a tiny infant, lying next to him on the sand. The man rose to his hands and knees and crawled over to the baby and picked it up and cradled it in his hands, bringing it to his chest, and his face was revealed and it was … Norman Reedus from ‘The Walking Dead’?”

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