We listened to Brain Structure, Hideo Kojima’s podcast, and discovered how this opens a window into his way of thinking, even beyond video games.
If the videogame world ever opens its Hall of Fame (like that of American sports) one of the first five names to be included will be that of Hideo Kojima. To him we owe historical series such as Metal Gear, Boktai and Zone of The Enders as well as acclaimed titles such as Death Stranding. Now, the one who according to many critics and fans is one of the first true video game authors, has decided to tell his story and the genesis of his creative process in a Podcast called Brain Structure.
Every Friday afternoon a new episode is available in both Japanese and Italian thanks to a partnership with Spotify which distributes the podcast around the world. This is not the first radio adventure of the maestro who has been a guest on countless broadcasts and has held other podcasts and personal programs. Brain Structure, however, is the first show that is translated and distributed all over the world without limiting itself to Japanese territory only.
So let’s find out why Brain Structure, Hideo Kojima’s podcast, is a window into his way of thinking and why it might be worth listening to.
Curated by Riccardo Lichene.
The podcast is Hideo Kojima’s anecdotal story
To understand the reason for such a large investment by Spotify, it will be enough to retrace the Kojima’s career as an author and game designer: discovering how he thinks and which anecdotes have inspired his work will make us understand what lies behind his genius. Kojima wanted to write for the cinema but, very young and without connections, he decided to fall back on the world of video games. He started working at Konami in 1986 where, just a year later, he released Metal Gear, the grandfather of all stealth games we know. “I never appreciated the lack of context of the early shooters – he said in the first episode of Brain Structure – We never knew why A was shooting at B. My parents lived through the war and there was always a reason someone was fighting someone. other. Not only did I want to add context to my stories but I wanted to give the player the possibility of not having to fight with guns drawn. The protagonist of Metal Gear has no weapons at the beginning, he just has to run away, there is a strong message in this”.
In 1998 his first major international success arrives: Metal Gear Solid, a title that contributed to the explosion of popularity of the first PlayStation and consolidated the figure of Solid Snake in the popular imagination. Here his cinematic and emotional style begins to take shape “With the arrival of the CDs we were able to put cutscenes of a certain depth in the game” he says in the podcast, “this allowed me to be able to express myself much better and develop even more. my characters “. In the first episode we talk a lot about how technical innovations influenced Kojima’s creative process.
From his stories emerges a certain pride in the design of Boktai, a game for Gameboy Advance released in 2003. The protagonist is a vampire hunter who uses sunlight to shoot his weapon: “I had the idea of mounting on the cartridge a sensor sensitive to sunlight so if you weren’t playing when you were out of the house you were very limited in fighting enemies and had to avoid clashes “.
The second episode is all dedicated to relationship of the master with the cinema, especially anything that has to do with space, aliens and spaceships. The episode makes many references to Death Stranding and the sense of disbelief that the game unleashes in the viewer. However, there are also references to Zone of The Enders, a series of video games set in space with gameplay focused on combat between large robots. Kojima remained with Konami until 2015 when his personal division within the company, Kojima Productions, became independent.
The first game from the new studio was Death Stranding, which conquered critics and audiences when it came out in 2019. We will surely find out more about this period of his life in the next episodes of the podcast.
Brain Structure, the podcast by Hideo Kojima
Structurally, the podcast is a strange dialogue with an artificial intelligence called Brain (brain) in charge of acting as a link between Kojima’s creative process and the rest of the world. The goal of the show, in fact, is to communicate to fans how the videogame projects of the Japanese master are born. Halfway between interview and talk show, Brain Structure does not stray too far from the structure of a traditional podcast, what strikes is Kojima’s personality who is not afraid to be frank looking at his past. “When I was at Konami, often no one wanted to work with me because my projects seemed doomed to failure. When they saw the game almost finished, however, everyone changed their minds. The same thing happened with Death Stranding,” he said at the end of the first episode. .
The podcast follows this structure for good or bad: retracing Kojima’s career through his most iconic games and anecdotes that he himself has to tell about it. To all those who were wondering the reason for this production, the master thinks to answer: “I grew up listening to the radio and I think podcasts are its natural evolution. Everyone has at least one device with which to listen to them. a lot of radio in my life but it has always been only in Japanese, now I can reach my fans all over the world “he says at the beginning of the first episode.
Is it worth following it?
The first impact with a title by Hideo Kojima is not forgotten. Everything from combat to storytelling is so different from what we’re used to that it feels alien. His style is an acquired taste and, like good wine, once the initial barrier is overcome there is so much to be happy about. Long, explanatory cutscenes, entire game sections dedicated to exploration and introverted characters that open up to the viewer a little at a time are just some of his distinctive authorial traits. Anyone curious to find out what they are the origins of this way of making video games and how his style has evolved over time, he should give this podcast a chance because, already in the first two episodes, stories and background emerged that had rarely already reached the general public.
Already from the trailer of the show we can take a look at the real creative process of the master, in particular at how his ideas are born: “The source of my ideas is my desire to fully live every minute of every day. I want to have experience And be amazed from as many things as possible, allowing these moments to develop within me and then reuse them in my work. “Each episode lasts about 30 minutes and ends with a segment curated by Geoff Keighley, the face of the Game Awards and Summer Games Fest, which summarizes the news of the week from the gaming world. The first episode was aired on Friday 9 September and one comes out every Friday.
An interesting project
Hideo Kojima and Spotify have put together a fun and interesting product that does not bore and offers one unique perspective on one of the most influential minds of contemporary videogame fiction and game design. There are some moments that a typical Western listener might find bizarre, such as the emphasis on introductions, but those who chew on the Japanese way of doing things can only smile.