Death Stranding teaches valuable life lessons about footwear
This is not a review of Death Stranding, neither is this a spoiler post. This is s cautionary tail in how a game can teach you life lessons, which when ignored will cost you dearly.
Hideo Kojima’s Death Stranding for PS4 is a beautifully flawed game. It’s a hodgepodge of interesting ideas and story beats, which it if clicks with your sensibilities could be game of the year material. If your not one those people, Death Stranding is a game whereby you hold L2 and R2 to have Sam Porter-Bridges hold his bag straps and avoid falling over for 40+ hours. This is literally how I played the game and I loved it.
But Death Stranding is more than that. Hideo Kojima says more about his world in three things than he ever does through cutscenes.
- You don’t have to eat or go to the toilet if you don’t want to, ever. But you can. Bathroom breaks are on your terms. If you want, you could spend hours sitting on the john – that could be your Death Stranding experience (don’t do this).
- Water will be turned into Monster Energy against your permission. Don’t you like Monster Energy? Tough. Water is for losers, not delivery men with deliveries to deliver.
- Your boots will only last a few precious hours before literally vanishing from your feet; leaving said feet moments away from being cut to shreds and you bleeding to death.
Of the 3 points above only one of them matters because only one of them will lead to your death.
Before I dive into the matter at hand, we need context. In Death Stranding, the USA (maybe the whole world) has been rendered into a battered landscape broken up by disparate shelters and very little else. Your job is to connect all of these shelters which stretch coast to coast through convoluted means to long to detail here. But here lies a small issue.
The USA is approximately 2,800 miles wide, to walk that distance would take about 4 months. In Death Stranding, Sam Porter-Bridges is able to do it in about an hour and a half, and he does so carrying 100kg on his back. During that time I had to change Sam’s boots, twice while carrying 4 additional pairs of boots. That’s a lot of boots. Why does Hideo Kojima think boots are so fragile? They don’t look fragile. Does he carry multiple pairs of shoes with him when he walks for more than an hour? Do his shoes wear out when he does? I have questions.
The point is that Hideo Kojima wants you to see the importance of appropriate footwear. When you neglect their necessity, they vanish. You are left alone with your bare feet and kilometers of jagged violent rock between you and the nearest outpost to redress your feet. If you even make it that far.
To put it even more plainly, Hideo Kojima through Death Stranding wants you to know that if you don’t have footwear on at all times you will die. So it has been (game) designed, it will be done.
I learned this first hand, although lucky for me I did not die.
Downstairs in my living room, I journeyed to the next Pokemon Gym in Pokémon Sword for Nintendo Switch, my feet were exposed (Pokémon Sword is a game which teaches nothing about footwear). I was nieve, I hadn’t learned what Death Stranding spent 30 hours teaching me. My dog barked at a passerby, I lept up to calm him but before I could I stubbed my toe on the leg of my coffee table.
Only I hadn’t stubbed my toe.
My grey coffee table met the gap between my little toe and the one next to it. The grey coffee table revealed the porcelain white bone of the knuckle of my little toe as if to pull the toes apart. The best way I can describe the wound would be that it looks like how a foot would look like if Wolverine’s claws also came out of his feet.
A trip to the emergency room saw the rip glued up and stitched, but the damage was done. A slipper, maybe even just a sock would have prevented this catastrophe. I didn’t meet my maker, but I did learn my lesson from a game maker.
I have never seen Hideo Kojima not wear something on his feet. I now understand why.