The Metal Gear Solid series is an interesting look at how different events in the past would’ve resulted in dramatic changes to the world’s future. Sort of like a dramatic butterfly effect players can witness the chain of events that leads to the destruction of nations and the absurdity of using a cardboard box to avoid detection.
While the series gets many historical moments correct there are some liberties taken for the sake of plot. Fictional people who ran for political office, technologies that don’t exist, and the might of an empire that is no more.
10 Accurate: JFK Assassination
The games reference this dark day in US history and a lot of the situations surrounding the assassination that are true to real-life. With a game that contains so many sci-fi elements, it’s surprising that they didn’t take more liberties with the assassination and they did a great job making sure they didn’t get the details surrounding it wrong.
Sure there are some conspiracy theories thrown in, but they’re reflective of the conspiracy theories that popped up at the time and since that tragic event.
9 Not Accurate: Soviet Russia Collapse
The USSR was a political powerhouse that collapsed in 1991 and gave way to current day Russia. The collapse was the result of civilian unrest and economic fallout from Communist policies.
Throughout the series the USSR is still alive and well as late as 1999. Part of this is because the empire showed no signs of stopping when the game was made in 1990. The developers naturally assumed the USSR would continue on and pose a threat to the US for several more years as it vied for more and more power.
8 Accurate: Cuban Missile Crisis
The Cuban Missile Crisis was a chilling moment in US history and was the first time the threat of nuclear war became a horrifying possibility. Intelligence showed that the USSR had moved ballistic missiles to the island of Cuba, who were allies of the USSR.
This is referenced in the Metal Gear Solid series and once again portrays the moment with a great deal of accuracy. How the game series claims the Crisis was resolved is fictional, but doesn’t dilute the actual events of the time.
7 Not Accurate: President George Sears (Solidus Snake)
This is the first president in Metal Gear Solid that is not based on a genuine president from history but a fabrication of the developers' minds. President George Sears was elected after President Reagan and was a tough leader. He advocated for nuclear disarmament, anti-eugenics, and instituted a number of secret military programs subservient to the Patriots.
In real-life, the 42nd President was Bill Clinton who probably never killed a child’s parents, adopted the child, and then through torture and abuse turned him into an infamous mercenary.
6 Accurate: Bay Of Pigs Invasion
The real-life Bay Of Pigs Invasion was a CIA funded operation that was meant to assist Cuban dissidents in overthrowing the authoritarian leader of Cuba, Fidel Castro. Cuban airfields were bombed and troops stormed Playa Girón. While things were going according to plan President Kennedy changed his mind and refused to send air support ultimately leading to the invasion’s failure.
Once again in Metal Gear Solid, the events played out in parallel with how they did in the real world. The motivations and consequences of the invasion were a little different, but it’s pretty true to life otherwise.
5 Not Accurate: Ousted US Secretary Of State
In addition to a fictional 42nd President, his Secretary of State pick Jim Houseman is also a fictional individual with no similarities to the real Secretary of State under President Clinton, Madeleine Albright. In the Metal Gear Solid games, Houseman was tasked with handling the infamous Shadow Moses Incident.
He was ousted from office after President Sears discovered his plan to frame terrorists for the nuclear strike on Shadow Moses. Shortly after Houseman was found dead from a supposed suicide, though some secret documents suggest the manner of his death may have been more nefarious.
4 Accurate: Chernobyl
The horrific accident at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant near Pripyat in Russia was a chilling insight into the potential danger of nuclear power if it’s not properly respected. The unsanctioned experiments carried out by the workers led to significant radiation contamination of the surrounding area.
This incident has an important role in the Metal Gear Solid series as it’s used as an example to justify nuclear disarmament efforts. Weapons analyst Nastasha Romanenko uses this incident in particular as justification for her nuclear disarmament beliefs given she was a child living in Pripyat during the accident and lost both parents to cancer.
3 Not Accurate: President James Johnson
Continuing the trend of using fictional presidents in the Metal Gear Solid games to avoid stepping on any toes, the developers introduced players to President James Johnson. President Johnson replaced President Sears after the Shadow Moses incident. President Johnson proved to be a more effective puppet for the Patriots and put many of their plans in motion.
In reality, the 43rd President of the US was George W. Bush, who probably never grabbed a mercenary by the crotch after mistaking him for an assassin.
2 Accurate: Gulf War
The Gulf War plays a major role in the Metal Gear Solid series and is, for the most part, a historically accurate recreation. Iraq invaded Kuwait over oil disputes leading to the US forming a coalition of military forces from other nations to quell the hostility.
It’s this war that Liquid Snake and Solid Snake would be deployed to participate in operations related to the Gulf War. This is shorty after both were injected with Big Boss DNA, Solid Snake would join the Green Berets and Liquid Snake becomes a prisoner of war.
1 Not Accurate: GW
Alright, so this one is fairly obvious but it bears mentioning nonetheless. The creation of GW occurred shortly after the Y2K scare and the Patriots felt a large scale AI program embedded in every aspect of society would assist in their world domination plans.
GW would go on to be a major tool for manipulation and control as it used Solid Snake to achieve its ends. Ultimately it would be crippled by a virus and left a shell of its former self, although there are some rumblings that other AIs may exist. Admittedly if a secret power hungry AI did exist it would be a secret and no one would know of its existence, but until evidence surfaces that one was created it’s safe to say the GW is not historically accurate.