Metroid is a study in contradictions. It’s cartoony yet creepy. Bright yet bleak. Most significantly, it’s expansive but claustrophobic. Metroid invited players to explore the two-dimensional space of the TV screen in new ways. The game had an unprecedented verticality, and the flow of the quest was structured around restrictions—portions of the world that were walled off until you upgraded yourself with a gadget that would let you pass. Sure, there were plenty of games that featured locked doors and hidden keys, but the keys to Metroid were abilities that were integrated into your character’s very person—pairing internal growth with external exploration.
The final moments also produced one of video games’ first twist endings, one that Evan Narcisse characterized as a sort of generational Rorschach test: How you reacted to hero Samus’ big reveal said a lot about who you were as a person in that moment. Tell us how you reacted, and what the big ideas in Metroid mean to you, in the comments. I’m looking forward to hearing what you have to say, and thanks for watching!