Snatcher: Get to Know Hideo Kojima’s Little-Known Gaming Masterpiece

  • Hideo Kojima has worked for nearly 30 years making some of the greatest games ever made. Each of his games has pushed the envelope thematically, in gameplay, and scope. Most people know the games in his Metal Gear franchise, but many people don’t know one of his more little-known masterpieces, a game called ‘Snatcher’.

    Do Games Dream of Electric Sheep?

    When one plays any Kojima game you notice that it is chock full of movie references. For example, the character of ‘Snake in Metal Gear’ is based off Snake Plisken in the cult classic ‘Escape from New York’. Snatcher is no different, except that it is not merely influenced by Hollywood movies, it is nearly a complete remake of one of the greatest Science Fiction movies ever made: Blade Runner.

    In case you have never seen the movie (what is wrong with you?! Go see it!), Blade Runner is about a future world in which Richard Dekker, a hard-boiled Blade Runner, and a section of the police hunt down androids that look exactly like humans, Replicants, and terminate them, and must find replicant Roy Batty and his band of escaped android friends who seek to extend their lives.

    The story of Snatcher is that in the future a new form of bio-organic life forms called Snatchers have infiltrated humanity and are killing off humans and taking their place, and due to the fact that they look and act just like humans no one can tell the difference. Your character as the player is a member of J.U.N.K.E.R, a special order of police that hunts down Snatchers.

    Sound similar?

    Exhibit 1: Blade Runner

    ‘Imitation is the greatest form of flattery.’ While the game might sound very similar to Blade Runner, it is even more similar to the movie in its visual style. Many of the vehicles, buildings, and backgrounds look strikingly similar to the classic movie.

    Exhibit 2: Snatcher

    But the game and the movie are not completely synonymous, there are many differences. While the design of the game and the movie are similar, Snatcher is much more based on the steampunk design sensibility. Furthermore, thematically the stories are very different. Blade Runner is about what it means to really be human. Snatcher’s main theme is one of distrust, and what dangers you face when you fear outside threats coming from within. Both are classic themes in storytelling, and both the movie, and the game are created by some of the greatest storytellers in their respective genres.

    If you have never played Snatcher then try and find it and give it a go. It may only be available now if you emulate it, but it is a great game if you like the point and click adventure genre, more specifically if you are a fan of Blade Runner. So, hunt the game down and try it out!

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