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BBC documentary on disabled gamer's Metal Gear Solid limb is worth a watch

Sometimes uncomfortable, ultimately uplifting.

Last year, Metal Gear Solid publisher Konami said it would help fund a new prosthetic limb for a double amputee gamer.

25-year-old James Young, who lost an arm and a leg in 2012 when he was dragged underneath a London tube train, was chosen as the recipient.

Now, BBC Three has released a 30-minute documentary titled Bodyhack: Metal Gear Man, which shows Young being approached by Konami and ultimately receiving his new limb.

The documentary is well worth a watch, and the scenes where Young's family discuss James' injury - and how they were unsure if he would ever wake from the coma he was left in following his accident - are especially heartfelt.

But Konami's role in the process sometimes feels uncomfortable. The documentary's opening sections are stuffed with bombastic clips from Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain, where the Kiefer Sutherland-voiced Snake is shown blowing up enemies and punching them with his prosthesis. It jars with footage of Young and his day-to-day experiences.

Konami's original brief for the project - to create a limb inspired by its video game - means the arm Young receives is designed to look futuristic. Young's family are shown to be concerned about the added attention James could receive while wearing the limb, and their reactions to its initial unveiling - where it clearly has not been built to the correct specifications - are particularly disheartening.

Things continue to feel uncomfortable as a Konami PR coaxes a visibly unhappy Young to appear on stage at the US-based BodyHacking convention - when his new prosthesis is still not functioning correctly.

But his visit to the convention ultimately provides some of the film's most inspiring moments. Young is able to spend time afterwards connecting with others who have prosthetics limbs, then see how his new arm is received in public.

There's an extended preview of the film on YouTube below, or you can watch the full thing via BBC iPlayer.

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Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain

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Tom Phillips


Tom is Eurogamer's Editor-in-Chief. He writes lots of news, some of the puns and makes sure we put the accent on Pokémon. Tom joined Eurogamer in 2010 following a stint running a Nintendo fansite, and still owns two GameCubes. He also still plays Pokémon Go every day.