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ELI5: What’s the appeal in playing games in chronological order instead of release order?

Gamingtodaynews1b - ELI5: What's the appeal in playing games in chronological order instead of release order?

For this post, I'll use the Metal Gear franchise as an example. I see a lot of discussion from first time players about what order to play the games, and while I see people recommending chronological order, I honestly can't think of a worse way to play through the series for the first time.

For one, the gameplay consistency is all over the place in this order. You start off with MGS3 (which, imo being the best game in the series, is already a bad way to start, as it can only get worse from this point), a ps2 game, have a fairly straightforward progression up until V, and then immediately drop back to PS1 gameplay with MGS1 (assuming you skip MG1 and MG2). This can be really jarring if you haven't played it before.

Secondly, this playing order hurts the story. Prequels are generally designed to be experienced with the context of the original story in mind. The story of MGS3 had, for me, a tragic feel to it underlying the cold war spy flick on the surface. The beginning of MGS1 and MGS3 is something of a point of divergence between Solid Snake and Naked Snake. From this point, one goes on to become a hero, while the other is the man who will become Big Boss. We've seen his legacy with Outer Heaven and Liquid's Sons of Big Boss, and if you played MG2, you've seen firsthand the man he becomes. We start playing MGS3 knowing the game is about Big Boss, and we see… Snake. You'd be forgiven for mistaking this Snake with the one we've been following for 2 (or 4) games. And yet, you know that this, this is the man who will become Big Boss. This thought permeated my entire playthrough of the game, and gave the "prequel (qua)trilogy" an overarching sense of tragedy and almost foreshadowing. This is the path Solid could follow. It's similar in that regard to the Machete Order for Star Wars. This is completely lost by playing MGS3 first.


There are other problems with this order, such as completely destroying the progression of questions and answers by showing the Patriots' origins before you even ask who they are, showing the origins of Big Boss before you even care, and most importantly spoiling Ocelot's true allegiance almost from the word go! as well as problems like Eva appearing in MGS3, and then not showing up until the (second to) last game.

This being said, I'm not against chronological order at all. In fact, it gave a lot of context to events on my second playthrough. But for a first playthrough, I don't know how anybody can recommend this order.

This is one example, but there are many series where playing/viewing in release order hurts the experience greatly the first time. I honestly can't understand why people recommend chronological order for new players. You wouldn't watch Memento in chronological order, at least not the first time.

Is there something I'm missing? I'd really like to understand the reasoning behind it and whether I'm just missing something obvious.

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