The use of the cardboard box as a tool of stealth was first revolutionized during Operation Snake Eater. When lying prone-and not moving-it served as a form of camouflage for Snake, especially in urban areas such as the fortress of Grozny Grad. However, if guards caught the box moving, it’s possible Snake’s cover could be compromised.
During the Peace Walker mission, Big Boss once again figured the cardboard box could be a useful tool and utilized it several times, even allowing himself to be ‘delivered’ to certain locations by putting himself in boxes in the back of trucks. As his MSF organization received more Gross Military Product, he was also able to develop new cardboard box variants, most notably the “love box” which could cover two soldiers, and the tank box, which came with a built-in stun cannon.
When Diamond Dogs was formed a decade later, the Cardboard box was once again utilized, but this time it could also have various add-on posters that could easily distract guards (only for Venom Snake to emerge and CQC them)
It was also popular at weddings. It’s unknown whether these were DD soldiers though.
A decade later, perhaps being genetically predisposed to it or building, Solid Snake used the Cardboard box at Outer Heaven. Strangely, Big Boss dismissed the use of the Cardboard box, asking his son is he was “planning to move or something?” although he had expressed a fondness for it in his youth. Well, he was fairly villanous and fallen from grace at this point.
It was also very handy for him in Zanzibar Land a few years later.
Naturally he also used it at Shadow Moses, causing Campbell to recall their use at Zanzibar Land.
Roy Campbell: What have you got there? A cardboard box?
Snake: Yeah. Remember that trick?
Roy Campbell: That’s the Snake I remember. Those poor fools won’t know what hit em.-Roy Campbell being nostalgic with Solid Snake, at Shadow Moses
Pliskin : The cardboard box that you have is ideal for fooling your
enemies. It’s a very important tool for infiltration missions. Of
course. I can’t begin to count the number of agents whose lives
were saved by a cardboard box…
Raiden : You mean everyone’s using them?
Pliskin : Look. I’m not exaggerating when I say the success of your mission
hinges on how you use that cardboard box. But in the end, a
cardboard box is only made of paper. Handle it with care or it
won’t be of much use to you. Y’know… I’ve lost a couple thanks
Raiden : ?
Pliskin : Nothing… forget it. Treat your cardboard box with care. Take
care of the box and it’ll take care of you… Don’t think of it
as just another box. Treat it with love… Don’t be rough. Okay?-Solid Snake to Raiden, Big Shell Inciddent
Both Solid Snake and Raiden also used the box during the tanker and big Shell inciddents, with Raiden almost shooting Snake in the box when he was briefly mistaken for a member of Dead Cell.
However, Solid Snake started to phase out the cardboard box use during the Guns of the Patriots incident, with it mainly functioning as a distraction for a pair of Gekkos/IRVING units, while Snake relied far more on his new “Octocamo” suit and masks.
Although he did use a drum can, which was far more durable and covered him while standing. It could also be used more effectively offensively, as Snake could use it to ‘roll’ on enemies.
Years later, Raiden would utilize a similar technique to his friend.