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Old 09-23-2009, 01:56 PM   #1
seth
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please rate this review: Space Channel 5

Space Channel 5
developed by United Games Artists, published by Sega
available on Sega Dreamcast and Sony PlayStation 2



HIGH: The final boss battle. The transcendence into incredibly sharp 2d sprites and the coalescence of the space community to defeat journalistic evil was amazing.

LOW: Getting used to the rhythm of each song.

WTF: The wonderful trippiness that the game often results in.



Space Channel 5 is a game about television. Its communicative strength as a demonstrative tool, and the inherent dangers of its misuse. It makes some sly commentary about the small screen by combining its two undeniable epitomes; televised journalism (the noble kind, the only purpose of which is to serve the loyal viewer with imperative information) and... music videos!

In space!

I love it when games have a specific idea that is coherently seen and expressed in all aspects of the design. For instance, in Space Channel 5 the mimicry powers of television are not only basis for the game's narrative, but its core mechanic as well.

The plot follows Ulala (oddly enough, she and I share a birthday according to the instruction manual), a news reporter employed by Space Channel 5 as she takes on a mysterious race of brainwashing, monitors-for-heads aliens known as Morolians. The conflict? The aliens have invaded and are forcing people... to dance? The only way to stop these miscreants is to beat them at their own game; out-dance their intergalactic moves until their little alien booties can shake no more.

So if you've played at the very least a variant of Simon says, you'll get the idea. Only difference, Space Channel 5 is also a rhythm game, so to progress Ulala will have to match both the order and timing of the Morolians' dances. If an alien says "Up," you press up on the d-pad. If they say "Up, up... left," you press up, up... left. Shooting is also involved and controlled by given commands. Gun down galactic scum and rescue groovy victims with your dual-pistols, a face button controlling each.

Each level culminates with a "boss" fight, essentially a more challenging rhythm section where Ulala gets a health meter, represented by a number of hearts. If you screw up, you lose a heart. Lose all your hearts and you'll have to restart. I didn't find these bosses or the levels in general particularly challenging, but they are all designed very well, and a few sections were tough enough that I had to (joyously) attempt them multiple times. The game can still be completed in an hour or so, even the first time through, but this is by no means a detriment. The game doesn't need to be any longer at all, the fun and rewarding rhythm received from joining together sexy dance moves never gets old. I also find replaying this game extremely accessible and enjoyable, specifically because of its brevity. Finishing a game in one sitting is a special experience, and I relish re-entering the world of Space Channel 5. Its retro-future style and Ulala's go-go boots never cease to completely charm, and if I've got the time (which again is likely) I can see it through to the fantastic finale.

Space Channel 5 is an unforgettable game with wonderful music, art, and style all its own. It left me with a good funky feeling, and still has me pondering the point and potential of TV.

Last edited by seth; 09-23-2009 at 02:46 PM.
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Old 09-24-2009, 05:18 PM   #2
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Re: please rate this review: Space Channel 5

hey seth,

I like the review but there are a few changes you may want to consider.

try to avoid using second person

"I love it when games have a specific idea that is coherently seen and expressed in all aspects of the design. For instance, in Space Channel 5 the mimicry powers of television are not only basis for the game's narrative, but its core mechanic as well."

I would go into detail about how televission is the basis for the game's core mechanic.

also don't forget the disclosers
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Old 09-24-2009, 08:39 PM   #3
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Re: please rate this review: Space Channel 5

Quote:
Originally Posted by coyls3 View Post
hey seth,

I like the review but there are a few changes you may want to consider.

try to avoid using second person

"I love it when games have a specific idea that is coherently seen and expressed in all aspects of the design. For instance, in Space Channel 5 the mimicry powers of television are not only basis for the game's narrative, but its core mechanic as well."

I would go into detail about how televission is the basis for the game's core mechanic.

also don't forget the disclosers

thanks for responding. yeah, i noticed the second person thing as well. i think i only did it once or twice, ill be sure to change it


as for the television thing, i felt pretty good that i got this idea across. i dont want to spell it out because i dont want to rob the gamer of that experience. i think the review as a whole gives the reader a pretty good idea of the game's intended statement without totally giving it away. do you really disagree?

Last edited by seth; 09-24-2009 at 08:41 PM.
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Old 09-25-2009, 02:54 AM   #4
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Re: please rate this review: Space Channel 5

Quote:
Originally Posted by seth View Post
thanks for responding. yeah, i noticed the second person thing as well. i think i only did it once or twice, ill be sure to change it


as for the television thing, i felt pretty good that i got this idea across. i dont want to spell it out because i dont want to rob the gamer of that experience. i think the review as a whole gives the reader a pretty good idea of the game's intended statement without totally giving it away. do you really disagree?
honestly, yes.

Your review starts off as a formal critique that explores a deeper meaning behind the game, but then turns into a run of the mill video game review.

Video games that have substantial meaning to them are rare. So rare that when a critic comes across one, they should treat it like the work of art that it is.

Now that you have discovered a possible meaning behind the game, you should explore how you came to that conclusion.

Space channel 5 is and older game that I honestly don't remember and I'm sure that many others don't remember it as well. By "spelling it out" you won't be depriving anyone of an experience, but instead opening their eyes to an otherwise forgotten one.
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Old 09-25-2009, 09:32 AM   #5
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Re: please rate this review: Space Channel 5

Quote:
Originally Posted by coyls3 View Post

Video games that have substantial meaning to them are rare. So rare that when a critic comes across one, they should treat it like the work of art that it is.
i vehemently disagree with this; there is substantial meaning in many video games. its just that most reviewers and critics are 20 something manchilds and cant analyze to save their lives


but anyway, are you proposing i take out the critical analysis stuff altogether, because that is something i was happy to include and wish more reviewers would do such. i think the best way to flesh those ideas out would be to write an extensive critique, like you suggested, but i dont think that belongs in a review, because again that would be pretty spoileriffic for the reader, and reviews should never spoil.

Last edited by seth; 09-25-2009 at 03:26 PM.
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Old 09-25-2009, 03:53 PM   #6
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Re: please rate this review: Space Channel 5

Quote:
Originally Posted by coyls3 View Post
Space channel 5 is and older game that I honestly don't remember and I'm sure that many others don't remember it as well. By "spelling it out" you won't be depriving anyone of an experience, but instead opening their eyes to an otherwise forgotten one.
Took the words right out of my mouth! Damn coyls, you're getting good at this game criticism criticism.
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Old 09-25-2009, 04:55 PM   #7
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Re: please rate this review: Space Channel 5

you guys are talking more about a critique, which this wasn't.
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Old 09-25-2009, 08:57 PM   #8
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Re: please rate this review: Space Channel 5

Quote:
Originally Posted by seth View Post
i vehemently disagree with this; there is substantial meaning in many video games. its just that most reviewers and critics are 20 something manchilds and cant analyze to save their lives
I agree that there are many games that have meaning, but when compared to the number of those that don't, they are rare. Most of today's popular games ( which consist mostly of sports sims and shooters) wave meaning for more realism.


Quote:
Originally Posted by seth View Post
but anyway, are you proposing i take out the critical analysis stuff altogether, because that is something i was happy to include and wish more reviewers would do such. i think the best way to flesh those ideas out would be to write an extensive critique, like you suggested, but i dont think that belongs in a review, because again that would be pretty spoileriffic for the reader, and reviews should never spoil.
At this site criticism is favoured over consumer review. However, if you want your piece to be a consumer review then that's your right.

From a consumer review standpoint, the only concerns I have with this piece is the use of second person in paragraph 4, and the first two paragraphs.

I like the fact that you included criticism, and you should defiantly keep it. However, the first two paragraphs feel alienated from the rest of the review. My suggestion would be to work on the transition and/or add the criticism towards the end of the piece.

Last edited by coyls3; 09-25-2009 at 09:13 PM.
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Old 09-25-2009, 09:14 PM   #9
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Re: please rate this review: Space Channel 5

Quote:
Originally Posted by seth View Post
you guys are talking more about a critique, which this wasn't.
Here's a dictionary definition of "critique": an article or essay criticizing a literary or other work; detailed evaluation; review.

Here's a dictionary definition of "review": a critical article or report, as in a periodical, on a book, play, recital, or the like; critique; evaluation.

To me, they are one and the same. On our site, any consumer related content is relegated to the sections for parents and the Deaf & Hard of Hearing.

If you're concerned about spoilers, you can put a spoiler alert, but as coyls already said, this is an old game, so why be concerned with spoilers.
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Old 09-25-2009, 10:27 PM   #10
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Re: please rate this review: Space Channel 5

I actually think Coyls is right on the money. The opening got me fired up to hear how SC5 would use the idea of television, but you didn't follow through in the review.

personally, i'd rather have more discussion about this concept than the standard 'consumer review'. IMO you can talk about the nuts and bolts in 1-2 paragraphs, and spend the rest of the review fleshing out your opening premise.

Space Channel 5 is a game about television. Its communicative strength as a demonstrative tool, and the inherent dangers of its misuse.

Space Channel 5 is an unforgettable game with wonderful music, art, and style all its own. It left me with a good funky feeling, and still has me pondering the point and potential of TV.

these are your two strongest statements, but they're not supported at all. go back and build these up, and the rest is really secondary if you want to hook current readers on this old game.
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Old 09-26-2009, 10:28 AM   #11
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Re: please rate this review: Space Channel 5

alright, thanks for all the comments guys. i'll keep what you said in mind and just turn this into an in depth look at the game, without any notions of "reviewing" it.


oh, when i have written the new piece, should i post it here, or give it its own thread?

Last edited by seth; 09-26-2009 at 11:27 AM.
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Old 09-26-2009, 11:25 PM   #12
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Re: please rate this review: Space Channel 5

just post it here and make a post stating that you updated it
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