Game: Space Channel 5
Developer: United Game Artists
Release date: 2000
There are, in my famously (or not) humble opinion, a few must-play games for the dead-before-its-time Dreamcast. Among them: ChuChu Rocket!, Crazy Taxi, Jet Set Radio, Rez, Shenmue and Skies of Aracadia. Oh, and this Tetsuya Mizuguchi-designed title. Yes, naysayers, at its heart Space Channel 5 is the video game equivalent of Milton Bradley's "Simon" toy, but the body that surrounds that blood-pumping vessel is what elevates this game to "must own" (or at least "must try") status. For starters, there's the game's graphics, which have a groovy, Jetsons-esque vibe to them. Then there's the extremely hummable soundtrack--composed by Naofumi Hataya, Kenichi Tokoi and Ken Woodman--which has a similar throwback feel to it. Oh, and let's not forget the story that ties it all ogether. It's completely silly--an alien race invades the planet (Earth, I think) and forces people to dance; "funky space reporter" Ulala, a Lady Miss Kier look-alike, comes to their rescue by defeating said aliens (and a few rival journalists) through dance-offs--of course, but what else would you expect from a game with a cover like the one above? There are just two things that keep Space Channel 5 from achieving perfection: 1) a sense of rhythm is required if you hope to get anywhere in the game, and 2) even if you have a sense of rhythm, the game sometimes fails to recognize it. Even then, the game is easily one of the more enjoyable and unique examples of the genre.
See also: Previous 'Great Gaymathon' posts