Space Channel 5: Part 2 is my favorite game of all time. Hands down. No “ifs”, “ands” or “buts”. I was only introduced to it about seven or eight months ago, around the time I met my current girlfriend, but I could swear on my very soul that it is my favorite. Why? Well, allow me to inform you.
I have depression. Always have, since I was young. It’s not so much a “things are sad so now I’m sad” thing, but more of a “for some reason, at the moment I’m at the event horizon of despair and emotional numbness and I just want to be able to feel something but I’m just stunted and caged and god, why does this keep happening?” type of thing. For brevity’s sake, let’s just define depression as the numbing of emotions, blocking the sufferer from being able to feel as much as they wish they could.
Now, and here’s the best part, whenever I find myself playing or watching my girlfriend play Space Channel 5: Part 2, it’s like I never had depression. I’m laughing, I’m crying from laughing, and I’m excited to see what happens next; even when my depression is in full, soul crushing swing. There is no other game I’ve played that elicits more joy than Space Channel 5: Part 2.
The game has you, as Ulala and her Swingin’ Report Show on the titular Space Channel 5, fending off Rhythm Rogues, doing a guitar battle with a cyan haired barbie-doll named Pudding, rescuing the Space President (whose name is Peace), working with Michael Jackson (in space!), and finally defeating a strange, tall man who belly dances at really inappropriate times. I love it, so you can imagine how badly I want the sequel that may well, quite sadly, never come to be.
But I’m not going to take that injustice lying down (typed Frank on his laptop, reclined in his bed). Space Channel 5: Part 3 is the sequel that not only fans of the first two deserve, but one that all the good people of the universe deserve. Except Thomas. That guy doesn’t deserve anything.
So here’s why Space Channel 5: Part 3 needs to exist:
1. It’s a Game That is One-Hundred Percent About Fun
Space Channel 5: Part 2 (I’ve never played the first) is all about fun. Pure, absolute fun. Sure, it’s simply a memory game based around rhythm, but, hell, Portal is just platforming with inter-dimensional wormholes and The Stanley Parable is just a game where you walk around. You sit on your couch, your comfortably comfy couch, and join in on the endless fun of being a funky space news reporter fighting rhythm rogues and a tall man named Purge who belly dances at inappropriate times and scream “I BEAT PUDDING” a third of the way through.
How many other games were just focused on the player having a good time, without any messages on (insert the sound of a game journalist creaming themselves) the human condition, and which game is the Citizen Kane of Vidya Garmes? Not any modern games, that’s what.
The essence of games, as in the entertaining distraction that has been with humanity since before the dawn of civilization, is fun, and a new Space Channel game would be exactly that.
2. Pop Music is at an All-Time Insurgence in Our Culture
Katy Perry, Ke$ha (who is actually quite good), Pitbull, and many others top the modern charts not because they’re high-class or good, but because pop music the delicious french fry to classical music’s caviar and sushi. It’s not good for you, but Jesus McBurger Chungus Fly-Cry is it as tasty as a bucket-o-fried chicken.
I like Ke$ha songs (and Ke$ha herself; did you know she’s a huge history and mathematics buff? She’s awesome!), I like Pitbull, I don’t like Katy Perry all too much, but that’s okay because fast food is great from time to time.
The Space Channel series was more or less the result of SEGA and Michael Jackson having a magical love baby thrown onto the Dreamcast, and with today’s over-saturation of pop music, we have so much to draw from. We can pick the brightest bulbs out of a hardware shop and shine them in a dark room; in other words, we can take the best of current pop and throw it into here.
I would love a game where Ulala (the protagonist from Space Channel 5) sides with Lady Gaga to take down the evil Pitbull.
3. It Could Introduce a New Generation of Depression Sufferers To This Amazing Series
If Space Channel 5 were to get a rightful sequel, many more people like me, suffering from the destitution of depression, could find the essence of pure joy that is this series of games.
I don’t know what it is about the Space Channel series that does this, but regardless, it works. The bright colors, the happy music; it cultivates an environment of peace and happiness. It gives emotion to a medium of entertainment that seems to only entertain the emotions of stoic-ness and grrr, I’m angry. And that’s what depressives need. When we’re having our bad days, the days of gray, stunted emotionless suffering, we need something that encapsulates the essence of emotional happiness. We don’t need some high-polygon count bull-crud like a David Cage game to feel high-polygon emotions, we just need fun.
I really want a new Space Channel 5 game.
Frank Margarella and his Swingin’ Editotrial Column would appreciate you following him on Twitter @Fuhjem. You can also check out his Swingin’ Web Site at Turtlecade.com for videos of him playing Fallout 3 using only mini-nukes.
I BEAT PUDDING/DEPRESSION!