Political Commentary Disguised as a Video Game Review

Why NASA's New Video Game Completely Misses the Point, Popular Mechanics

"Which makes Moonbase Alpha all the more unfortunate. The game serves as an epitaph for what appears to be NASA's lost decade. The agency failed to stay on time or on budget throughout the life of the Constellation program, its highest and most expensive priority. But while manned spaceflight foundered, unmanned exploration thrived. The modern-day equivalent of Aldrin and Armstrong are Spirit and Opportunity, robotic vehicles that survived years longer than expected on the surface of Mars. The rovers uncovered signs of water, and paved the way for the discovery of actual Martian ice by other intrepid bots."

Keith's note: I got an email from an editor at Popular Mechanics asking me to consider posting a link to this article on NASA Watch. I read the article and responded that I thought that the author had used the excuse of reviewing a video game as an opportunity to just dump on NASA, Obama's space policy, etc. Indeed, the bulk of the article seems to have nothing whatsoever to do with the video game it purports to review. Rather it goes on at length about how bad NASA has been. The editor tried again and again to convince me that I was wrong, but in re-reading the article I am now firmly of the opinion I originally voiced.

To be honest I have not played the game since it is not functional on Macs without running windows. So I have no idea if it is as "excruciatingly boring" as the reviewer claims it to be. That said, NASA aimed this game at an audience: students. This review makes no mention as to whether the reviewer is a student or if any students were asked to review the game and provide feedback for inclusion in this "review". So if there is a mismatch between reviewer and intended audience one would expect that the review is inherently flawed, yes?

If Popular Mechanics wants to dump on NASA, by all means, have at it. But trying to cloak political commentary under the guise of a game review is rather misleading to prospective readers.

New NASA Online Game Snubs Macs And Other Operating Systems, earlier post

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on August 4, 2010 4:53 PM.

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