Jul 12, 2009

[Games] Katamari Damacy (PS2)

Katamari DamacyThe Japanese are notorious for some pretty bizarre concepts, hence the world's fascination with the kinds of game shows they come up with or the things they end up singing or writing about. It has certainly made for a very unique culture that's totally different from the rest of the global community, and wonderfully so.

I'm totally into Japan in a big way, and I suppose most other geeks tend to at least develop an appreciation if not outright love of their quirky culture. Every now and then there are certain cultural icons that just somehow best embody or personify Japanese identity in terms of their bold creativity, and one of the best venues for that has always been game development.

After the longest time of wanting to try it out, I finally got to play Katamari Damacy on the PlayStation 2. I know the game is rather dated by now, but it's still a really enjoyable game that anyone can pick up if they so desire.

The story is simple enough. Apparently one drunken night, the King of All Cosmos accidentally destroys all the stars and celestial bodies. Thus it becomes the mission of his son, the Prince (more or less you) to undo the damage. To aid you in your quest, you're given a Katamari, which is pretty much a highly adhesive ball that you use to "roll up" objects in order to make your Katamari even bigger. This goes on until you've made it big enough to replace one of the missing stars or whatever.

Okay, so maybe "simple" isn't the best term for it, but it doesn't mean that it's not a great game.

The game is amazing for its simplicity and addictiveness - who would have thought that rolling objects into giant balls would be so fun? I guess there's just something about the rush you feel when you get your Katamari to be big enough to capture your first cat, cow or oil tanker.

We ♥ Katamari MusicImage by gin_e via Flickr

The game isn't even just about how complex it is (which it isn't) - you can probably finish all the stages in a day if you really work on it. But the fun doesn't end there. The game is highly replayable and you'll find yourself wanting to try to make larger and larger Katamari's as fast as possible in order to beat your old scores to to try and find all the game secrets such as presents from the King or even your fellow royal cousins.

Plus the whole experience is rounded out by the highly original and addictive music that plays in the background. For the most part, the game sticks to one central theme with so many variations. Add in the highly unusual setting of the game and the very surreal and often illogical dialog and imagery and you get one amazing mind trip of a game.

I fully understand now why Katamari has developed such a global following and how it's triggered so many sequels. Now I need to go and try to find myself a working copy of We Love Katamari so I can play that one too, haha.


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