Wednesday, November 02, 2005


Shadow of the Console, part two

My cousin turned to me in his car the other day and said, “I can’t get that Katamari song out of my head.”

I know how he feels.

Katamari Damacy and its sequel, We Love Katamari, came from an unholy union of rhythm games (like Parappa the Rapper and Dance Dance Revolution) and real-time puzzle games like Pikmin. The game mechanic is incredibly simple: roll a sticky ball around some mundane Japanese environments, collecting objects as you go. Yet the otherworldly presentation, the cluttered playing fields, the obscure sense of humor and the subliminal power of the soundtrack combine to make something special. My cousin was right: the music does get under your skin.

What really strikes me about the Katamaries Damacy are their sense of physical scale and examination of the minutiae that fills our daily lives. The world looks different from the five-centimeter-tall perspective of the Prince of all Cosmos. By the end of the game, as islands, Ferris wheels, skyscrapers, and weather patterns are stuck by the increasing gravitic pull of the Katamari, it makes me happy to think that a guy the size of a smurf is rolling this behemoth around.

I have tickets to an advance screening of Jarhead tonight, and I can’t wait. I will roll out the review here as soon as I’m done.

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