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The psychedelic and vibrant game, Katamari Damacy, has reached its 20th anniversary and is still the most unconventional game I've ever enjoyed.
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The psychedelic and vibrant game, Katamari Damacy, has reached its 20th anniversary and is still the most unconventional game I’ve ever enjoyed.


My parents were hesitant about video games during my childhood. I owned a SNES and N64 as a kid, but was only allowed to play on weekends. Every Friday after school, I would indulge in playing Mario 64 and snacking on a large bag of Haribo Tangfastics. It wasn’t until my teenage years that my gaming experiences expanded, as I began earning enough money to buy a PlayStation 2. I also started socializing on forums with fellow gamers whose interests were more diverse than my own.

The PlayStation 2 had a variety of unusual games. While the N64 also had some, such as Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon, they were not on the same level as those for Sony’s console. Examples include Dark Cloud, Monster Hunter, Yakuza, Mojib-Ribbon, God Hand, Ōkami, and Ribbit King – a unique game centered around frolf, or frog golf.

Then there was Katamari Damacy, the very emblem of all that was weird and wonderful about the PlayStation 2 library, a joyous game that turns 20 this week.

The scenario is this: a peculiar ruler of the entire universe, dressed in tight purple pants that cling like those in a Shakespearean play, has caused chaos in the cosmos due to excessive drinking. As his small green heir, you are tasked with rolling a sticky ball to Earth and gathering larger and larger objects until it is big enough to replace the moon and planets. This game boasts an impressive soundtrack and a captivating intro. Witness for yourself.

You are only 5cm tall, which surprises the king and makes him wonder if you are truly his son based on your small physique. To make progress, you must start from the bottom and roll up small objects such as thumb tacks, dice, and soy sauce packets. However, animals will try to interfere and knock your katamari ball off course, and colliding with large objects will cause you to lose your collected items. Katamari Damacy is a surreal and amusing game that becomes more enjoyable as you roll up larger and more challenging objects like cows, cars, people, buildings, islands, and clouds. The game typically lasts four hours, but it has a lasting impact on players due to its catchy music that tends to stick in their minds, even decades later. In fact, it may pop into your head at random moments, like while waiting for the kettle to boil.

Katamari DamacyView image in fullscreen

During the period of Japanese game development represented by Katamari Damacy, the technology of the PlayStation 2 console was at a level that allowed for ambitious ideas to be realized. Additionally, budgets were not as restrictive, allowing for the creation of short, surreal, and sometimes flawed games. These games were often a reflection of the designers’ minds and had limited availability outside of Japan. However, for curious teenagers in the 2000s, importing games through the internet was possible and the PS2’s region lock was easily bypassed. Finding and successfully playing a copy of Katamari Damacy in 2004 felt like stumbling upon a valuable artistic gem.

Katamari Damacy was created within one year by its designer, Keita Takahashi, with a budget of £650,000. Takahashi enlisted students from publisher Namco’s design school and programmers from its arcade division. Prior to this, Takahashi studied sculpture at art school and went on to create other intriguing games, although none were quite as enjoyable as Katamari Damacy. After Takahashi left Namco in 2009, they continued to produce games in the series without him, but they lacked the same charm. This is why Katamari Damacy remains beloved, as it was a unique and innovative game.

Certainly, the reason for this is mainly due to me being older than a teenager now. As a result, I seldom experience the sensation of playing something completely new to me. However, if you haven’t already, you can enjoy a great remastered version of Katamari Damacy called Katamari Damacy Reroll on Steam and various gaming consoles. Cheers to 20 years, you wonderfully bizarre game.

What to play

Dragon’s Dogma 2.View image in fullscreen

The highly-anticipated Dragon’s Dogma 2 will be released this Friday, and I cannot express how much joy it has brought me. After waiting for 12 years, I finally have a sequel to the most unique medieval RPG I’ve ever experienced. It lives up to expectations with its combination of elements from Elden Ring and The Witcher, but also adds a sense of absurdity as you can randomly pick up and carry people, or face an ogre in the middle of a busy city without anyone reacting.

It’s the opposite of the tightly scripted RPGs that now dominate the genre, instead throwing a bunch of fun systems together and letting you experiment with how they collide, so unexpected things happen all the time. As I type this, I am in the middle of an adventure in a haunted castle with a mage who looks like Aladdin Sane-era David Bowie and a greatsword-wielding warrior servant straight out of Dark Souls.

This item is accessible for purchase on PS5, Xbox Series X, and PC.
Estimated playtime: 50+ hours

What to read

A Sony PlayStation VR headset.View image in fullscreen
  • According to Bloomberg, Sony is halting the manufacturing of the PSVR2 virtual reality headset due to a large number of unsold units. Despite the high cost, Sony has not fully supported this accessory and has only released a few games for it since its debut last year. It appears that consumer demand for the headset is lacking. I hate to say that I predicted this outcome.

  • Mutsumi Inomata, the creative mind behind the visual style of Namco Bandai’s Tales series of RPGs, passed away at the age of 63.

  • EA’s game development teams have recently experienced layoffs, with the company reducing its global staff by 5%. The Respawn team responsible for Apex Legends has been hit the hardest.

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What to click

  • Review of “Alone in the Dark” – Despite the efforts of Jodie Comer and David Harbour, this horror film fails to captivate and is rather dull.

  • During its prime, the Trocadero was considered the epicenter of the video game universe, serving as a gateway to a whole new world.

  • Summerhouse – this dreamy pixel renovation game is the ideal escape

  • During my week with the Star Wars Unlimited card game, I transformed C-3PO into a lightsaber-wielding maniac.

Question Block

Pokémon Sword and Shield.

Display the image in full screen mode.

This week, reader Danny had a question:

“Which Nintendo Switch Pokémon game do you suggest for introducing my nine and six-year-old daughters to the series?”

Luckily for you, Danny, I recently introduced my own children, who are around the same age as yours, to the world of Pokémon this year. They have become completely obsessed with these games, and it brings me great joy to see them enjoy it so much. You have two great options to choose from. The first is Pokémon Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee!, a remake of the classic Red/Blue Pokémon games. This version combines elements of Pokémon Go with the traditional battling and collecting, making it easier for kids to catch Pokémon by virtually throwing a Pokéball at the screen. (Bonus: if you played the originals, your children will see you as all-knowing.)

The alternative is Pokémon Sword and Shield, which I have recently completed with my children. It is simplistic yet visually pleasing, easy to comprehend, and includes modern gaming features that were not available to the original generation of Pokémon trainers (such as being able to see which moves will or will not be effective against your opponent directly on the battle screen).

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Source: theguardian.com