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You Must Love Katamari Damacy 84

Posted by Zonk
from the making-the-baby-jesus-cry dept.
1up.com has a feature up discussing their deep and abiding love for Katamari Damacy and its sequel. From the article: "The original Katamari Damacy is to many the best example of innovation the game industry has seen in years. It's not easy to define, it doesn't use traditional game mechanics, and it's a game where the music and the feeling of playing are as important as the objective. You roll a ball around, it picks stuff up as you go, and it's a swell time. But to hear game director Keita Takahashi describe it, the concept of "fun" comes before 'innovation.'"
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You Must Love Katamari Damacy

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  • Okay Slashdot! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DumbWhiteGuy777 (654327) on Saturday July 23, 2005 @02:45PM (#13145036)
    I've heard enough stories about this game. I'LL BUY IT. Just PLEASE stop posting about it for heaven's sake.

    On a somewhat similar note, does anyone know how to pronounce this game? Katamari isn't too bad, but is Damacy pronounced "Dama-chee" or "Dama-see"? I don't want to look stupid when I go into the store to buy it.
    • I'm pretty sure it's Da-Ma-See ;)
    • Re:Okay Slashdot! (Score:3, Informative)

      by tepples (727027)

      Katamari isn't too bad, but is Damacy pronounced "Dama-chee" or "Dama-see"? I don't want to look stupid when I go into the store to buy it.

      Every voice actor in the original game pronounces it "Dah-mah-shee."

      • In Japanese: Ka-ta-ma-ri-da-ma-shi-i (one word)

        Where:
        'katamari' = lump, mass
        'tamashii' = soul

      • It always seemed to be something a little different than just dah-mah-shee. Maybe almost dah-mah-hchee. There's this little puff of air right before the chee. I wouldn't go as fair as saying dah-mah-ashee. Just something very subtle, which isn't found in America. Kind of like the difference between the letter L and the letter R. Many people make fun of oriental people for not being able to pronounce the difference between the two, but couldn't explain the difference themselves. It's actually quite si
        • Orientals are rugs and vases...Asians are a people, but even then you'd be well served to not lump them all together.

          And as far as differences in the languages go, and the people who speak them, you could've just summed it up by saying that English is a phonetic language, and that most Eastern languages (both near and far) are tonal in nature...one reason most of America can't really pick up Eastern languages (and why the CIA/FBI/Military is at a need for people) isn't because we can't *learn* the languag
        • There are five vowels in Japanese -- A I U E O -- and they are pronounced pretty much exactly like the five vowels in Spanish. Ah, Ee, Oo, Eh, Oh.

          Kah-tah-mah-ree.

          (The double "E" is a little short. I mean, not quite as long as in an English word like "mean.")

          "Damacy" is a clever little Romanization of "Damashii." They spelled it that way, said the director, because it made the title look "kind of French."

          "Dah-ma-shee-ee." It's a double ee. It has kind of a scoop in the middle. Pronounce it qui
    • by LKM (227954) on Saturday July 23, 2005 @03:11PM (#13145165) Homepage

      I couldn't agree more. It's almost as if a bunch of breathless PS2 fanboys who finally found an innovative game were beating it to death by posting daily stories about it to Slashdot.

      The quote from the article is telling:

      "The original Katamari Damacy is to many the best example of innovation the game industry has seen in years"

      What, did they miss Pikmin, Animal Crossing, Wario Ware, Electroplankton, Nintendogs, Killer 7 and countless other examples of innovative games that just happened to not (or not yet) run on the PS2?

      Why didn't we see daily updates when Pikmin 2 came out? Why don't we see daily updates about Animal Crossing DS, which is certainly at least as interesting as Katamari Damacy 2?

      Or maybe I should stop complaining and write some news stories :-)

      • Pikmin, Animal Crossing, Wario Ware, Electroplankton, Nintendogs, Killer 7

        I can't tell if you're being sarcastic or not.

        Really, Animal crossing? An RPG with cute avatars? Nintendogs - just aan advanced version of the Katz and Dogz screensavers from a fifteen years ago. And.. KILLER 7?! A crappy cell-shaded game with little interesting gameplay?! XIII was beautifully done with cell-shading and had awesome gameplay and is like... three years old.

        I'm not a Katamari fanboy (never played it, dont' own a co
        • So were the mentions of Pikmin and WarioWare sarcastic?

        • The only similarity between Animal Crossing and a typical RPG is the camera angle. I don't know if I'd call the game as a whole innovative, but it has a lot of clever ideas. It's definitely not an RPG, though.
          And while Nintendogs may be the spiritual successor to Dogz, it's only the fifth game to receive a perfect score from Famitsu, [gamesarefun.com] one of Japan's harshest and most respected publishers. It's implementation of voice recognition, touch screen interaction, and wireless interaction make it the one of the most
        • Animal crossing? An RPG with cute avatars?

          How can you call Animal Crossing an RPG? It has absolutely none of the characteristics of an RPG. No levelling, no parties, it doesn't even have a real story! Have you even played the game?

          Nintendogs - just aan advanced version of the Katz and Dogz screensavers from a fifteen years ago.

          Comparing Nintendogs to Dogz is like saying Katamari Damacy is nothing more than a glorified version of Marble Madness.

          KILLER 7?! A crappy cell-shaded game with little i

          • How can you call Animal Crossing an RPG? It has absolutely none of the characteristics of an RPG. No levelling, no parties, it doesn't even have a real story! Have you even played the game?

            Animal Crossing is a roleplaying game. The characteristics you just listed (save "story") do not make a roleplaying game, and are only popularly associated with the genre because TSR based the rules for Dungeons and Dragons on those of Chainmail, a tabletop miniatures combat game.

            Killer 7 is the only game I've ever se
            • Animal Crossing is a roleplaying game. The characteristics you just listed (save "story") do not make a roleplaying game, and are only popularly associated with the genre because TSR based the rules for Dungeons and Dragons on those of Chainmail, a tabletop miniatures combat game.

              Surely you can explain to me what an RPG is, then.

              Wikipedia gives the following definition [wikipedia.org]:

              Computer role-playing games (CRPGs), often shortened to simply role-playing games (RPGs), are a type of video or computer game that

              • I am not the grandparent, but you should see the AC post (written by me) right below yours for a good definition.

                Shortly put, an RPG is a game where *playing the role* is a gameplay choice that you make. The same sort of choice as shooting a gun or swinging a sword.

                A game is not "role-playing" if the player is never given a choice as to *how* to deal with the problems before them. Ever played Deus Ex? You could play the game as an FPS, shooting everything in your way, but it was also possible to finish
              • Surely you can explain to me what an RPG is, then.

                Sure. A game where you take on the role of a fantasy character and make choices that have a real impact on game events and the overall story. I can't think of a purer console roleplaying experience than AC. Stats and dice rolling get tacked on (to various extents) to resolve how events unfold in a semi-objective fashion.

                Linear or single-ending games simply don't count AFAIK. Neither do games that are nothing more than small-scale, dressed-up war games.
                • Sure. A game where you take on the role of a fantasy character and make choices that have a real impact on game events and the overall story.

                  Interestingly, I would say that this describes a ton of games, but definitely not Animal Crossing.

                  You do have a fantasy character in Animal Crossing, I give you that. But you do have a fantasy character in 90% of all games. Sports games (where you play real people) and puzzle games (where you don't play anyone at all) are the only exception I can think of right now

        • Katamari Damacy == Pac-Man with a twist and a decent soundtrack. When you boil it down anyway.

          Funny that, seeing as how it's Namco, who put out Pac-Man. And Pac-Pix, which is definately an innovative tech-demo.
      • I am one of those people who have been crowing about Katamari Damacy.

        I am also *not* a Sony fanboy -- I've owned every Nintendo system (except the Virtual Boy) since the NES, and while I have a Gamecube and DS and most every significant game released for those systems in the U.S., my PS2 was bought for this ONE game.

        The hype is justified, in this case, but it's difficult to explain it without playing it. (Or should I say, playing it with an unbiased mind -- if you go into something with a negative attitu
        • by LKM (227954)
          I agree with you about all the games you mentioned, but disagree about Katamari Damacy.

          Just do clarify: I have nothing against Katamari Damacy. It's an awesome game. But claiming it's "the best example of innovation the game industry has seen in years" is just plain wrong, and the (almost) daily Slashdot news posts on its sequel (which seems to be almost identical to the first version) are, well, not really needed.

        • Here's a funny thing, I'd bet euros to pesos that if it had been a Nintendo game, it wouldn't be nearly as adored. :-P
          • Well the thing about Nintendo has to do with...

            1. Expectations concerning the quality of their games. Nintendo's games are almost always at least above average. There's usually some "thing" about most of them that's unique. It's impossible for them to top themselves forever, yet when it happens people are ready to attack. Pikmin 2 is just about as great a game as you'll find this generation, with real improvements over the play in the first game and surprisingly good multiplayer, but it's either like p
        • This game is seriously addicting. I can't explain it. I went over to a buddies's house to play this, and I was hooked beyond hell.

          To sum it up, all you do is roll shit around. I HATE Tetris, Marble Madness, columns, anything having to do with puzzles. But it's not really puzzle either. It's not in my usual sports/fps/action genre, but it absolutely kick ass in a different way.

          • Er, where are there puzzles in Marble Madness?

            Marble Madness is not a puzzle game. It's a arcade action game featuring marbles.

            Super Monkey Ball has a few puzzle elements, but largely it's the same way, the challenge comes from maneuvering the ball, not figuring out what to do.
      • "What, did they miss Pikmin, Animal Crossing, Wario Ware, Electroplankton, Nintendogs, Killer 7 and countless other examples of innovative games that just happened to not (or not yet) run on the PS2?"

        Some of the listed titles are innovative, but many aren't spectacular, or even fun (at least for me)

        Have you played Katamari Damacy yet? Did you like Nintendogs better?

        weird.
        • Some of the listed titles are innovative, but many aren't spectacular, or even fun (at least for me)

          The only game in this list that could realistically be described as "not fun" is probably Killer7, but either way, we're talking about innovation, not fun.

          Have you played Katamari Damacy yet? Did you like Nintendogs better?

          Nintendogs is one of the five games to get a perfect score from Famitsu [gamedaily.com], so it seems that I'm not the only one who thinks it's better than Katamari Damacy.

    • This one is a pet peeve of mine. A character-for-character English transcription of the Japanese title is "Katamari Damashii". Simple, only one way to pronounce it. For some bizarre reason, they changed it to "Katamari Damacy" when it came here. WHY did they take a perfectly acceptable and easily pronounced title and obfuscate it like that!? Somehow, I doubt people whose minds can't handle the odd non-English spelling "shii" are going to be the target audience for this particular game...
      • A character-for-character English transcription of the Japanese title is "Katamari Damashii". Simple, only one way to pronounce it. For some bizarre reason, they changed it to "Katamari Damacy" when it came here.

        A 13-year-old is less likely to change "Damacy" into "Damashit" than "Damashii" into "Damashit" on some message board.

      • "When it came here" is inaccurate. The Japanese version uses "Damacy" as well---even pronouncing it without a Japanese accent.
      • Of course, a Japanese person will pronounce "damacy" as "damashi" anyway, so maybe they thought it was a fair transliteration. I don't know hiragana, but I thought it was 'tamashi', anyway, making the title 'katamari tamashi' mean 'spirit ball'.
    • On odd days we hear about the innovativeness of Katamari Damacy, on even days we hear about women and games.

      It's a pretty simple system.
    • I _would_ buy it if I didnt have to mod my PS2 in order to play an import.

      Release it in the UK and I'll be first in line.
  • The last story Slashdot ran about We Love Katamari was this one [slashdot.org].

    From the article:

    It's not like this in music CD's, but why do we have to include product descriptions on the front of a game package?

    It's that way because unlike music CDs (and discs designed to look like CDs but which do not meet the Red Book standard), video games are often kept behind a locked glass door, and the buyer can't turn each package around to read the back of the package.

    • Also:

      + Music CDs are about 33% to 25% the cost of a game.
      + Chances are you're not going to buy a music CD unless you're familiar with the artist and have probably heard most of the songs on that CD over the radio or elsewhere.
      + Music CDs don't have product descriptions. They list the name of the album, artist and then list the tracks on the CD. That's hardly a product description.
    • It's not like this in music CD's, but why do we have to include product descriptions on the front of a game package?

      Because despite his blather about the "feel" of the game, you can actually get at least some sense of what a game is like from words and pictures. Beyond saying if an album's "blues" or "pop" or whatever, there's very little to impart about music without writing a full review, and even then there's little chance of you knowing what it's really like until you listen to it.

    • It's not just like that, you'd be hard-pressed to find a good description of a music CD's contents on the BACK cover -- song titles are not a description to someone who's never heard those songs before.

      I think the answer is, video games are expected to engage the player intellectually more than a song, and market themselves as being more of an experience for the player: to someone who doesn't like sports, a sports game would be extremely unenjoyable, while even if you don't like a music CD, it's over in a
      • video games are expected to engage the player intellectually more than a song ... Music CDs also have more of an intellectual "air" about them than games.

        Contradiction?

        And don't underestimate this: games are more expensive than music CDs.

        But not by much. Compare $17.99 (MSRP for major label albums) to $19.99 (MSRP for Katamari Damacy).

        • Not really a contradiction, no. Maybe a bit poorly worded, but it's pretty clear what the guy wants to say when you take it in context.

          Regarding the prices - are you comparing the price of a newly released album with a budget (somewhat aged) game? I might be wrong, but I'd be surprised to learn that KD was sold for 20 bucks during release week. Console titles initially retail for twice than that or more as far as I know (I've never owned one).
    • Interesting. I have never been to a game store where the games were locked in.
      Neither here in DK nor in other places (incl. US).

      Could someone please fill me in to which parts of the world games are locked away in shops?
  • Fun (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ZephyrXero (750822) <`zephyrxero' `at' `yahoo.com'> on Saturday July 23, 2005 @02:46PM (#13145040) Homepage Journal
    Fun should always be the number one priority in a video game, but most people seem to forget that these days... Everyone's too obsessed with graphics and celebrity voice overs to remember that gameplay and fun come first. I'm happy Katamari ever got any press at all in the first place :) This new one looks very intersting (again)...
    • by Seumas (6865) *
      I don't know about celebrity voice overs (though I liked that Duchovney did the agent in XIII), but I sure like a game with great graphics. But they don't have to be blast-'em-up graphics like Doom - but take a look at Rome: Total War. Not even the combat portions - just the gameboard play. It's beautiful and well done and makes the game even more engaging.

      I can't wait to play Katamari, but I guess they're probably not going to release it for the Mac or PC, so I probably never will. :)

      Katamari just proves
    • by Have Blue (616)
      The thing is that fun hasn't been (and arguably can't and shouldn't be) formalized and made predictable. Given a game design, it's very difficult to determine how fun it is until you build the game and try playing it- and if it's a modern 3D game that's going to take an awful lot of coding and artwork. Once you've done that, if you end up with a mediocre game, you have two options- either admit that the design is fundamentally flawed and start over (easy for a shareware author or hobbyist, not so easy for a
      • Re:Fun (Score:2, Insightful)

        by rohlfinator (888775)
        This might not be the case, but I would assume that if the game is based on a "fun" idea, it should be relatively easy to fix once the team realizes that it's not fun. Whether it needs a change in control, a different level of difficulty, some revamped missions, those should all be pretty easy to spot and modify before release.

        On the other hand, if the game's premise was already horribly flawed to begin with, someone should have caught that before they started writing the game. I'm not a game developer,
      • That's what prototypes are for though. You make a very simplistic version of the game and test to see if it's fun long before you put in all that time on the real artwork and heavy coding.
    • I don't know that "fun" is totally forgotten in many games. I find that a lot of games are fun in some way. But it's that just in too many games, the fun bits aren't quite engaging enough to keep you coming back for more, or the fun bits are outweighed by the annoying bits.
  • Some nice moral drug induced entertainment, which we haven't had since the Clinton years. I think it's healthy when the populace can say 'wtf??' to certain things now and then.
  • Is this released yet? If not when is the release date for North America?
  • by MilenCent (219397) * <johnwh@ g m a i l.com> on Saturday July 23, 2005 @04:29PM (#13145517) Homepage
    Actually, Katamari uses very traditional game mechanics:

    1. Before you can go there, you must get something here.

    In Zelda and Metroid, these are usually special items that give you abilities. In Katamari, it's raw mass.

    2. To increase tension, the player must have a risk of failure. Not all levels have this, but in the most important ones (the "just size" levels) the player must make a minimum diameter before a time limit expires or acquire the wrath of the King of All Cosmos (who shows his bad parenting skills to the utmost, especially in the new game coming out). A time limit is a fairly arbitrary limiting factor that, neverthless, can be put to good use.

    3. High scores; the game begs to be played again and again, in order to better your past efforts. That's about as traditional as you can get.

    In my mind, Katamari Damacy is acres more traditional than all these games with boss enemies, pickup powerups and such. It's just a really pure action game that's not afraid (unlike many games) to discard those elements that are not essential to it.

    In any real work of art, music, literature, visual arts), all that is unnecessary is discarded. The same applies to game design.
  • PAL Version? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by grumbel (592662) <grumbel@gmx.de> on Saturday July 23, 2005 @05:06PM (#13145719) Homepage
    All this almost daily news on Katamari Damacy is all nice and fluffy, but we over here in PAL-land still don't have access to that game.

    Are there any news available when/if Katamari Damacy will get released over here? From the rumor that I have heard there might be a chance that the second version of the game might make it over here, but does anybody know a date?
    • The DS version just launched in Japan, though no confirmed release date for the UK. Still, at least that means you can import it without having to use a now-illegal modchip.

      As for the PS2 version(s), I can only wonder at what the hell Sony/Namco is doing - they apparently don't want to sell us games? I could understand if there was a lot of translation involved, but from what I know of this game that sounds unlikely.
    • to hear game director Keita Takahashi describe it, the concept of "fun" comes before 'innovation.'"

      and just before that, comes "Oppressive Regional Import Restrictions"

  • I wonder... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by brkello (642429) on Monday July 25, 2005 @03:07PM (#13158725)
    Is there anyone out there that didn't find the game all that interesting? I got the game because an ex-girl friend of mine recommended it to me. I thought it was quirky and fun at first. But I got bored with it fairly quickly and never finished. Maybe someday I will. There is just only so much "make a ball bigger" that I can take before it gets boring. I know most people view this as the holy grail of gaming (and if those people have mod points, be gentle, this is just my opinion). The game just lacked any depth, story, or drive to keep me interested. I know the "fun" was in the gameplay...but quite frankly...after the novelty of rolling up cats and people wore off, it really didn't appeal to me. I enjoyed Phantom Brave much more even though it wasn't as "innovative". In any case, just wondering if I was the only one that felt that way.

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