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You Must Love Katamari Damacy

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the making-the-baby-jesus-cry dept.

PlayStation (Games) 84

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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84 comments

Okay Slashdot! (4, Insightful)

DumbWhiteGuy777 (654327) | more than 8 years ago | (#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.

Re:Okay Slashdot! (2, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 8 years ago | (#13145063)

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."

Re:Okay Slashdot! (1)

fbjon (692006) | more than 8 years ago | (#13145190)

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

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

Re:Okay Slashdot! (1)

shawb (16347) | more than 8 years ago | (#13145877)

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 simple, In L the tip of the tongue touches the point where the upper incisors meet the gums, while an R is pronounced with the tongue curled all the way back, touching the middle of the upper pallate. What's kind of funny is that when Americans simple replace Ls and Rs, they aren't pronouncing it the same way. The Japanese sound is made with the tip of the tongue touching the front of the upper palate, but not touching the teeth. Makes sort of a hybrid sound between L and R. Actually, Moving the tongue between the L and R position while humming sort of makes up the basic tone of Throat Singing, which is something that has interested me lately.

Woah, maybe I should add something on topic. Yeah... the original Katamari Damaci was a great game. Nothing particularilly impressive about the graphics or physics, just a lot of cute things to pick up, combined with a really well balanced difficulty level, some really odd placements or items and of course some really appropriate music made the whole thing very immersive. You almost feel your brain rewiring to adapt to the physics of the Katamari Damaci world. When you go driving afterwards, you start thinking "hey, I bet I could roll up that guard rail with my katamari (car.)" Oh, and the kids and the king add just enough of a touch of surreal without being extremely intrusive.

So it came down to 1)enough items and locations to allow for almost freeform play. 2)well balanced difficulty. 3)Attention paid to atmosphere (characters, items, music, layouts all have a certain feel. Some odd semi-chaotic layout that somehow almost begins to make sense. Of course there should be some fish in a circle on a playground. I don't see what's wrong with a giant bear on a boulder on top of a gas station.)

Re:Okay Slashdot! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#13149334)

"Oriental people?!" Are you fucking kidding me?

Christ people, put down the shotgun every once and awhile and read a God damned book.

Re:Okay Slashdot! (1)

th3space (531154) | more than 8 years ago | (#13155527)

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 language, it's because of the years and years of spent speaking *only* in phonetics makes it exceedingly difficult for 'Mericans to form the tones and phrasing.

To add some context - as well as dissuade any thoughts that I'm blowing smoke up collective asses, here - I studied Japanese for 5/6 years (exact amount of time, I can't remember, it was Junior High and High School, both), and was advised to drop it because I couldn't seem to get my mouth around forming conversational sentences. Further, my roommate is a practicing Speech Pathologist and often works with children from both tonal and phonetic backgrounds.

I still plan on proving Oga-sensei wrong and get a degree in Nihongo so that I can move over to the Land of the Rising Sun and work as a translator in the publishing industry...maybe I'll look her up when I get there. hehe.

Re:Okay Slashdot! (1)

108 (688828) | more than 8 years ago | (#13182727)

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 quickly.

Just like that!

In Japanese, the kanji used to spell out the name of this game are interesting. "Katamari", meaning a clump or a collage, is "", and "tamashii," meaning soul or spirit, is "". Notice how similar they are? Put side by side lik ethey are on the game's box, it becomes hard to tell which kanji is which. It's something of a sight gag.

What a "katamari damashii" is, exactly, is something of a Zen riddle. I'd explain it, though I'm certain so doing would only cause people to flame me and call me a loser, and then I'd have to cry again.

Couldn't agree more (3, Insightful)

LKM (227954) | more than 8 years ago | (#13145165)

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 :-)

Re:Couldn't agree more (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 8 years ago | (#13145187)

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 console of any kind, etc) - but to call that stuff "innovative"... Only if you're using the Microsoft version of the word...!

Re:Couldn't agree more (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 8 years ago | (#13145234)

So were the mentions of Pikmin and WarioWare sarcastic?

Re:Couldn't agree more (1)

Alkaiser (114022) | more than 7 years ago | (#13150767)

Re:Couldn't agree more (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13156426)

Pikmin was just SimAnt.

Yeah, yeah; and Diablo was just Pong with potions. Shut up.

Re:Couldn't agree more (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13156951)

Did you ever play SimAnt, tool?

Diablo has nothing to do with Pong, whereas SimAnt is basically Pikmin's father.

Re:Couldn't agree more (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13157560)

Did you ever play SimAnt, tool?

I sure did, fuckstain.

Diablo has nothing to do with Pong, whereas SimAnt is basically Pikmin's father.

SimAnt and Pikmin both take place in a backyard. That's pretty much where the similarity ends, which was my fucking point with the Diablo and Pong comment. It's ingrown asshairs like you that keep me from bothering to sign up for a /. UID.

Re:Couldn't agree more (2, Insightful)

rohlfinator (888775) | more than 8 years ago | (#13145334)

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 innovative games in recent years, and a huge leap over previous "virtual pet" games.
I can't speak for Killer 7, but I've heard from several people that it's a very interesting game. You assume that its cel-shading is the only form of innovation it contains, and from what people have told me, that's just the beginning.

It sounds to me like you haven't played any of these games you're so quick to dismiss. Any one of them looks pretty average in screenshots, but innovation doesn't always jump out of every scene like it does in Katamari.

And I agree with the GP about Katamari's "overratedness". It's a very fresh and interesting game, but it's gotten a ridiculous amount of media attention while other similarly innovative games have gone completely overlooked. The game's distinctly unique style may have contributed to media perception, but I think its "innovation" has been exaggerated a bit, especially now that its sequel is using a nearly identical formula.

Re:Couldn't agree more (1)

LKM (227954) | more than 8 years ago | (#13145509)

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 interesting gameplay?!

Killer 7 is the only game I've ever seen that is consistently being described as "art". Maybe it's crappy, but it's definitely innovative.

Re:Couldn't agree more (-1, Troll)

Seumas (6865) | more than 8 years ago | (#13145553)

No, I haven't played Nintendogs or Animcal crossing. I'm a straight male, thanks.

And I haven't found a single person who found Killer 7 engaging. Maybe compared to the average Nintendo release, but not compared to the rest of the world. Everything I've seen about it woudl lead me to play it if a friend had a copy of it in his machine and I was sitting around totally bored, but certainly wouldnt' spend $70 for it (or however much console games are these days).

Killer 7 was extremely over-hyped in the beginning... that seems to have died down once people actually were able to play it.

Re:Couldn't agree more (5, Funny)

ZephyrXero (750822) | more than 8 years ago | (#13145629)

" No, I haven't played Nintendogs or Animcal crossing. I'm a straight male, thanks."

You must not be very confident in that last part if this is your reason for not even giving them a chance... :P

Re:Couldn't agree more (2, Insightful)

LKM (227954) | more than 8 years ago | (#13145715)

No, I haven't played Nintendogs or Animcal crossing. I'm a straight male, thanks.

Wow, that is such a pathetic thing to say. Anyway, when mentioning your attributes, you forgot "insecure". And since you haven't played those games, you're in no position to judge their qualities.

I never said Killer 7 was a great game. Some people like it, some hate it, but the fact remains: If nothing else, it's at least innovative.

Re:Couldn't agree more (1)

Night Goat (18437) | more than 8 years ago | (#13147346)

And since you haven't played those games, you're in no position to judge their qualities.

Hey, I've never eaten a shit sandwich, but I can tell you it's not a tasty snack. Since when do you have to experience something first hand to be able to critique it?

Re:Couldn't agree more (1)

LKM (227954) | more than 8 years ago | (#13148304)

Hey, I've never eaten a shit sandwich, but I can tell you it's not a tasty snack. Since when do you have to experience something first hand to be able to critique it?

There are certain things you can judge without having tried them. Obviously, you know that taking heroin is a bad thing without trying it. You can assume how shit tastes, so it's obvious that a sandwich made with shit doesn't taste too good.

Games are different. Judging games without having played them is so absurd, it's insane that I'm even discussing this with anyone. It's like saying "The music on this CD is crap because the cover is blue, and blue is such a gay color".

Do you seriously not realize how stupid you sound, or are you simply arguing with me for the sake of it?

Re:Couldn't agree more (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13157973)

Hey, I've never eaten a shit sandwich
I don't believe you.

Re:Couldn't agree more (1)

FidelCatsro (861135) | more than 8 years ago | (#13148392)

I think most of generally define our sexuality by which gender we find attractive .Defining your Gender by which games you play can lead to some strange accusations of paraphilia

Re:Couldn't agree more (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 7 years ago | (#13150966)

Whatever. Pretend you don't like the furries, too - all you want - but we know better.

Re:Couldn't agree more (1)

bugbread (599172) | more than 7 years ago | (#13150215)

I haven't played Half-Life or Sim City. I'm right-handed, thanks.
Nor have I played Tetris or Minesweeper. My favorite color is blue, thanks.
Never really got into Street Fighter or Civilization either. I like fried shrimp, thanks.

Re:Couldn't agree more (1)

Frodo Crockett (861942) | more than 7 years ago | (#13152511)

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 seen that is consistently being described as "art". Maybe it's crappy, but it's definitely innovative.

You must have missed Rez, then.

Animal Crossing is no RPG (1)

LKM (227954) | more than 8 years ago | (#13158317)

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 traditionally uses gameplay elements found in paper-and-pencil role-playing games.

Animal Crossing, on the other hand, uses pretty much none of the gameplay elements found in paper-and-pencil role-playing games, except that you play a character who can interact with his environment - which is the case in almost all games. Pray tell me why you think Animal Crossing is an RPG.

Re:Animal Crossing is no RPG (1)

bitwiseNomad (814756) | more than 8 years ago | (#13174592)

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 the game without ever firing a single bullet. THAT is a role-playing game. Final Fantasy X is not a role-playing game, even though it has more "gameplay elements found in paper-and-pencil role-playing games" than Deus Ex does.

In Final Fantasy X, your choices affect the game world as they do in every game, but there is never any question as to what is a good idea. You almost always will open a treasure chest. Playing an environmentalist who does not want to disturb the native treasure chests is likely to get you killed.

Enemies are for killing. You can't ever play a pacifist and try to talk them down. Forget trying to tame them. You also never have a choice as to what to do with the loot you gather from the enemies you do kill. You use it or sell it. You can't play a charitable character and donate it to people. You want to play a leader character and use your swag to arm your own army? Sorry, you can't.

People never comment on how cool your sword is. Hell, villagers don't even bat an eye when a group of heavily armed people walk into town, one person with a sword twice the length of their body. The video games normally referred to as RPG's usually have nothing to do with role-playing. They are usually simply action games with a story and fantasy setting.

I think the term "role-following" is more appropriate.

Re:Animal Crossing is no RPG (1)

Frodo Crockett (861942) | more than 8 years ago | (#13193409)

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.

Re:Animal Crossing is no RPG (1)

LKM (227954) | more than 8 years ago | (#13196960)

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.

But what you do in Animal Crossing has no impact on the game events or on the overall story, because:

  • There is no overall story
  • events happen independently of what you do

Let me quickly explain these two things somewhat more in-depth:

There is no story in Animal Crossing. You are thrown into a town, and then you just do what you want. You can dig up stuff, you can go fishing, you can chop down trees or plant seeds, but there is no story. Some people move out, some move in, but nothing actually happens.

What you do hase no effect on the events. There are events which occur in Animal Crossing: Each year, these events repeat. Christmas happens every years, no matter what you do. Your birthday occurs every year, no matter what you do. What you do doesn't effect any events in Animal Crossing.

By your own definition, a huge chunk of all games can be called RPGs, but Animal Crossing definitely can't.

Re:Couldn't agree more (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13174528)

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?

Role Playing Game. You must be relatively new to games. It's okay, I understand. RPG stands for role-playing game. Look at the words. In a role playing game, the "role playing" aspect is actually part of the game itself. "Role playing" is to an RPG as firing a gun is to Counterstrike. In a role-playing game, your choices and the way you play your role are supposed to have the power to change and affect things in the game world. Your actions have consequences, often drastic and far-reaching. There is no "role playing" if it doesn't matter what you do while in the role. Think of it like improv theater. Numbers like hit points and level and experience points have absolutely nothing to do with whether a game is role-playing or not.

Games like Final Fantasy X are as much "role-playing" as games like Doom 3 are. How many times during Final Fantasy X were you given a choice of what actions to take? I'm not talking about whether to attack or use magic. Are you ever given the opportunity to try to talk an enemy down? Were you ever allowed to back down from a challenge because you wanted play a cowardly character? A game can't be called "role-playing" if you are never allowed to make any choices that affect the game world as you're playing.

Games like Black and White, Deus Ex, Fallout and KOTOR are excellent examples of games where you have to make tangible decisions about how to play your character. Fuck, even a game like Fire Emblem forces the player to choose which units will grow and form relationships with one another.

I'm not trying to say that games with mana and levels are inferior to actual role playing games, nor am I trying to suggest that they can't be fun, but I think the term "role-playing" is archaic and ingenuous. Many games which are called RPG's nowadays are actually more like action and strategy games. It is true that many of these games involve stories, and for that reason, I think "role-following" is a more appropriate term for them since you are playing through a story in their shoes with little-to-no opportunity to change the outcome.

Re:Couldn't agree more (1)

LKM (227954) | more than 8 years ago | (#13175678)

Your definition of RPGs is nice, but it has nothing to do with how most people define RPGs. Black and White is not an RPG. By your definition, GTA would be an RPG. It's good to have your own definition of words, but when talking to others, it makes sense to agree on some kind of common definition :-)

I think your definition would make sense if we didn't already use the word "RPG" for computer games which share gameplay components with paper-based RPGs.

Plus, even with your definition, Animal Crossing is no RPG.

Re:Couldn't agree more (1)

buffer-overflowed (588867) | more than 8 years ago | (#13146753)

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.

Re:Couldn't agree more (1)

MilenCent (219397) | more than 8 years ago | (#13145439)

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 attitude it's really hard to overcome.)

It's not just the concept in this case, and it's not just the music. Mostly it's the stellar play control and level design, and the extremely well realized play metaphor (5 cm to 878 meters is just *cool*), but really it's all these things.

I agree with you about all the games you mentioned, but disagree about Katamari Damacy. It's exactly like a Nintendo game, but one that just happens by Namco for the PS2. There are very few games like this for the PS2, but the fact is, there is one. (Damn close to ONLY one.)

Re:Couldn't agree more (2, Insightful)

LKM (227954) | more than 8 years ago | (#13145533)

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.

Re:Couldn't agree more (1)

buffer-overflowed (588867) | more than 8 years ago | (#13147504)

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

Re:Couldn't agree more (2, Insightful)

MilenCent (219397) | more than 7 years ago | (#13150979)

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 people've never heard of it, or if they have, Nintendo's betrayed the public's trust by making another sequel.

2. Expectations concerning theme. For all people say about how "dark" it is, Katamari Damacy really isn't dark at all. It's true that the fate of people rolled up into katamaris that are up in the night sky (or even turned into stardust) is up for question, but the game doesn't dwell on that. Nintendo games tend to be about as dark. (All those Goombas you squashed? Dead, dead I tell you, DEAD!!)

If you know where to look, you can actually find Nintendo games that acknowledge the darkness of the Mario universe. In Paper Mario 2 this provides some of the most hilarious moments, like encountering a Hammer Brother out for revenge for what happened to his grandfather in World 7-3....

3.
If Katamari did come out for a Nintendo system, I actually think it would still be as adored, but since the Gamecube has a much smaller user base than the PS2, there would be correspondingly fewer people crowing about it.

One thing about Katamari is that it is nearly an epiphany in game form. I was playing it on a school game machine, and someone watching actually told me it opened his eyes. (To what, I didn't ask, but it's what he said. Weird.) People who've played these games dating back to the classic era (where a lot of Nintendo fans come from) are less vulnerable to this epiphany; for them Katamari merely confirms something they already knew. But for someone raised on FPS, RTS, sports and fighting games, the fact that a game this fun comes outside of any genre they can identify may come as a bit of a shock. More people in the gaming press are like this than they'd admit, which accounts for KD's high press reputation.

It may come as a shock to them, but it is a shock that, after experiencing it, can only leave them more receptive to the charms of Nintendo's games.

Re:Couldn't agree more (1)

superpulpsicle (533373) | more than 7 years ago | (#13150106)

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.

Re:Couldn't agree more (1)

MilenCent (219397) | more than 7 years ago | (#13151347)

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.

Re:Couldn't agree more (1)

blackicye (760472) | more than 8 years ago | (#13148368)

"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.

Re:Couldn't agree more (1)

LKM (227954) | more than 8 years ago | (#13158379)

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.

Re:Okay Slashdot! (1)

MWoody (222806) | more than 8 years ago | (#13145542)

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...

GayStation, LameCube, Suxbox, etc. (2, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 8 years ago | (#13145769)

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.

Re:Okay Slashdot! (1)

Mandoric (55703) | more than 8 years ago | (#13146618)

"When it came here" is inaccurate. The Japanese version uses "Damacy" as well---even pronouncing it without a Japanese accent.

Re:Okay Slashdot! (1)

Bill Walker (835082) | more than 8 years ago | (#13192071)

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'.

Re:Okay Slashdot! (2, Funny)

wheany (460585) | more than 8 years ago | (#13148107)

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.

Re:Okay Slashdot! (1)

Robmonster (158873) | more than 8 years ago | (#13164269)

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.

Turning around the package (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 8 years ago | (#13145038)

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.

Re:Turning around the package (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 8 years ago | (#13145114)

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.

Re:Turning around the package (1)

Linus Torvaalds (876626) | more than 8 years ago | (#13145438)

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.

Re:Turning around the package (1)

MilenCent (219397) | more than 8 years ago | (#13145481)

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 hour in any case.

Music CDs also have more of an intellectual "air" about them than games. It's viewed as acceptable for a music disc to "put itself out there" with an abstract album cover that requests the purchaser interpret it (especially since music doesn't have a direct pictoral representation that the average listener would understand), while games are viewed as more of a commodity that is expected to explain itself to the player.

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

Price of Katamari Damacy (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 8 years ago | (#13145527)

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).

Re:Price of Katamari Damacy (1)

moonbender (547943) | more than 8 years ago | (#13146067)

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).

It was a budget title (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 8 years ago | (#13146121)

I'd be surprised to learn that KD was sold for 20 bucks during release week.

Like the ESPN 2k5 games, KD 1 was sold as a budget title ($19.95 MSRP new).

Re:Turning around the package (1)

jdonnis (115371) | more than 8 years ago | (#13148559)

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?

Location where games are behind glass (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#13149251)

Games are locked behind glass at Wal-Mart stores in Fort Wayne, Indiana, USA.

Re:Location where games are behind glass (1)

Headcase88 (828620) | more than 7 years ago | (#13151972)

Yeah, this is the case in Brampton, Ontario, Canada, and probably just about everywhere else.

Re:Turning around the package (1)

mink (266117) | more than 8 years ago | (#13169881)

Electronics Boutique and Gamestop often have games locked in glass cases behind the counter.

Fun (4, Insightful)

ZephyrXero (750822) | more than 8 years ago | (#13145040)

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)...

Re:Fun (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 8 years ago | (#13145130)

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 that Japan has plenty of openly available drugs. :D

Re:Fun (1)

Have Blue (616) | more than 8 years ago | (#13145452)

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 large staff trying to make a living) or kick it out the door anyway and hopefully sell enough copies to be able to afford the next development cycle.

So, in short, I agree with everything you said, but it's not like there's an easy solution to this issue. Even if there was somehow a formula for determining and optimizing fun much earlier in the process, Sturgeon's Law would still hold and the market would be in the same situation as today.

Re:Fun (2, Insightful)

rohlfinator (888775) | more than 8 years ago | (#13145589)

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, but from what I understand, they usually outline the game very specifically in some kind of design document. If a game idea inherently sucks, you'd hope that someone on the team has the brains to figure that out from the beginning.

But for the most part, game ideas are pretty good. It's the execution that tends to break down. The controls are shaky, the camera is glitched, there's a huge fetch-quest mission that nobody wants to play. Those can all be ironed out later in the development process. Like Shigeru Miyamoto once said, "A delayed game is eventually good, but a bad game is bad forever."

Re:Fun (1)

ZephyrXero (750822) | more than 8 years ago | (#13145599)

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.

Re:Fun (1)

{tele}machus_*1 (117577) | more than 7 years ago | (#13150487)

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.

It's good to see (1)

Joe the Lesser (533425) | more than 8 years ago | (#13145042)

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.

"Doesn't use traditional game mechanics?"` (5, Insightful)

MilenCent (219397) | more than 8 years ago | (#13145517)

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.

Re:"Doesn't use traditional game mechanics?"` (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#13150316)

Thank you.
I played the game yesterday for the fist time (heavily stoned) and its excellent, but its not as odd as people think. Its almost exactly the same game as any other "collect the coins"-game (sonic, pacman, bombjack) just some (many) times more advanced.

Re:"Doesn't use traditional game mechanics?"` (1)

MilenCent (219397) | more than 7 years ago | (#13151004)

One of the key insights in KD is that the collecting of objects, itself, is the mechanism by which new areas become avaiable.

In Pac-Man, when you clear a board, unseen outside forces take the old board away and give you a new one. In Katamari Damacy, the new board "is always there*", and you merely grow big enough to interact with it.

* Technically, it's not.

Katamari Damacy cheats a bit to overcome the limitations of the PS2; ever notice, in the Size levels, when the ball passes certain checkpoints the screen is covered with a striped pattern and the King of All Cosmos says something to you. What it's doing is hiding the drive access that's loading new sections of the level in.

When the game comes back, you might notice that all the smallest objects have disappeared from the game; the memory that was used to store them has been used to hold the new large objects.

This is possible because, unlike with raster graphics, 3D models take up roughly the same amount of memory whether they're really small or really large.

PAL Version? (2, Interesting)

grumbel (592662) | more than 8 years ago | (#13145719)

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?

Re:PAL Version? (1)

2008 (900939) | more than 7 years ago | (#13150536)

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.

Re:PAL Version? (1)

kyojin the clown (842642) | more than 8 years ago | (#13154886)

to hear game director Keita Takahashi describe it, the concept of "fun" comes before 'innovation.'"

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

Nope. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13148044)

It uses very traditional game mechanics. Don't confuse mechanics with the audio/visual experience.

I wonder... (2, Interesting)

brkello (642429) | more than 8 years ago | (#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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