Ten years ago today saw the English launch of a quirky Japanese puzzler, a sleeper hit that would go down as one of the most endearing, original, and gleefully weird gaming stories of the 2000s: Katamari Damacy. Its fever-dream plot has the record-scratching, Freddie Mercury-esque King of All Cosmos destroy the stars in a drunken fugue, and you, the diminutive Prince, must restore them with the Katamari -- a magical sticky ball that snowballs through cluttered environments, rolling up paperclips, flowerpots, cows, buses, houses, skyscrapers, and continents into new constellations. It also boasts one of the most infectiously joyous soundtracks of all time -- an eccentric, richly produced, and incredibly catchy blend of funk, salsa, bossa nova, experimental electronica, J-Pop, swing, lounge, bamboo flute, hair metal, buoyant parade music, soaring children's choirs, Macintalk fanfares, and the finest theme song this side of Super Mario Bros. Called a consumerist critique by sculptor-turned-developer Keita Takahashi (who after one sequel moved on to Glitch, the supremely odd Noby Noby Boy, and playground design), the series has inspired much celebration and thought [2, 3] on its way from budget bin to MoMA exhibit. Look inside for essays, artwork, comics, lyrics, more music, hopes, dreams... my, the internet really is full of things. [more inside]
Team Teamwork has released Katamari Da-Emcee, a mashup album of the wonderful soundtrack from the 2004 Playstation 2 cult hit Katamari Damacy with various hip-hop songs from artists including Kanye West, 50 Cent, and Big Freedia, the New Orleanian queen of bounce music. [more inside]
Alphabet Blocks for a Geek Baby "Amateur engineer/designer" Jonathan M. Guberman made his newborn son a set of custom engraved wooden alphabet blocks, with "things that his mother and I were looking forward to sharing with him" on 4 of the 6 sides. (See them all here) "The only real rule I followed in choosing subjects was trying to maintain an even gender balance" which makes them even more awesome. (Of course, your choices for certain letters may vary)
If you've ever dreamed of making out with one of the villainous cats from Mappy or getting into a love triangle with the spaceship from Galaga and a talking Taiko drum, enrolment at Namco High is now open. [more inside]
Keita's Quick Ideas. In 2011, Keita Takahashi, designer of Katamari Damacy, joined the team of the unconventional MMO game Glitch (previously), which had to close its doors last year. The Glitch people have since published 200 of Keita's ideas for the game.
For fans of gaming and pure delight: Katmari Damacy creator Keita Takahashi has joined the team behind the upcoming Glitch, from the makers of Flickr (and Game Neverending!) [more inside]
Noby Noby Boy is out! What is Noby Noby Boy? The creator speaks: "At this stage, it's too early for me to sum up this game in one word." Why was it made? "Seriously, I don’t know. When I figure it out, I’ll share it on this blog." A bit more cogent explanation follows: [more inside]
So you've spent the holidays playing games, but now you have to be back at work. How to get your gaming fix during commutes and lunch-hours, whilst keeping up with that resolution to Learn Something New this year? Well, you could make a Sack-Boy. You can keep your portable games device warm with a Zelda cosy. You can knit up a Pacman scarf or a Space Invaders bag or socks if you're feeling retro. Or you can make a pocket ninja, an invincibility star to get you through the afternoon, a maqgnetic Katamari ball to spring-clean that desk, or a friendly companion cube. (and if you're too cack-handed to knit, you can sew a friendly cube with the pattern here and tutorial here!)
It's been almost a year since Roger Ebert responded to Clive Barker on the debate over whether games can truly be "art." In support of Mr. Barker's position, here are some of the most artistic moments from games in recent years - the tragic, the trippy, the Saturday mornings, the darkly comic, the downs and the ups, and the rare phyrric victory. [more inside]
Yury Gitman and his students make electronic toys: Pululus; Mr. Spoon Man; even a Katamari! Learn how they make them, inside and out. More about Yury at we make money not art and his own website.
The Monster Pod tm *Now with more viscoelastic morphing polymer* AS SEEN ON Book of Joe (p.s. it's not an apple product, it's a tripod and a very sticky one at that!)
2-D Katamari Damacy. Flash friday.