Memories of Katamari

by Darius Kazemi on January 23, 2006

in gdc

Edge Online has an article up about the rise of Keita Takahashi, the creator of Katamari Damacy.

But just how do you accelerate from unknown newcomer, through cult hero, to toast of the establishment in the time it takes most developers to produce a single game? Back in 2003 Katamari Damacy was unknown, a demo disc given away at the Tokyo Game Show which was dismissed by many as a one-note wonder – a novelty game which no one would play for more than ten minutes. Then, some neat timing: just a fortnight after the game’s release in Japan, and the early flurry of word-of-mouth from those whose interest had been piqued at TGS, Takahashi presented the game at GDC’s experimental game workshop. It was the perfect audience – curious-minded and enthusiastically evangelical – and word of Katamari started to spread in the development community. [Edge Online - "Everybody Loves Takahashi"]

I attended the Experimental Gameplay Workshop in question. And I have to say, the feeling in that room when Keita showed Katamari was just electric. It was just amazing to see all these game developers, literally the best of the best in the world, in complete awe of this weird little game. At the end of the presentation, when he said there were no plans to port it to the US market, everyone was just devastated. ‘Course it didn’t work out that way, happily.

I’ve never had a conversation with Keita, but I’ve been in his presence and listened in on a few interpreted conversations. The thing that strikes me the most about him is his humility. Just a very, very humble and nice guy.

{ 1 comment }

Patrick Dugan January 23, 2006 at 10:27 pm

I get the same feel from what I’ve read of Ueda-san, maker of Shadow of the Collosus and Ico. Maybe the only theory of game design we need is Zen, and maybe Japanese designers just get that essential sentiment more easily than Americans, having been raised in a culture of collective service.

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