Katamari Damacy: A Reminder Of When Creativity Was Celebrated, Not Shunned

It's sad that creative gems like Hi-Fi Rush have no place in today's profit-centered industry.

Story Highlights

  • Creative freedom has no place in the corporate greed-fueled industry’s pursuit of endless profit.
  • Katamari Damacy, a piece of art that revolutionized the entire medium is a reminder of why it’s vital.
  • Creative Games like Katamari Damacy were once idolized, but now, they are shut down, like Hi-Fi Rush.

Video gaming may have evolved by leaps and bounds, but it has become a little too scrutinized and restricted lately. Only tried and tested concepts that make a lot of money are allowed, while experimentation and creative freedom are discouraged. It makes me wish I somehow returned to the PS2 era when gaming was all about defining the boundaries of what’s possible. And even among those revolutionary titles, Katamari Damacy is a different kind of breed.

YouTube video

Katamari Damacy, A Magical Art Incarnate

Today, let me tell you the story of a video game that transcended the medium and became an undeniable work of art. It was influential and beautiful enough to be admitted into the Museum of Modern Art. That game is Katamari Damacy, a magical adventure I can never forget.

I love Katamari Damacy's artstyle and presentation | Source: IMDB
I love Katamari Damacy’s art style and presentation | Source: IMDB

So, what’s the game about? The premise is extremely simple and downright hilarious. An all-powerful entity called the King of all Cosmos accidentally destroys all the celestial bodies, except Earth. He then tasks his son, a short-stature Prince to gather materials for him, and gives him a magical sticky ball called “Katamari.” The obedient Prince goes to the Earth and starts rolling the ball, sticking stuff to it and growing it in size.

Recently I tried Katamari Damacy for the PS2 and I am so in love with the game that I made this wallpaper!
byu/FelpaCriolla inkatamari

That’s how it begins, a silly game, yet one you can never get enough of. The game demands you grow the Katamari ball to a required size within a time limit, while an absolutely surreal OST blasts in the background. Things smaller than the ball will stick to it, and it’s your job to avoid obstacles, steer it correctly, and collect items in the right order to clear this humongous ideal in the given time.

A simple yet overwhelmingly magical adventure | Source: PCSX2 (YouTube)
A simple yet overwhelmingly magical adventure | Source: PCSX2 (YouTube)

And did I tell you that the “items” you’re supposed to collect include literally anything you can find? From thumbtacks, critters, and sticks to entire buildings, mountains, and even humans, the game is as ridiculous as the premise, and in a very enjoyable way. Rolling around a ball, picking up the most bizarre things that make you crack up, and beating the clock, it was a title that redefined what people meant by a “video game.”

A Pandora’s Box

What makes the game so mind-blowingly engaging is how much creative freedom and innovation it packs. A splendid OST, with visuals straight out of a fascinating painting, a game design that promotes imagination rather than conventional norms, humourous overtones that never bore, and crafting brilliance out of simplicity just by thinking out of the box, Katamari Damacy did something that was never considered possible.

And then, it began. It was like opening a Pandora’s Box. Katamari Damacy brought forth what is nothing short of a creative revolution. The game not only spawned many sequels, but it influenced subsequent games and devs who now understood the importance of imagination and breaking free of the suffocating shackles of conventional design choices.

Katamari console collection complete (again). What a fun series to collect for.
byu/officially_baz ingamecollecting

Here’s an interesting tidbit. Katamari Damacy creator Keita Takahashi had a very hard time pitching this idea to Namco. He had to rely on a very small budget and thus was free to do what he envisioned. But when Katamari Damacy became a worldwide sensation, Namco suddenly became extremely eager to continue it as a franchise. Takahashi was opposed to this, as he felt his work was done; the idea was delivered. 

Unfortunately, he was forced to work on subsequent titles, as Namco would have proceeded with or without him. What was once a product of boundless, creative thinking now became bound to a strict set of rules. As expected, the sequels are good, yes, but not on the level of Katamari Damacy.

by from discussion

The Importance Of Creativity and Indies

There’s a crucial lesson here. The origins and the overall presentation of Katamari Damacy are very much like an indie game. Subsequently, the titles it influenced the most were also indies, and that’s also where the majority of today’s creativity exists. When a person’s imagination is not shackled by outside chains, the human brain blossoms and can create majestic pieces of art like Katamari Damacy.

Hi-Fi Rush's tragic fate is beyond reprehensible | Source: IMDB
Hi-Fi Rush’s tragic fate is beyond reprehensible | Source: IMDB

On the contrary, when this creativity is suffocated by the pillow of corporate control and strict restrictions, games with fascinating experimentation cease to exist. This is what’s going on in current times. Tell me the death of Tango Gameworks and Hi-Fi Rush was nothing less than a heinous crime

CMV: Video games are less creative, engaging, imaginative, and fun than they were in the 80’s-early 00’s
byu/DistortionMage inchangemyview

In a time when video gaming has become completely scripted and titles rarely step out of the ordinary to produce projects like Katamari Damacy that just scream creativity, indies must be uplifted. Rather than the AAA with lengthy development cycles, formulaic design and the need for massive profit, indie games and developers that keep gaming versatile and unique deserve our support.

I hope the massive publishers of today who are in control realize the importance of creative freedom, and let gems like Hi-Fi Rush survive, and that indie developers continue to produce imaginative works of art.

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Hanzala is a dedicated writer who expresses his views as opinion pieces at eXputer. He's always been fascinated by gaming and has been an avid consumer of many different genres for over a decade. His passion for games has him eager to encounter the latest RPGs and actively look for new Soulslike to challenge. He puts forth his experience and knowledge of gaming into captivating opinion pieces.

Experience: 8+ months || Education: Bachelors in Chemistry.

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