Beautiful Katamari

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That game store visit I mentioned in the last post led to the purchase of this game.


Not much disturbs me, and anyone who knows me should know that. This game…does, a little.

It’s rated E for ‘Everyone’, with notes about ‘Alcohol Reference, Comic Mischief,’ and ‘Mild Fantasy Violence.’ No mention of ‘More Gayness Than A Gay Pride Parade’ or…anything else that happens in the game. I guess the ESRB doesn’t concern itself with such things.

I’m not sure if the story from the instruction manual will help, but here it is:

The King of All Cosmos and his family were vacationing on one of their favorite planets.

The King was enjoying a delightful game of tennis with his beloved Queen and Prince.

The King’s tennis skills were truly first-rate.

But alas! The King’s swing was too strong, and the ball was sent flying into the sky!

The ball flew on and on, and opened up a hole in the sky.

The King and his family gazed up in worry at the dark hole that had popped open…

The Hole began to suck up all sorts of things, for this was that dreadful astrophysical anomalyl; a Black Hole!

The Black Hole hungrily ate up bigger and bigger things.

Growing even bigger, it started to suck up nearby stars as well.

Finally, the very planet istelf was sucked up by the Black Hole!

The King had had enough! He stood up to face the Black Hole.

The King summoned his almighty powers, and in a spectacular fashion, stopped the Black Hole in its tracks.

Harmony has returned to the Great Cosmos, but no one knows when the Black Hole will strike again…

Now, I haven’t played much tennis in my life, but I was under the impression that ‘tennis skills’ included the ability to keep the ball within the white lines….

This game isn’t about tennis, though. It’s about the end of the universe.

I’m not kidding.

It starts out innocently enough. You’re a little green guy with a funny head, and you roll around this ball that has magical sticky-powers…sorta like gravity, but different. Like gravity if gravity were made of strange, size-conditional glue. As the ball gets bigger, you can pick up bigger stuff, and you can access different areas.

There are annoyances. Little mice, at first, that knock you around. Then people. Eventually, you’re large enough to pick up both. And then you start picking up whales. And weird nessie-things. And weird T. rex things. And weird stego-things. And weird Godzilla-movie things. Giant squid. Really giant squid. Super-incredible-fucking-giant octopodes. Creepy owls floating around in the street and cows tied to balloons. King Kong. Weather Systems.

…and then the camera’s pulled back so far that you’re just rolling around on the planet, picking up Paraguay, Belize, former members of the Soviet Union, and Antarctica.

You see where this is going, right?

The ball of stuff gets so big, you’re rolling it around in space, picking up planets, stars, and, for some reason, constellations. But I guess that makes sense, since you were picking up the aurora back on Earth.

The game is…frustrating. Enjoyable, though. It’s just that there’s this part of me that can’t look at this giant ball of stuff rolling around on a planet not much larger than it and not think ‘y’know, if the ball of stuff were really that big, it’d be turning the planet inside out right now.’

Based on what I assume the goal of the game is — building a Katamari so big you can plug the black hole with it — the game seems to be about the ‘Big Crunch’. Seriously. You’re gathering all the matter in the universe together and cramming it into a black hole…which seems counterproductive, since all you’re really doing is feeding this thing that you wanted to stop in the first place. But it’s Japanese. Which explains everything, I guess. Only Japan could made an entertaining game that goes from ‘clean up this place with a sticky ball’ to ‘holy shit, ecological disaster’ to ‘whee, end of the known universe!’

Only Japan could do all that, and make the game in Mexico.

Thanks, Japan.

Edit: I’m going to ruin the nice ending to this post to mention that I’m not sure which little detail I like more — the Sphinx running away from you when you roll through Egypt, or the screams of all the people when you roll up buildings….

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