chapter  1
Katamari Damacy: nostalgia and kitschi
WithRachael Hutchinson
Pages 26

One of the simplest mechanics in game design is the rolling of a ball on a flat surface through three-dimensional (3D) space. Takahashi Keita used this principle to design Namco’s 2004 game Katamari Damacy, in which the player-character must manipulate a ball through a crowded 3D environment, using the ball to pick up ‘stuff’ which accumulates into a mass of increasing size. This chapter analyzes the aesthetics, objectives and narrative of Katamari Damacy to show how the game packages Japanese culture for both the domestic and foreign audience. It offers a number of different readings to demonstrate the wide variety of interpretations the text can support, and to think about the significance of ‘open’ and ‘closed’ narrative structures. Katamari Damacy constructs both the perfect idea of the Japanese home as well as its chaotic reality through the game environment – the rooms and spaces through which the Prince must roll the katamari, and the objects he must pick up.