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What is Katamari? A primer on the oddball and unique Japanese video game series

Updated on January 13, 2011

All about a sticky ball called a "katamari" and the Japanese video game series about it.

Katamari Damacy (or Katamari Damashii) roughly translates to "clump spirit". It also refers to a successful Japanese video game created by Keita Takahashi that involves pushing and rolling a highly sticky ball around, collecting objects in its path, and then allowing the ball of junk to grow big enough to form a "star". All this is done by order of the King of All Cosmos.

Er, did that make sense? No? Well the games' storylines don't make sense either but the quirkiness is part of their charm. The first game, Katamari Damacy won several awards including "Excellence in Game Design" at the 2005 Game Developers Choice Awards, "Best Innovation" at 2005's G-Phoria, and a "Good Design Award" in Japan.

Katamari is a game everyone, from kids to grownups, will be sure to enjoy! If you want to learn more about the strange and wacky Katamari phenomenon, please read on.

What is Katamari? - All about the Japanese video game series.

Katamari screenshot
Katamari screenshot

Katamari Damacy (Katamari Damashii) is a third-person puzzle-action video game that is published and developed by Namco for the PlayStation 2. It was first released in Japan in 2004 but is now available internationally.

The game's plot concerns a little prince on a mission to rebuild the stars, constellations, and moon which were accidentally destroyed by his father, the King of All Cosmos. This is achieved by rolling a magical, highly adhesive ball called a katamari around various locations, collecting increasingly larger objects until the ball has grown big enough to become a star. Katamari Damacy's story, characters, and settings are bizarre and heavily stylized though the brands and items in the game are based on existing products in Japan.

Katamari Damacy was well received in Japan and North America. The game was dubbed a sleeper hit, and won several awards. Katamari Damacy inspired the development of other video games, and led to the release of five sequels in Japan and other territories: We Love Katamari (2005), Me & My Katamari (2005), Beautiful Katamari (2007), I Love Katamari (2008), and Katamari Forever (2009).

Information from Wikipedia / Photo reprinted from Media Herald Dispatch

Watch the Katamari Damacy pre-launch commercial - See the exciting preview for the unique and quirky Japanese video game series.

If the explanation above didn't do it for you, maybe this advertisement will. This awesome Katamari Damacy TV commercial was aired in Japan a few months before the game's release. Watch and prepare to laugh and be amazed!

Learn more about Katamari Damacy

Visit the pages listed below for information about the games in the Katamari series.

Katamari in Pop Culture

The Katamari video game was well-received all over the world and soon it made its way into popular culture.

Katamari in real life? - Watch a TV commercial inspired by Katamari

The following is a clever commercial for Travelers Insurance (an American insurance company) that was obviously inspired by the Japanese video game.

Katamari game play videos and reviews on YouTube - See the game in action through the eyes of gamers from all over.

It's time to play Katamari!

Get yourself copies of the fun and outlandish game.

Complete your Katamari video game library. - Purchase all the Katamari games in the series!

Katamari Damacy - PlayStation 2
Katamari Damacy - PlayStation 2

The first and original game in the Katamari series.

 
We Love Katamari - PlayStation 2
We Love Katamari - PlayStation 2

We Love Katamari, known in Japan as Minna Daisuki Katamari Damacy, is the sequel to the sleeper hit Katamari Damacy.

 
Me and My Katamari - Sony PSP
Me and My Katamari - Sony PSP

The third game in the Katamari Damacy series, the first Katamari game for the PSP and the first game produced without the involvement of series creator Keita Takahashi.

 
Beautiful Katamari - Xbox 360
Beautiful Katamari - Xbox 360

Beautiful Katamari is the fourth game in the Katamari series of games following Katamari Damacy, We Love Katamari and Me & My Katamari and is for the Xbox 360.

 
Katamari Forever - Playstation 3
Katamari Forever - Playstation 3

Katamari Forever, known in Japan as Katamari Damacy Tribute isthe fifth game in the Katamari series and is for the PS3.

 

What do you think of the Katamari video game series? - Leave your thoughts about the fun and quirky Japanese game here.

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    • Dressage Husband profile image

      Stephen J Parkin 4 years ago from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada

      Weird just weird!

    • thegreenninja profile image

      thegreenninja 4 years ago

      I can play Katamari for HOURS!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      It sounds to me like Katamari has created it's own sub-culture and a wonderful industry of it's own ~ all for fun!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I've played this game once, I'm not very good, but it was really fun!

    • poptastic profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Arre 6 years ago from Quezon City

      @puzzlerpaige: Thanks for the morning visit, Puzzle! Haha yup, that's how the game goes. It's silly but I find it strangely addicting. (:

    • puzzlerpaige profile image

      puzzlerpaige 6 years ago

      This made me smile this AM! Those 2 commercials are just too funny. Reading the intro I was imagining a sticky ball rolling around picking things up as it went, then the commercials put it all in perspective. I see why it is very popular.