16 May 2007

katamari lunacy

Thank you all for the birthday well-wishes and gifts received; I had a great day on Tuesday. Amongst other things, I ended up with a new set of shoes (huzzah!), piles of books, a trippy CD and a stupendous dinner out with Briony.

After finishing up at Emotiv, I was pleasantly surprised to get a parting gift from them in the form of a shiny new Playstation Portable. In spite of a marketing department that appears to hate the device in question, it's quite a nifty bit of hardware. I'm mystified by the choice by Sony to have yet another proprietary format for their game discs, but, nevermind.

Hardware in hand, I visited the folks at EB games to pick up two classics for the PSP - Loco Roco and Me and My Katamari. I've never actually owned a console myself before, so I've never really got into the second-hand games thing. That said, it's really good value - the second-hand disc you get still has exactly the same content as a brand new disc.

Loco Roco is a pile of fun. It is, essentially, a kids game, with, in the main thread, only three buttons for control to speak of. It's fiendishly addictive, and has a very, very broad appeal - I even got my Dad playing it, and Briony, who is a not a regular gamer, is hooked.

However, my favourite, by far has got to be Me and My Katamari. Unlike Loco Roco, the controls appear to use all of the buttons on the PSP, leading to a style of gameplay which basically involves random button mashing with fingers, palms, and elbows if you can manage it. Outside of the horrific control mechanisms, however, is an incredibly perverse game. Really, there isn't anything quite like rolling around a sticky ball, and picking up, say, a squirrel. Or a horse. Or a bulldozer. Or a house. It tickles my megalomaniacal tendencies something silly.

The artwork and design of the game is also something to be admired. You can't help but feel that something got lost in the translation from Japanese to English, and are glad of it. Its quirky, colourful and sometimes inadvertently offensive. It's inspired people to go to some really strange lengths to pay tribute to it. If you can grab hold of a copy of any of the Katamari games for the PS2 or PSP, give them a go - it's strangely satisfying.


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