Katamari Damacy is a cult-favourite videogame from 2004. The game challenges players to roll around a magical ball called a Katamari. Everything the ball rolls over sticks to it, and as you play it grows bigger and bigger like a snowball. With crazy music, a unique art style, and quirky humour, the game is my all-time favourite. I want to share it with people in a fun and accessible way.
The craziest, most awesome way I could think of to get people involved in the game was to let them actually roll around a big ball. With some research, ingenuity and lots of help from smart people, I designed the world’s first life-size Katamari controller. The controller would use a yoga ball mounted on industrial casters. With some electronic wizardry, optical mice would replace the game’s control sticks.
In June, we debuted a rough prototype of the Katamari at Nuit Blanche and people’s reaction was amazing. Giant grins came over their faces as they discovered the joy of rolling around a big ball of fun. The project was picked up by dozens of websites around the world, and our YouTube video has over 100,000 views.
It was touch and go to get this test version working in time, but even so it proved to incredibly intuitive and a ton of fun. I want to make the Katamari fully functional and share this fun with more people at events around London. Although our test proved the controller can work, it needs some serious help to be awesome enough to take to future events.
The prototype controller is clunky, buggy and difficult to set up and tear down. We have collected feedback from people who tried it at Nuit Blanche, and from the hundreds of comments posted online. We have solid plans to make the device more responsive, reliable and portable. My goal is to have a complete Katamari to debut in September at Project Play (a charity gaming festival), and to take it to other London events like DIGG, Grickle Grass, etc. Everyone should have a chance to roll a Katamari!
Funded by London, ON (July 2013)