Keita Takahashi is a game designer best known for his work on Katamari Damacy, Noby Noby Boy, and the forthcoming Wattam. He’s @KeitaTakahash on Twitter.

I have not played nearly any games this year besides Wattam. So, I was considering just reviewing/telling you all about Wattam, but I think I should not do that. Someone might kill me.

So, let me go back to 2002 (or 2001, I forgot), a time when I was waiting for the green light for the first Katamari Damacy. I picked these games because they helped encourage me to not be afraid of making Katamari into the unique game I wanted it to be.

ICO

A simple and beautiful mechanic, and great art. But the thing that surprised me most is the way to save this game. If you sit on the ruined benches with Yorda, you can save the game. That’s rad. Like holding hands or sitting on the bench, all common, normal things in our daily lives can be game elements. That’s a lesson I got from ICO.

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Rez

Rez extended my boundary of visual art for video games. Rez taught me there is not any clear definitions of “What video games should look like.” Rez looks cool, ICO looks beautiful, so how about Katamari? That’s what I had been thinking while playing Rez.

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Cubivore

All animal’s bodies in this game are made with panels, with a cubic head on them. So their movement and behavior can’t be a realistic, but I felt it’s kinda real. I mean, it’s not real real. It’s as real as panel shaped animals can be. I think I got a small hint about visual design for the objects that could be rolled up in Katamari. Every single object needed to be low poly counts because of the PS2’s performance. Then I figured that the amount of polygons doesn’t matter; animation, texture and design direction are much more important.

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The Gardens Between

Oh, actually, The Gardens Between is the only video game I played this year. My favorite parts of the game are where the game mechanic and story tie together best. It’s a small story and simple mechanic (well, gameplay is not so simple–it’s little bit more complicated than I expected), and you eventually come to understand why they are doing this weird time shift adventure at the very end, and that was a lovely moment when it all comes together.

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