Malik  (10/5/04)

Katamari Damacy Honored For Design...and Other Namco News

According to, The Japan Industrial Design Promotion Organization, which puts out an annual Good Design Award for unique product design for a Japanese product, has awarded the first award to a video game. The game would be none other than what I feel is the most brilliantly designed game of all time; Katamari Damacy. 

This award is given out for ingenious and original (but still quality orientated) design of a new product in any range from entertainment to practical products. In it's history, it has been award to some video game hardware before, such as the GBASP, but never has it been given to software. Also, at the same time, Namco was honored a second time with receiving an additional award for their (soon to be released in the US) Taiko Drum Master game. 

KD was honored because of it's simple and easy to use controls, it's colorful and vivid visuals and for the unique characters. Meanwhile, Taiko Drum Master was honored because of the nature of it's Tatakon Controller (which is shaped like said drums), which, according to one of the judges, just looks in a way that you feel like you must play with it. 

Sadly, on a different note, Namco is planning to follow the route of so many other RPG designing game studios. Tales of Eternia Online will be beta testing in 2005. I call this bad news since Namco has a perfectly good and fun franchise with their Tales games, yet if the competition is any indication, making the jump to online will probably be disastrous...not for Namco, who will cash in on the already overly bloated MMO industry (which, by all logic, should have folded by now...or at least suffered the same "bubble bursting" that took the dot com industry down a major peg about 5 years ago), but for fans of the series. The fans will soon see their beloved series, with it's amazing stories and interesting characters, get reduced to another mindless MMO that serves only one purpose..."the grind" (battle stuff, gain levels, get new powers, go to a new area and repeat...until you reach the level all other MMOs), which is the opposite of what Tales games have always given their players (plot).

So, while Namco has done good with KD and Taiko, it's sad to see them tarnish such a birght week with news of more MMO tedium.