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  • Katamari Damacy A Critique: Part Two

    [09.28.06]
    - Ryan Stancl

  •  Structural

    Structuralism, in trying to find the deep, universal rules that structure a work of art (usually literature, but we’ll give it a shot here with a video game), studies language synchronically, in the now, in terms of binary pairs.

    When it comes down to it, words can only take on meaning in relation to their opposites.

    Now, one could take forever in picking out the binary pairs of a work, just like with New Criticism, but there are a few particular words, or signs, that spring up quite easily when analyzing Katamari Damacy.

    “Prince” and “King” are the main characters versus the female equivalents, which brings up gender – something that will be discussed next time with Feminism.

    The King likes to use the words “We” and “Us” instead of you and/or I when referring to himself, and in doing so is being all-inclusive, perhaps even harkening back to the royal We used by real kings and queens.

    And finally, the stage for the game is set in the “cosmos” amongst the “stars” instead of something smaller, less brilliant, and it once again bringing to mind the all-inclusiveness.


    The title “Katamari Damacy” sounds a bit – in English at least – like ‘dominance over or of the katamari’ instead of its opposite, ‘katamari weakness.’

    All these signs point to an all-encompassing, brilliant, male-centric experience in which the player gains dominance over something called a katamari. And these signs were easily stumbled upon when looking at the game in terms of binary pairs in the school of Structuralism.

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