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  • Katamari Damacy – A Critique: Part Three

    [10.12.06]
    - Ryan Stancl

  •  Psychoanalytical

    Those subscribing to Psychoanalytic theory believe that the unspeakable things in society are represented in some way or another in a work. The reason video games lend themselves rather perfectly to this school of thought is due to the unbelievably bizarre fictional worlds that have qualities of unconscious productions abound. In other words, these representations, these qualities, are interpreted as the repressions of a society – its unconscious in textual form. Psychoanalytic theory is derived straight from the infamous psychologist Sigmund Freud.

    The main repressed thoughts that can be recognized in a work are: the primal scene (first time a child either sees or imagines his parents having sex), conception and birth, sexual drive, the desire for forbidden objects, the Oedipal scenario (a male child’s unconscious desire for the exclusive love of his mother), and sexual difference (Kuhn, 1990, pp. 91-92).

    Now, much of what was covered in the Feminist section applies here, especially the parts having to do with gender roles – sexual difference – how this is a male-centric game through and through, and sexual drive, with both the King and Prince being overly male. However, while there is some crossover, psychoanalysis does offer up the ‘conception and birth’ avenue in which to explore the game.


    If you remember from
    Part One, when looking at the game from a New Critical perspective, the tutorial room was discussed. This is the room where at the start of the game the player learns the controls in an empty, rather large round room. Looking at this from a Psychoanalytic perspective, the room is shaped very much like a womb. This makes sense, having the player start in a womb, as both the Prince and the player are about to be birthed into a new world. The King peeking in at the top of the room to see how it’s going – he is a proud father waiting at the end of the birth canal for his son to be born.

    And speaking of being born, birth is also prevalent in the game in the form of the King making stars after the Prince collects up enough stuff on earth to make one. The Prince conceives the star through gathering up stuff and the King births it into existence.

    Something that gave birth to a brand new world was colonization. The school of Post-Colonialism deals with the aftermath of colonization and is the final school that will be applied to Katamari Damacy for the sake of this article.

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