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Monday, April 30, 2007

Frisbee and Katamari

Frisbee has, as a game, some interesting mechanics. There are no points. It's not competitive because, well, sans points there can be no loser and no winner. It's not really cooperative because of said points and also a complete lack of a shared goal. Even catching the frisbee is ratehr optional - so even any goal. Of any kind. In fact, frisbee has no endgame. Frisbee is over when a majority of participants decides the game is over.

In other words - on paper ... frisbee is pretty weak. However, even though nobody expects it to enter the Olympics any time in the near future, it's a pretty popular game. And most people would describe it as a game - they say "play some frisbee" or "a game of frisbee" easily in place or in preference to "throw a frisbee".

We had some housesitters over the weekend and invited them to try out Katamari Damarcy while they were around. After talking about the game when we returned, it occured to me that Katamari's popularity is cut from much of the same cloth. Yes, there are more tangible goals (unlockable content) and there are real points to score. However there isn't really an endgame to Katamari (more like a finite number of cinematics) and the game couldn't really be considered cooperative or competitive ... you're mostly just playing against yourself but there is little harm in being "bad" at the game. It's only cooperative (and of course I'm ignoring the 2P mode) in the sense that another person increases your chances of clearing a level - which is actually a pretty potent form of couch coop on its own.

Like frisbee, I'm not sure

1 comment:

Greg Tannahill said...

Dude, Frisbee's success comes from its combination of extreme portability and a unique kinetic controller. Also the multiplayer is awesome. If you could purchase a Wii controller that worked without the Wii and operated some sort of decent motion based entertainment in the $10-20 range then Frisbee would totally be a thing of the past.