Game: Katamari Damacy
System: PlayStation 2
Release date: 2004
I'm sure this has been said many times before, and by better writers than myself, but I think it's quite possible that Katamari Damacy's backstory--which involves the colossal King of All Cosmos getting plastered, destroying the solar system and then asking his diminutive son to rebuild it--is the best to ever appear in a video game. At the very least, it's one of the wackiest. It's only a smidge wackier than Katamari Damacy's gameplay, though, which puts players in the role of the aforementioned pint-sized prince and tasks them with rolling the titular katamari (Japanese for "clump" or "clod") over anything and everything in sight in order to make it grow as large as possible. (Most of the objects in each stage stick to said katamari if they touch it and if they're smaller than it. All of that junk is then somehow used to recreate the stars and other celestial bodies that were obliterated by the king.) Unsurprisingly, this Keita Takahashi-designed title's graphics and soundtrack are pretty wacky, too--the latter, the bulk of which was composed by Yū Miyake, especially. Don't take that to mean this is one of those games that is so weird it's no fun; Katamari Damacy has fun in droves. In fact, I'd say it's one of my all-time favorite titles. The only possibly negative thing I can say about it is that I wish every stage had an "eternal mode" and that said mode was unlocked from the start (as it is, each level begins with a strict time limit), as exploring the game's beautifully realized set pieces at will--with Miyake's energetic tunes blaring in the background--is an absolute blast.
See also: Previous 'Great Gaymathon' posts