Museum Features Katamari Damacy as “Modern Videogame Classic”


A PS2 cult classic from Namco Bandai is hailed as a prime example of progressive design for children.

The Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art has a new exhibition: a survey of 100 years of modern design for children, which will run from July 29th to November 5th 2012. It covers everything from clothing to architecture, but those who remember the PS2 fondly have something special to look forward to. Katamari Damacy, Namco Bandai’s sleeper hit from 2004, has been chosen by MoMA as a prime example of progressive design for children.

“Namco Bandai Games’ Katamari Damacy has touched countless people, from children to adults, and is truly a modern videogame classic,” said Namco Bandai spokesman Carlson Choi. He went on to say that the inclusion of Katamari Damacy was “a testament” to Namco Bandai games design principles and that it “shows the importance of video games in peoples’ lives in addition to being a validation of video games as a modern form of interactive art.”

Katamari Damacy, a game in which the player rolls everything in sight up in one big ball of stuff, was a surprise success when it was first released in 2004. It didn’t set the Japanese market on fire at its initial release but later in the year, when word of mouth had spread, it sold extremely well. It sold out in North America, which came as a shock to Namco Bandai executives as they’d thought it too quirky a game to do well in that market. It has since become a cult classic, and spawned several sequels.

MoMA’s Century of the Child is based on a 1900 book of the same name by social theorist Ellen Key. Key believed that the 20th Century would make childhood and children paramount, as society began paying more attention to the rights and well-being of the young. “Taking inspiration from Key,” the MoMA exhibition précis says, “this exhibition will examine individual and collective visions for the material world of children, from utopian dreams for the ‘citizens of the future’ to the dark realities of political conflict and exploitation.” The exhibit’s official website can be found here.

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