by Alva Chua
PlayStation 2, 2004
Cosmic horror tends to be about the scale of indifference the universe presents to humanity. The dreadful yawning void of existence that renders human consciousness irrelevant.
So how does this make the candy-coloured Katamari Damacy literally one of the most terrifying games in existence?
What if that void was conscious, what if it knew and understood about sentience, but it was still indifferent? What if it wore fabulous tights?
The King of All Cosmos in Katamari Damacy tasks you, one of his many princes, with the task of gathering up matter in the universe in big balls. For childish reasons justified by idiotic whims. He doesn’t care much about his son, and he certainly doesn’t care much about you, insignificant human. At best we are a mild annoyance to him.
The game paints the Earth and its inhabitants like crude wooden toys, cheerfully bereft of actual anything beyond a cartoon existence. The Prince rolls up all the objects on the planet eventually--even continents get accumulated into a huge ball of stuff. You are an inevitable agent of Entropy, making stars while being nagged by a disinterested parent. Everything operates the same, no matter how much you zoom in or zoom out on the universe and ultimately it’s all part of the same dung-ball.
If that doesn’t fill you with existential dread, I’m not sure what could.