We didn’t really take any time to break down the experience at PAX this year (honestly we didn’t really have much time afterwards), so I’m going to go back through and highlight some of my experiences.
In this case – Wattam.
I remember watching coverage of E3 and seeing the Wattam trailer. My soul knew exactly what I was looking at; some kind of Katamari friendship/pyrotechnics simulator. Every fiber of my being was urging me to find this game and acquire it. Hunter/gatherer instincts peaked. Unfortunately by the end of the video, it was clear that the game was not available for purchase.
In order to continue functioning in the real world, I buried the acknowledgement of Wattam existing into the depths.
Fast forward to PAX – we are surveying the indie game landscape conducting interviews and I happen upon a familiar site. My world explodes with a vibrancy and color I haven’t experienced since….E3. Wattam is available to demo. By people. Human beings.
Hey. I’m one of those two things.
In the game, you play as a series of characters based on caricatures of real life objects such as a cloud, a coffee bean, a record player, etc. (except for the mayor, he’s just a square green blob). You’re given interpersonal puzzles to figure out with the goal of making friends with characters based on available abilities of friends you’ve already made. As Takahashi-san says, it’s a game about connections. Creating those connections (and the rewarding happy explosions you’re treated to afterwards) provides a unique kind of satisfaction – it’s something you’ve really never experienced before and probably never will again outside of this game.
Go ahead and try to explain to me the feeling you get when you cheer up a weeping pillow.
The icing on the cake was the chance to meet Keita Takahashi and record an interview that Dan did with him. He even signed a Wattam shirt for me, taking the time to draw a few characters from various games. I don’t get star struck per se, but in Katamari Damacy I found a new kind of joy and fun that video games rarely provide anymore, so I spewed out an incoherent thank you of sorts.
So, here’s the interview Dan did – it’s short but sweet as Takahashi-san was constantly kept busy by a steady stream of people who recognized him, but it’s one that I’m particularly happy to have been a part of.
“Happy, cute, explode.”