Woodthorpe Grange / Takahashi Playground

Trying to build a new playground for Nottingham, designed by Keita Takahashi.

Back in 2005 on the eve of the first PSP release I attended GDC Europe in London, covering it for Gamasutra. It was fun few days during which I learnt a lot about how the Games Industry throws conferences and how Microsoft throws parties.

The conference fell at the height of the first wave of celebration of a new game designer who had seemingly come from nowhere. Keita Takahashi had released one game, Katamari Damacy, in Japan and North America and was being celebrated as the new hope for undiluted creativity in game design and his work as a high-water mark of the kinds of innovation of which games are capable.

But for all the hoop-la around him Takahashi himself seemed disinterested in his success and new found fame. His disengagement could be seen to teeter over into disdain and broad suspicion of videogames as an industry and form as he spoke with invigorating and reckless candour.

I’d played Katamari on a hacked PS2 at Screenplay courtesy of David Hayward and  obligingly fell in love with it, along with everyone else.

Whilst at the conference though, it was another comment he made that most excited me.

You can view the initial designs, as presented at GameCity5, here.

Update: This project is paused, but I’m sure will be back moving soon.