At a Game Designers' Conference Europe panel last month, the topic under discussion was "devise a game for Granny." After a rather predictable discussion, Keita Takahashi, the creator of Katamari Damacy, busted out this amazing little tirade about a game based on stroking cats:
He introduced the design of his new controller specifically tailored for the Granny, and a picture of a cat appeared on the screen to great amusement. He explained, "the shape of the cat and the heat waves that it gives out really gets the old ladies going as they get quite cold. They like the cat shape. The cat is designed to be rested on the old ladies knees." The cat controller was met with rapture from the audience as Takahashi went on to explain the gameplay concept.
The game would begin with the family suggesting to Granny that she wear the cat because, for example, her knees looked cold. Embedded in the cat is the capability for it to communicate wirelessly with other cat controllers (on other Grannies' knees) in the neighborhood. When the cat connects to another one, "..the onboard a.i. kicks in." This causes the cat to speak, paraphrased as "meow, meow, grandma, meow". Takahashi explains that the family are required to participate in the game by pretending that they haven't heard anything, because of this – Grandma begins to build the perception that she is able to communicate directly with the cat.
As the dialogue with the cat develops, it suggests that Granny make some soup – but faster than the other granny down the street who has also received the instruction. A competitive element emerges and gradually the cat suggests more and more group activities that Grandma might engage in, culminating in trips to the park. "..So they all go outside and eventually they meet other old ladies with cats and they all become friends. So it's a game that involves the participation and love of the entire family." Takahashi ended the presentation by commenting on the possible production path of the cat, "Namco and Bandai are merging so when I get home I will submit my proposal."