Katamari Damacy is a ridiculous game that abounds in humor. The story revolves around the King of All Cosmos going on a drunken rampage and destroying part of the cosmos, leaving the Prince to fix the mess. To fix the cosmos, the Prince has to roll up whatever is in his path – tacks, balls, dominoes, cats, sumo wrestlers, cars, houses, etc. The King of All Cosmos then turns the giant clump of things into the various missing stars and the moon.
That brief description should give you an idea of the game’s humor. It’s not a serious game by any stretch of the imagination. It’s playful, which is primarily what the creator, Keita Takahashi, wanted it to be. Even the soundtrack is off the wall and adds to the humor of the game. Seriously, go listen to it if you want some upbeat wacky music. It’s well worth a listen or two. Or so much that you get it stuck in your head for a few days.
The old adage that “laughter is the best medicine” rings true with Katamari Damacy. In the Bible, Proverbs 17:22 says “a joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.” It’s important to find joy and humor in life, even in times of great sorrow. Remaining in grief or anger – in brokenness – for too long is detrimental to a person’s health and general well being.
Finding humor in a situation often leads to stress relief and a general improvement in one’s mood. Often times at funerals and memorial services, people tell funny stories about the person that passed. Remembering the positive moments and laughing about them helps alleviate the pain of loss. The same holds true in any negative situation. If you can find some humor, no matter how small or insignificant, it helps to deal with the grief and/or anger. It’s not that you forget the pain is there, but that you remember there’s hope and joy on the other side of the pain.
This is a significant lesson in leadership, as well. Being able to laugh, especially at your own faults or mistakes, gives others the freedom to laugh. Giving others the gift of laughter has a lot of productivity benefits. It keeps situational and environmental stress levels down and the general “temperature” cooler. Humor, if done well, can diffuse a lot of situations and mitigate stress.
That self-deprecating humor is exactly what The King of All Cosmos portrays. He messed up the cosmos, admits it, admits that he enjoyed messing it up, and then sends the prince to fix his mess. While the King doesn’t laugh, per se, the humor is there and it tends to incite laughter in the players.
We all need to laugh and give those around us the freedom to laugh, especially when things go wrong. Will we laugh all the time? Of course not. Life is full of serious moments, painful times, and so on. But life is also full of hope and joy.
As in Katamari Damacy, don’t take everything so seriously. Embrace the playful side of life and those hopeful, joyful, and humorous times. Laugh when you can and give the gift of humor to others. You’ll be amazed how that simple gift can be a shining star for someone.