I made all the obvious jokes when it was announced that none other than EA was going to distribute We Love Katamari in the UK but noted that they could at least give it some exposure. Ha!
The release has been and gone, and although they did a much nicer job with the box art than the horrible “art” that the US version got (the US cover for Me and My Katamari is even worse), you wouldn’t have known it. The first mistake – I’m disregarding the fact that they release it here months after everywhere else – is that what was a $29.95 (£17) budget release in the US has come out here for £40. As good a game as it is, nobody who doesn’t already know about it will buy it for that much.
The other mistake is that it’s almost impossible to find. GAME aren’t usually credited with an overabundance of knowledge of games (I got hate mail last time I said that, but a couple of weeks ago when I asked about a PS2 component lead they tried to sell me a “super SCART” cable because it was “miles better”) and sure enough it seems that most branches got two copies in at absolute best. One person on the NTSC-uk forums got told by a GAME employee that it looked “shit”, which doesn’t do much to sell it to the customers.
Eynon’s shop got in quite a few because they have a lot of regulars who are interested in Japanese quirkiness and he’s sold most of them both to people who’ve wanted it for a while and even to “normal” people. Although there’s been essentially no advertising for it, it’s been running in the shop since it came out and a lot of people have shown interest when they’ve played or seen it, and I’ve seen more than one buy it on their recommendation.
Nonetheless it’s a depressing situation and surely means that this stuff will be even less likely to come out in Blighty, and that the hardcore who buy a lot of games will import instead, and so the British games industry will implode. We’re surely doomed.