Death of a Noby Noby Boy

Posted in News on October 4, 2012

Sad news today: Katamari Damacy creator Keita Takahashi’s weird, wonderful social-collaboration game Noby Noby Boy will be removed from the App Store on October 9th, 2012.

“I’m so sorry,” writes Takahashi in a farewell message posted on his new company’s website, Uvula. “Please buy it before end if you are interested. That is totally silly app but I’m enjoying it sometimes even now. Thank you for playing this silly app.”

Noby Noby Boy’s unrestrained silliness is one of the main reasons it’s a tough game to articulate.

Let’s try anyway! In play you stretch an elastic caterpillar-like creature called BOY and manoeuvre him around space with a leisurely trail of the finger.

The more you stretch the more points you earn and, when you’re done playing you may bank these points in a collective total along with every other player ever’s winnings. This gigantic stack of cumulative points are fed to another Noby character, GIRL, who stretches in step with the number of points she’s fed.

Initially the social aim of the game was to feed GIRL enough points that she would stretch all the way to the moon. That happened on February 23, 2009, just four days after the game’s release on PSN. GIRL then reached Mars on May 23, 2009 and Jupiter six months later on November 20, 2009. By last Christmas, GIRL had made it to Uranus.

Sadly, it appears that she may never touch the edge of the known universe. It’s unclear whether Namco will continue to support the game on iOS or PSN after it’s removed from sale, potentially leaving her to shrink to obscurity as she drifts off into space.


I had the privilege of interviewing Takahashi in 2009, a few months after the game’s release, while he was still working at Namco.

At that time, while he still clearly loved video games, he carried a great deal of disillusionment with the games industry – and Noby Noby Boy was, in many ways, his way of expressing those feelings before he handed in his resignation with the traditional Japanese games industry.

“I‘m frustrated with the industry as a whole,” he said. “I can’t seem to predict where it’s going, which makes me feel uncomfortable. Or maybe I just don’t like where I think it’s going. I’m not sure.”

You and us both, Keita. You and us both.

“That’s probably related to my second frustration,” he continued. “I just can’t perceive where the fun is in recent hit video games. I see nothing in them that resonates with me and, their success leaves me feeling confused. The things I find interesting and enjoyable just aren’t reflected in the popular games of today and, I feel like there’s not much room for my voice because of that.”

Noby Noby Boy always felt like the pure Takahashi voice. We are poorer without it.

(via Venus Patrol)

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