dung_ho.jpg Our sister website Gamasutra has a new star columnist, in the form of German wunderkinds Schadenfreude Interactive. For last month's Gamasutra column they presented a postmortem of their avian RTS Age Of Ornithology - this month, they're explaining the history of the Black Forest-based studio in some charming detail.

Firstly, CEO Karsden Mörderhäschen explains the genesis of the firm: "After some success in the 1980s with my Commodore 64 arcade clone Wurstzeit (Sausage Time), I founded Schadenfreude Interactive with my best friend and fellow programmer, Bruno Schwartzritter. Bruno is the author of Mutantkameleschlagen, a delightful game inspired by Jeff Minter's Attack of the Mutant Camels. We are all very proud of Bruno, as he is here considered to be the Alexei Pajitnov of the Black Forest."

But the biggest revelation is perhaps of a precursor to the Keita Takahashi classic: "Two years ago we had a console game in pre-production entitled Dung Ho!, which allowed one to play as a dung beetle rolling a giant ball of -- the name says it all, ja? I got this idea while watching an Animal Planet special on dung beetles in the wee hours of the morning (I was perhaps delirious, having eaten some bad sauerbraten)... Dung Ho!'s game mechanics were indeed very similar to Katamari Damacy, and so we could not continue development for fear of legal repercussions."

Aw, what a shame. Why not console yourself with the new Katamari Damacy webgame, and a slice of bratwurst?