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We Love You, Kirby! Happy 21st Birthday!

Twenty-one years of Kirby games and I still think the little guy is cute.
This article is over 11 years old and may contain outdated information

Tomorrow, April 27th, 2013, HAL Laboratory and Nintendo’s Kirby will be turning twenty-one years old. He’ll finally be able to suck down booze alongside his enemies.

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In 1992, Kirby’s Dream Land came out for the Game Boy in Japan under the title of 星のカービィ (Kirby of the Stars.) In his debut, he had his trademark vacuum sucking but lacked the copy ability that he has in most of his other releases. Not only that, but he wasn’t the plump pink character we know him as today in the U.S. release: he was white!

The inhabitants of Green Greens stare in awe as a white Kirby flies around shoeless.

A year later, Kirby’s Adventure was released for the Nintendo Entertainment System. It was the first in the series where Kirby could gain the abilities of set enemies by swallowing them.

After Adventure, most games in the series stuck with a similar formula of being a platformer in which Kirby can float and gain his enemies’ powers. However, there have been quite a few that have strayed from the formula like Kirby’s Pinball Land and Kirby Air Ride.

American Kirby angrily sits in L.A. rush hour traffic.

The little pink ball has also made a number of appearances in games outside of his own series, most notably the Super Smash Bros. gamesHe also had his own TV series, as well as comics and manga.

American Kirby was upset that the terrible 4Kids’ dub of One Piece was beating him in ratings.

While not as popular as Mario, Kirby holds a special place in the heart of many gamers who grew up playing his games on the older Nintendo consoles. Kirby’s Super Star was one of my first co-op games and I’ve beaten Kirby’s Adventure and its remake Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land more times than I can even count (and I can count pretty high.)

The great thing about the Kirby series is that their main goal is for the player to have fun. There is a story to it, but the developers never force it on you at the cost of gameplay. You can pick up any of the platformers and expect to have a good time. They might not always be difficult (how do you even die in Epic Yarn?) but they’re always entertaining.

So, here’s to you, Kirby! Happy birthday! I hope you keep pumping out games that are (usually) great. Thank you for some amazing times.

Sometime over the weekend, I will be updating this article with a Let’s Play video of Kirby’s Dream Land that a friend of mine and I made in honor of his twenty-first birthday. Stay tuned for it!

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Image of Joseph Rowe
Joseph Rowe
World traveling English teacher, writer, and aspiring front-end developer.