Kirby’s 25th Birthday: Our favorite memories of the lovable pink fluff ball
Ready to feel old? Kirby turned 25 this week. The lovable pink hero and all around “jolly fellow” first debuted in 1992 with Kirby’s Dream Land (originally titled Kirby of the Stars in Japan), hitting North America on Aug. 1 that year before expanding to the rest of the world on Aug. 3 — and our lives have never been the same.
To celebrate Kirby hitting this important milestone, we asked the Multiplayer team and others at Mic to share their favorite Kirby memories and video games. Whether you’ve been a fan since the beginning or you just like sucking up other characters in Super Smash Bros., there’s something for you here.
I’ve always held Kirby Super Star up as the gold standard for Kirby games because there was just so much of it. In grade school, a friend and I spent an entire weekend playing through Dyna Blade and Revenge of Meta Knight on local co-op because it was so unlike anything we were used to on the Nintendo 64 and PlayStation 1. Those fond memories did the bulk of heavy lifting when I made the decision to buy the excellent Kirby 64 and the oft-frustrating Kirby: Nightmare in Dreamland later in my life.
The first game I ever had a chance to play on my new Game Boy as a little girl was Kirby’s Dream Land. I still remember Dad picking it up as well as the Game Boy and hard travel case for me at the local pawn shop and tearing into it on the way home. It was a brand-new world for me, being able to take my games with me outside of the house, and I was quickly enamored with Kirby — especially the first time I made a tree weep by hurling projectiles at it.
My love for Kirby was cemented then, and I grew up with the pink puffball close to my heart. Whether it’s Kirby’s Pinball Land or Kirby Super Star, I’m always down for another adventure, especially if it happens to be one that involves yarn.
As a kid, I was obsessed with Kirby’s Dream Land 2. I brought that game and my Game Boy Color with me everywhere I went. If I close my eyes, I can still remember the specific designs of certain levels
Even when I wasn’t playing Dream Land 2, I was still thinking about it. My brother and I even had an ongoing debate about which combination of enemy abilities and animal friends (the game added the ability to ride a Hamster, Fish or Owl) was best — I still say it was the fire-breathing hamster.
Kirby Air Ride, from what I recall, is not a particularly good racing game. It came out when I was young enough to be entertained by just about anything, and when I couldn’t buy my own games. So I would play one thing obsessively for a long time.
For some reason, I got deeply into the free-roaming City Trial mode, where you could just run around a city using all of the game’s different vehicles. It was the closest we ever got to a true 3-D Kirby game, even though it was just a side mode in a racing game. I’m only going to bat for it because no one else will.
In Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards, you can combine two powers into one surprise fusion power. I combined my two favorite powers, ice and electricity, to see what would happen. Kirby transformed into a big refrigerator and launched food at people. You could then eat the food. I proceeded to play as much of the game as the Kirbyfridge as possible and threw temper tantrums when other powers were clearly necessary. It isn’t a very good power at all. The bosses are not impressed by the food, and it’s hard to land it. I later found out that, after beating story mode, there were also some mini-games. It was very nice.
Kirby is a gift that keeps on giving. My finest memories are still playing the puff in Super Smash Bros., sucking up Nintendo’s lesser characters and sapping their life-force to rewrite Kirby’s genetic makeup before my eyes — like a bouncy, pink BioShock splicer. (Is this what’s happening? Has anyone done a prospective biological study on Kirby’s metabolism?)
Recently, I played some Super Smash Bros. Wii U with the Multiplayer team, and found the game added all these terrible Capcom characters: Shulk, Bayonetta, Ryu. They’re good for nothing — except giving my Kirby a head of beautiful, flowing Cover Girl hair. Oh that hair.
Easy, breezy, beautiful.
Maybe he’s born with it. Maybe it’s the countless souls he’s drained from the bodies of his victims.
Stay beautiful, my “spry little boy.”
More gaming news and updates
Check out the latest from Mic, like this deep dive into the cultural origins of Gamergate. Also, be sure to read this essay about what it’s like to cosplay while black, a roundup of family-friendly games to play with your kids and our interview with Adi Shankar, producer of the animated Castlevania Netflix series.