There's just something about Kirby that makes me like him. Maybe it's his slightly dumpy body--he's probably the most powerful chubby character in gaming--and his relatively blank face, save for some peppy eyes and a winning smile. Heck, he's amassed a cult following based on the fact that he's adorable. How can you not love him? If I had a spirit animal, I'd want it to be Kirby.
My trendiest of colleagues, Mark Walton, had a blast playing through the latest Kirby platformer on 3DS, Kirby Triple Deluxe, awarding the game a score of 8/10 in his review. The latest Kirby is already out in North America, and will hit European shores this week. But given his 20 years of history, there might be a few things about Kirby that you've missed over the years. Here's some interesting facts about about the best bright pink character in gaming.
Miyamoto wanted him to be yellow
Kirby is occasionally shown in yellow; you might have seen him this way in Super Smash Bros., or perhaps in Kirby Air Ride. This yellow Kirby is often said to be a reference to the fact that legendary game developer Shigeru Miyamoto originally wanted Kirby to be yellow. Kirby creator Masahiro Sakurai, however, wanted him to be pink.
The argument between yellow and pink must have raged on for quite some time. Nintendo of America, apparently ignorant to Kirby's true colour, opted to make Kirby white on the box of his first game, the monochromatic Kirby's Dream Land on the Game Boy. He was pink by the time Kirby's Dream Land 2 rolled around, however, where Kirby was shown on the cover riding a giant hamster. So awesome.
Thinking about it, a yellow Kirby would probably end up looking just a little bit like Pikachu…
Meta Knight has Kirby's face
Is he a goodie? Is he a baddie? He might not make an appearance in Triple Deluxe, but Meta Knight often pops up in Kirby titles as both help and hindrance. He's dark (because of nightmares), carries a sword, and covers his face with a mask, which occasionally shatters to reveal that he looks identical to Kirby, only blue. Are they the same race? Is Meta Knight just Kirby from another timeline? Was it a food colouring accident gone horribly wrong? I have no idea, because they're not that chatty in the games. He looks cool, though.
For the record, Meta Knight is such a winner that he's even been banned from Super Smash Bros. Brawl tournaments on account of being too good at everything. But will he make a reappearance in Super Smash Bros. for 3DS and Wii U?
Kirby couldn't copy abilities at the start
Other than being pink and adorable and probably squidgy, Kirby's also famous for being able to copy the abilities of the creatures he absorbs. The little guy has employed over 90 different copy abilities in his two decades of existence, although to be fair, a good chunk of those come from Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards. But Kirby couldn't even copy abilities at all in his debut title, Kirby's Dream Land; his famous ability wasn't introduced until Kirby's Adventure on the NES.
He was never even meant to be a pink blob
Kirby wasn't originally meant to be so puffy, but creator Masahiro Sakurai became increasingly enamoured with his placeholder sprite as development progressed. He wasn't even called Kirby back then either, and instead went by the name of Twinkle Popopo. In an alternate reality, a marketing team in the US is having nightmares at the mere thought of creating advertisements for Twinkle Popopo Triple Deluxe right now.
As it happens, the simplicity of Kirby is now one of the main reasons the character has endured for more than two decades. Triple Deluxe director Shinya Kumazaki tells us that "he's appealing in such a way that he's timeless--he's not trendy now, and he's not trendy tomorrow. That's why people have continued to love Kirby for such a long time."
Kirby often looks cross in the US
Over the years, Kirby has picked up a bit of a reputation for developing an angry expression on the front cover of his games in the US--a very different look to the chipper Kirby in Japan. Kumazaki recently explained to GameSpot that the difference is down to regional marketing. "For the Japanese versions we are, at [Kirby series developer] HAL, involved in everything throughout development, including the package design. The most powerful image of Kirby is that cute image, we think that's the one that appeals to the widest audience." That explains the Japanese Kirby, then, but Kumazaki adds that Nintendo of America thinks a "tough" Kirby is more appealing to a Western audience. Now you know.
His home planet is called Pop Star
One of my favourite things about Kirby games is that, once I play them for over an hour, they trigger a psychedelic effect in my consciousness. And it's not just the character, but the environments and levels. Rolling Kirby up and down magic rainbow paths in the underappreciated Kirby: Canvas Curse is a particularly bizarre highlight. Kirby games most commonly take place on his home planet--Planet Pop Star--a pointed golden star that, according to the game's lore, is so far away from Earth in the universe that it's completely invisible to humans. It's also situated next to another planet that is orbited by bows, because why not?
Kirby's particular area of residence on this funky planet is a little place called Dream Land, just in case you want to narrow it down a little further. Dream Land? Mission district, eat your heart out.
Kirby fans love bubble gum
As part of Kirby's 20th anniversary, a group of 536 Kirby fans assembled in Seattle for PAX Prime back in 2012. Their objective? To claim the Guinness World Record for blowing bubble gum, which required the group to hold the bubbles for over thirty seconds. Nintendo organised the event, and even went to the trouble of printing Kirby-themed instructions on how to correctly chew and blow bubble gum. Their attempt was a success. The only logical next step, then, is for a gathering of Duke Nukem fans to have a go at claiming the record.