Feature Article

7 Kirby facts you might have missed over the years

There's way more to Kirby than just sucking and blowing.

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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.

Discussion

14 comments
metallinatus
metallinatus

The only ones I didn't know was how did he end up with his design and the one about the Guinness record....

But I really want to play Kirby 64 again now!

g1rldraco7
g1rldraco7

I really can't imagine Kirby being yellow, pink suits him better.

DrKill09
DrKill09

I don't like gum, but like SOME of the Kirby games.

the_dude526
the_dude526

I know putting Kirby's face on a shirt "sounds" like a good idea, but was it really necessary to put the blush right on people's nips? I didn't even see that there were eyes on the shirt at first.

Anigmar
Anigmar

To me Kirby is way better than Mario and company. His games have a special aura.

freedom01
freedom01 moderator

my very first Kirby was the SNES "Super Kirby Deluxe"

EasyComeEasyGo
EasyComeEasyGo

What an interesting article you did there Martin Gaston. My first Kirby game was on NES so I didn't know his first copy ability came from there. While I did enjoy reading this article Martin but you never talk about King Dee Dee and my question is: Is Dee Dee really consider evil or just a big jerk? I remember seeing him helping Kirby in most of the games and sometimes trying to destroy Kirby which kinda bug me over the years.

metallinatus
metallinatus

@g1rldraco7  Just choose his second look on any Smash Bros. and you won't have to imagine. (but yes, pink suits him much better)

ParanoidPaal
ParanoidPaal

@the_dude526  Hahahahah! That was my first thought when I saw the picture as well. Right on the nips!

BrolyB593
BrolyB593

@the_dude526  That was my EXACT first thought and I instantly scrolled down to see if I was alone in thinking that hahaha

It looks especially funny on the overweight guys... which looking at that picture is all of them.. haha womp womp womp unhealthy gamers.

freedom01
freedom01 moderator

@the_dude526  LOL I went to go check on the picture a second time when you mentioned that, now Im just laughing so hard

RoseBell69
RoseBell69

@Anigmar Kirby is my personal number one most and only favorite Nintendo franchise. I am extremely and strictly loyal to Nintendo as a console and handheld gamer mainly because of Kirby. The other franchises fall into place almost equally in their own special ways. :)

UFOLoche
UFOLoche

@EasyComeEasyGo  His goal is rarely to destroy Kirby, honestly, Kirby is more of a jerk than Dedede is.  Most of the time, Dedede is shown to be a pretty decent king while Kirby is, well, to put it bluntly, dumb.  I think the worst Dedede got was in KSSU where he had a game dedicated to getting revenge on Kirby for kicking his ass(The stages being remakes of Spring Breeze, where Kirby goes and crashes Dedede's party).


Heck, even Meta Knight is a better 'hero' than Kirby.

Kirby: Triple Deluxe More Info

First Release on May 02, 2014
  • 3DS
Pink? Check. Puffy? Check. Powerful? You have no idea. Devour trees, obstacles, and huge chunks of stages with Kirby’s Hypernova ability and inhale enemies to copy epic new moves like Archer.