Video Game Thoughts: Kirby’s Adventure

Kirby’s Adventure was a 1993 platformer game for the Nintendo Entertainment System by HAL Laboratory. I played this game only very recently. It was a free gift from Club Nintendo. This was a rewards program Nintendo used to do. Every time players bought a game, they could register it on the site to get points. If they got enough points at the end of a single year, they could redeem the points for a free game. They also had merchandise like plush toys or posters, but I was only interested in the games.

Anyways, Kirby’s Adventure turned out to be better than I expected. For a NES game, it was very easy. That was so rare at this time. I liked that I didn’t have to keep retrying over and over. The game was about the hero Kirby, this pink puff ball creature. One really cool aspect of Kirby was his ability to suck in any enemy. That was his primary method of attacking enemies. After an enemy was sucked in his mouth, Kirby could swallow it to gain a special move related to the enemy or just spit the enemy back out in the form of a star as a ranged attack. This added a whole lot of flexibility to the gameplay.

Levels could be completed in many different ways based on the powers that the player chose to use. Some sections, however, did require specific moves though. It was really cool that bosses could even be killed by many of the special moves. It was faster to just kill the boss the intended way like launching objects back at it, but the player could kill the boss slowly with special moves if they wanted to. This kind of flexibility was pretty much unheard of at the time, especially for a NES game. The game was pretty short but was a great proof of concept. Future Kirby games used many of these mechanics with just a little more polishing added. Kirby’s Adventure was really ahead of its time.

Some of the ideas in Kirby’s Adventure may have been borrowed from the more recent Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) games. The SNES came out around 1990 in Japan, so there were many new games to draw inspiration from when making this game for the old platform. I’m surprised that Nintendo didn’t just have the developers move the game to the SNES. By 1993, the NES wasn’t all that popular anymore. Many families still had them at home but few people were actively buying games for it. These days, Nintendo would have pushed it to their new console. I think perhaps Nintendo wasn’t so sure the SNES would be a success. They feared investing too much in a new system that might fail. Well, that never happened. The SNES went on to sell almost as many units as the NES did.

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