Video Game Thoughts: Kirby’s Dream Land

Kirby’s Dream Land was a 1992 platformer game by HAL Laboratory for the Game Boy. This was my first Kirby game. I mostly got it because I liked Nintendo games. This was another Nintendo game. It was very different from the Mario games though. First, Kirby could swallow air to float like a balloon, so the player never had to worry about falling into a pit like Mario. Also, instead of jumping on enemies, the player could suck them in or shoot air puffs at them to destroy them. Kirby was much slower than Mario, so the levels tended to go slower.

These few changes made Kirby’s Dream Land feel quite different. It was less about running to the end and more about carefully dispatching enemies as I made my way. I found the boss fights to be really fun. Mario bosses almost always amounted to jumping on the boss’s head at a certain point, but in Kirby, I could turn the boss’s own projectiles against him by sucking them in and firing them back. Kirby felt like he had a lot more flexibility than Mario, even if he was a little less athletic than Mario.

While I liked these changes, I still liked the Mario games more. The main reason was because Kirby’s Dream Land was much shorter than the typical Mario game. The levels did have more exploration in them, and again, Kirby took longer to navigate terrain than Mario, but the game was over within four or five hours. I remember after getting the game, I was done within one weekend. I had a lot of fun playing the game again due to the flexibility, but it just wasn’t enough length to truly satisfy me. Probably as a result of this I never got into later Kirby games much.

I put Kirby games in the “artsy” group. These are games that are a lot of fun and try many new things but usually don’t have enough length to be worth the cost. Even now, I have the money to play artsy games if I want, but I usually can’t justify the cost. I always see that it would be better value to buy another game. The saved money over time can be used for future bills or even charity.

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