Just about everyone respects Masahiro Sakurai! I’m no different! He’s made some wonderful games, and even his more obscure works are really cool and fun!
I’ve linked to his series on game design before, released on Youtube with Nintendo’s help. It’s really popular! We try not to link too frequently to the same series or blog, instead waiting to find something in it that connects with me personally, in the hopes that whatever it is will be something that connects with my readers as well, and that’s why I’m linking to him talking a bit about Kirby Air Ride.
Like The Speed Rumbler, I feel like I have to say something really specific and detailed about KAR. (What a cool and appropriate acronym, both in the context of Kirby and Speed Rumbler!) Especially City Trial, which I think is just waiting for some interested party to revisit an expand. In the meantime though, enjoy Sakurai talking about what may be the most unique Kirby game, even in a series containing Star Stacker, Pinball Land and Tilt ‘n Tumble.
On Romhack Thursdays, we bring you interesting finds from the world of game modifications.
Kirby’s first adventure was, famously, a Gameboy game. Since that system is black and white, it’s been heard that Shigeru Miyamoto didn’t know Kirby was supposed to be pink until his second major game, Kirby’s Adventure, was released as a swan song for the Famicom/NES. The last main world in Kirby’s Adventure, as a nod to its Gameboy roots, is monochrome.
Kirby games tend to have distinctive graphics, and Dream Land is no exception even if it is monochrome. But what would they look like if they were in color? Well we don’t have to wonder any longer, because of a romhack constructed by GreenAndACat. It ports the game to the Gameboy Color hardware, and it looks pretty darn great! They resisted the urge to make it too fancy, instead giving background elements broad swaths of primary color that look great when applied to the game’s simple yet iconic graphics. Have a look:
A lot of the gaming web has been fawning over Kirby and Smash Bros. creator Masahiro Sakurai’s design videos. I haven’t had the chance to look at them yet, but they look interesting at least. They’ve been coming out at a good clip, like one every two days.
Sakurai’s star is so high right now, that it’s worth noting that (going by memory) he left Nintendo with a bit of a cloud over his head, after Kirby Air Ride was seen as something of a failure. Nowadays KAR (nice acronym!) is seen as an underrated classic, and I have put many hours into its City Trial mode, which is terrific, a tiny open-world high-speed racing/party game. More people should have the chance to play it; it is unique, which is something I can’t say about many other games. While the 3DS version of Smash Bros. has a mode inspired by it, in versus mode human players cannot interact with each other during the exploratory portion of the game, which harms it somewhat.
At the height of his abilities, Sakurai can make really interesting and new kinds of games, like Smash Bros. was, and like Kirby Air Ride and (the sadly neglected these days) Meteos are. It’s a shame that Smash is so popular, one of Nintendo’s biggest tentpoles, enough to crowd out his other work. I’m really interested to see what the next crazy idea he comes up with will be!
In the past for limited times Nintendo has authorized the setting up of Kirby Cafes, charming little representations of the affable pink blob’s world and its inhabitants. Two of them are currently open, in Tokyo and Hakata, Japan. These have really gone the extra mile to create an atmosphere of Kirbiness, from their menus to having large plush Waddle Dees to set into a chair opposite yours if you should come to one alone.
The embedded video is over an hour and a half of background music from these cafes. It appears to be a rip of a pair of official CDs. SiliconEra reports on some current dishes being served there as tie-ins to the new 3D Kirby game for Switch, Kirby and the Forgotten Land. The cafes have an official website and Twitter feed.