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We can think of few games as instantly playable as 1992 Game Boy classic Kirby's Dream Land, the title that marked the first appearance of its now-iconic protagonist.
Everything about this uber-cute platformer was intuitive, from using Kirby's vacuum ability to ingest enemies before spitting them out like cannon balls, to inflating him and taking flight.
Developed by HAL Laboratory and published by Nintendo, Kirby's Dream Land had much in common with other side-scrolling platfomers of its day. Each level was a simple matter of travelling from point A to point B, where a boss battle awaited our balloon-like hero.
However, the game's memorable protagonist and his unique abilities set it apart. Vacuuming up bad guys and spitting them out across the screen was supremely satisfying, and some of the power-ups, such as the ability to breathe fire, were equally fun to wield.
The game's music was also among its standout qualities. Nintendo platformers have always been renowned for their infectious soundtracks, and the upbeat infusions found in Kirby's Dream Land were no exception.
Kirby's Dream Land offered little in the way of storyline, following the main character on a quest to retrieve the food reserves of the eponymous Dream Land from the gluttonous King Dedede.
Despite its one-note plot, the game introduced some imaginative characters, from its endearing lead to the hammer-wielding penguin Dedede. There were even cameo appearances for Adventures of Lolo protagonists Lolo and Lala, who appeared as end-of-level bosses.
While Kirby's Dream Land was enjoyable from start to finish, it was ultimately short-lived, consisting of just five levels. Each were straightforward, designed to be accommodating for beginners, but a higher difficulty setting was unlocked upon completion to extend the longevity.
It was a rudimentary game, yet offered as a much fun as anything else on Game Boy. Still, we can't help but feel that it would have been an all-time classic with a dozen extra levels and more challenge.
Kirby remains one of the most unique characters on Nintendo's books, and has gone on to star in more than 20 games since his first Game Boy outing, including the popular Super Smash Bros titles.
His creation was something of an accident at HAL Laboratory, since director Masahiro Sakurai initially devised his balloon-like appearance as a placeholder for the final design, but the development team grew to love this simplistic creation and opted to leave it unaltered.
However, there were some disputes over what colour Kirby should be. Sakurai insisted he should be pink, but Nintendo mastermind Shigeru Miyamoto felt that yellow was the way to go.
It didn't matter a great deal at this point, given that Kirby was always going to have a greeny-yellow hue on the Game Boy's monochromatic display, but Sakurai got his way and the character remains pink to this day.
Kirby was named after American lawyer John Kirby, who defended Nintendo when Universal City Studios sued them in the 1980s over allegations that Donkey Kong was a ripoff of King Kong.
Kirby's Dream Land may not have received top review scores across the board upon release, but it proved a commercial success, selling 1.3 million copies by 1995, making it the fourth biggest Game Boy release at that time. It went on to reach the milestone of 5 million copies sold.
Original creations like Kirby helped make the Game Boy the fantastic handheld platform it was, and we're delighted to see him still going strong in the current hardware generation.
Do you have any fond memories of Kirby's Dream Land? Post a comment below!