News Flash! Smash Bros. Dojo: Kirby

Kirby Translation alt

This is a translation of Kirby’s character page from News Flash! Smash Bros. Dojo, Melee’s version of the Smash Bros. Dojo. Thanks to Soma and Sutamen for their help with the translation.

Kirby takes the stage! By the way, he’ll be starring in his very own anime. Watch it on CBC and TBS at 7:30 A.M. every Saturday, starting October 6.

In addition to making Smash, I was also working as the supervisor of the Kirby anime.
Talks of making a Kirby anime started around early 2000, which was quite a while ago.
But it’s probably a bit unfair for me to talk about the anime when the people who actually work on it are hard at work at the studio.

Right after I joined HAL Laboratory, I began working on Kirby’s Dream Land as the director. I was 19 at the time.

Games back in the era of the Famicom were difficult, and there was no easy way for first-time players to get into those games. With that in mind, Kirby’s Dream Land was designed with ease of access by anyone in mind.
Kirby’s design, which consists of nothing but eyes, a mouth and limbs, was directly taken from the bitmap image I created for the project’s presentation.

The next game I made was the Famicom game, Kirby’s Adventure.
This game introduced the Copy Abilities, which were included to bridge the gap between new and advanced players.
Beginners could progress by using moves like inhale and fly, while advanced players could use the more hardcore abilities in wilder ways.

When you think about Kirby, it definitely gives the impression that the games are intended for children, but subsequent games like Kirby Super Star and Super Smash Bros. were definitely not aimed at a young age group.

Beginners can get in smoothly, while advanced players can enjoy the more difficult parts.
The fact that I see this as important has not changed even now.
Places where the gameplay is sacrificed for this reason were intentional.
The game may be more challenging if Kirby cannot fly, but I do not make games that seek challenge without considering those who are new to gaming.

I think places like that may, perhaps, match Nintendoism.

By the way, Kirby’s 10th anniversary is next year.
He’s really getting old.

Whoa! I’ve talked too much! This is getting too long!
I have to get back to work — quick!

(These images were taken during development)

Translator’s note:
This article was originally published on August 21, 2001.

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  1. I find it interesting that unlike the other character pages for Melee, Sakurai doesn’t really go specifically in depth into Kirby’s mechanics, and instead talks about him more generally as if the reader is already familiar with him. In fact, it’s almost like a father is speaking with an old friend about his child…

  2. Wow, I had no idea Kirby was made as an antithesis to “NES difficulty…” very interesting stuff. I could easily go at length about how more games should have more variable settings for difficulty (or perhaps even adaptive difficulty at some points)… I have a six-year old son who loves video games, and there are some things he’s great at with them and some things he is not. He’s actually been going through Classic Mode on Smash Bros. for 3DS, but has trouble sometimes because he doesn’t understand the finer points of recovery and doesn’t comprehend how to do smash attacks (despite me trying to teach him.)

    Even some games that are marketed towards kids, like the Lego games and Disney Infinity, can be more complex than the creators may realize. Thankfully, with some instruction and a lot of encouragement from me, he’s getting more out of games than when I was a kid, where I did things like playing two-player Street Fighter II against nobody. 😛

    1. In Smash Bros. for 3DS / Wii U (after you apply the updates), you can press the Attack and Special buttons simultaneously (A+B under default settings) to fire a Smash attack. Way easier than trying to explain what does it mean to tap the control stick.

      There is a difference between marketing a game towards children and said game being beginners-friendly. The Yoshi’s Island series is a good example: they have a crayon drawing graphics style, but some levels are incredibly challenging. I think this is intentional in YI’s case.

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