Sunday, May 16, 2010

Who Cares About Kirby?

What defines a veteran? According to Dictionary.com, a veteran is "a person who has had long service or experience in an occupation, office, or the like." So what defines a Nintendo veteran? Likely a character who has been part of the Nintendo gang for at least ten years. That's a long time. So, obviously Mario, Metroid, The Legend of Zelda, and Pokemon are veterans. So is Star Fox; Pikmin is getting close, as it was first released in 2002.

What makes a veteran even greater is its ability to withstand; many of Nintendo's franchises have many games. Mario is obviously defiant of insufficient games. So are the others, but poor Pikmin as it only has two games, both released for the Nintendo Gamecube. But there's one character who has over twenty games, a line of mangas, plushes, and even a cartoon; yet among the Nintendo fans, he may not be considered a veteran. In fact, you could even call him the underdog of Nintendo simply because of his outer appearance, despite his record of excellent games. Can you guess who he is?

Kirby.

Kirby is one of Nintendo's greatest franchises, and he is certainly not a force to be reckoned with. Although only eight inches in diameter as well as being visually weak, he's been known to be both a powerful ally and foe. Since 1992, he's dominated the Nintendo handheld line with his top-of-the-line side-scrolling platformers; not even Mario can hold a candle to Kirby when it comes to handhelds, as the plumber has moved on to 3D gaming. In spite of this particularly impressive display of action-packed games, Kirby is looked upon with diffident eyes.

Understandably, Kirby's unpopularity lies with not only his outer appearance, but also his simplistic, easy-to-beat games. But that's the point: ever since Kirby's Dream Land was released for the Game Boy, Kirby's games were to be simple, easy, fun, and enjoyable for anyone to play. That was the duty Masahiro Sakurai, the creator of the puffball, was charged with when he was hired by Hal Laboratory back in the early 90's. Kirby's games are just meant to be simple and easy.

With that, the Warpstar Warrior's games are always a treat; it's nice to break away from the complicated games that flood the market today. Instead of having to sit through a pointlessly deep plot, overly complex gameplay methods, dull graphics, and overly dramatic music, I could play a Kirby game instead, and I can still get the same amount of satisfaction from any other game, whether they be from Nintendo or not. Bright, colorful graphics; cheerful, memorable music; fun, simple gameplay; and a hero to impress even Master Chief (honestly, without that suit, Johnny is just another meal for Kirby).

So, what's the problem? That's something I ask myself every time I think about Kirby Wii, and I'm still stuck at the same position I was at nearly five years ago. At E3 2005, a new Kirby game was announced for the Gamecube; it would've been the first time Kirby appeared in a 3D main game since Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards (which so happens to be my first Kirby game). But a year later, Nintendo revealed their next console, dubbed the "Nintendo Revolution", which would later be known as it is now: the Nintendo Wii. This put a halt on Hal's plans; because of this new console, no one in America would be interested in purchasing a new Gamecube game now that they have their new system.

It seemed as if this new Kirby game would never resurface, and that Kirby would remain as a handheld franchise. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it's always nice to see Kirby as a polygon instead of a sprite every now and again.

However, Kirby Wii was announced, and this sparked hope among the Kirby fans. They had a chance of playing a rather well-presented game. But a few years went by as well as three handheld games and we only received a yearly "Kirby Wii TBA". At one point in 2007, a Nintendo representative stated that there was no Kirby game in development for the Wii. Of course, this statement was shot down at the end of the year when Nintendo's financial report arrived and confirmed the furtherance of the game.

But this has been going on since.

Recently this month, Nintendo released another report which stated Kirby Wii's existence, but nothing else. And yet, something tells me Kirby may be making a small appearance this year at E3:

As you can tell (if you cannot, you can click on the image to pull up a larger version), the image displays a section of space with a pink nebula. Granted, this could mean a new Star Fox or Pikmin game, or even new Metroid information. However, there's always a chance that this could be a hint for Kirby Wii. Maybe the game really will be released, and maybe we do have a chance on seeing the little boy on the Nintendo Wii. If you look at Kirby's release pattern, you'll see that Kirby's games usually come out every two to three years. Since Kirby's last game was 2008's Kirby Super Star Ultra for the Nintendo DS, there are possibilities of seeing Kirby Wii footage this year at E3 2010 or later on this year.

But how come Nintendo is taking so long with this game? Although I know Hal is the one developing this game, you know where I'm getting at. Wouldn't it be nice to have some information? What makes this game so special that it needs to have such secluded information? No one really knows; there's only been several screenshots and a video released of the game. Obviously, Hal is cooking up something nice, and they don't want us fans to know. But it better be something nice. Kirby fans are already skeptic about a 3D Kirby game.

Kirby 64 was, sadly, not what many consider a true Kirby game for whatever reasons (some say it was due to the lack of Waddle Dee enemies, but that's a load of bull). Because of this skepticism, Hal better be careful about what they do. Over-hyping this product could end in disaster or glory; let's hope it's the latter.

Who cares about Kirby? That's a question that cannot be answered, as it is biased. Rather, the question should be "Who should care about Kirby?" Those who love platformers, Nintendo, and all-around cute things. And even if you're not interested in that, the very idea of a character who can change when the player demands it so should sound interesting to those with an open mind. Whether Kirby Wii is released or not, or even if core gamers look upon the one tough creampuff with respect, Kirby's ability to withstand criticism and his line of excellent line of games tells us one thing: he is, in fact, a Nintendo veteran.

Don't believe me? Check the sales. Kirby has raked in over five billion dollars worldwide. 'Nuff said.

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