By María Roldán
Tokyo, Apr 23 (EFE).- Thirty years have passed since the loveable pink blob we know as Kirby first bounced into the videogame industry in what has become an enduring success story with playability that attracts first-time gamers and veterans alike.
Hoshi no Kirby, developed by HAL Laboratory, was released on the Nintendo Game Boy in Japan on April 27, 1992 and made it to global markets the following August under the title Kirby’s Dream Land.
The game sold more than a million copies in its first year, an extraordinary feat at the time, and has since garnered up to 5.13 buyers in the years that followed, excluding digital versions made available on the Wii, the 3DS and the Wii U, according to Nintendo.
To this day, the Kirby franchise has released 37 videogames, including reboots, that incorporate a wide variety of genres from classic platform games to pinball, golf and driving games, which have sold a combined 44.5 million copies as of September last year.
These figures do not include the latest release, Kirby and the Forgotten Land, the first 3D platform game of the series, which arrived on Nintendo consoles on March 25 this year.
Kirby’s charisma has seen the franchise swell into a marketable multi-million dollar industry.
Kirby has not only made cameo appearances in other games, but the recognizable amorphous blob adorns themed cafes in Japan and can be found on shelves in the form of children’s toys and collector’s items.
Masahiro Sakurai, one of Kirby’s lead creators, said almost three decades ago as the second Kirby game was released, that he did not expect the character to “become gold” like Mario but that he hoped the pink blob would be loved by all.
Kirby’s Dream Land was the first project led by Sakurai, who joined Hal Laboratory in 1989 aged just 19. The concept was simple — design an accessible game for all skill levels.
Veteran players could challenge themselves with a rerun of the completed game in which the enemies were of a higher skill level and harder to defeat.
The highly playable series became something of a gateway to other Nintendo titles such as Super Mario Bros and the Legend of Zelda.
Kirby’s original name in the early stages of the project was Popopo, which then changed to Twinkle Popo until an influx of ideas from Nintendo’s North American offices landed on Kirby in honor of the lawyer John Kirby. EFE