Kirby’s Dream Land: Chilled Out Game Boy Platforming Fun

Kirby's Dream Land on the Game Boy

Well, here’s the very first Kirby game. In the form of Kirby’s Dream Land on the Game Boy, one of the handheld’s better platformers… with a white Kirby designed for the North American box art.

Inauspicious start there, as Kirby is very definitely pink.

Well, we guess you can’t get everything right. But this is a fun little game and it launched one of Nintendo’s lesser-known franchises to some levels of stardom.

Kirby’s Dream Land, Kirby, and Floating Your Troubles Away

Okay, so this was called Kirby of the Stars in Japan for its April 1992 release, with the game developed by HAL Laboratory for Nintendo.

The game is set in Dream Land, located on a small star planet deep in the depths of the Universe (this is a true story, of course). There, the Dream Landers live a peaceful existence… that is until a SOB called King Dedede arrive and screw everything up!

It’s your job as Kirby to get in there and save the day.

You do that by using what’s become the character’s trademark moves—inhaling bad guys and floating about the place. All to the tune of chirpy music.

It’s a sedate game. Relaxing, even, with a low difficulty setting that lets you dreamily float your way through the thing. And we enjoyed it—Kirby’s Dream Land has aged pretty well.

Although Kirby is white in this game, the character’s creator (Masahiro Sakurai) always intended him to be pink. Which he is in all other Kirby games.

The name Kirby was taken from John Kirby.

This was to honour the American lawyer who helped Nintendo win the 1984 US court case Universal City Studios, Inc. v. Nintendo Co., Ltd. It was one of the more bizarre court cases we can think of.

Anyway, to help launch Kirby’s Dream Land Nintendo provided a marketing campaign in Japan and North America. Again, for the latter, using the white colouring… some serious communication breakdown going on there between Nintendo of Japan and America.

All of this paid off, as the game was a big hit in summer 1992. It topped the Game Boy sales chart and by 1997 it had shifted over 4.5 million cartridges.

Reviews at the time were strong, too, with praise for the unique gameplay style.

Although a short game, Kirby’s Dream Land is certainly accessible. It’s one you could hand someone who doesn’t play video games and they’d enjoy getting to grips with it.

Yes, it’s a basic game. More on the child-friendly side of things, but then Kirby is deliberately ultra-cute to attract the attention of wee ones.

But there’s plenty to enjoy here for all ages. It’s a breezy game and, whilst we played it this week, we did marvel at its simplistic wonders.


Dispense with some gibberish!

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