How an unlikely, and pink, candidate became my favorite NES game

How an unlikely, and pink, candidate became my favorite NES game

Malik Rahili

The year is 1993 and the NES is old news. Pushed out of the spotlight by the new, high-tech Super Nintendo Entertainment System, the Nintendo Entertainment System was outdated, clunky and offered gamers little in the way of new gaming experiences.

That was, until Kirby’s Adventure was released in May of ’93.

I was barely a year old and was still a few years away from being united with my first gaming system- the Nintendo 64.

So, naturally, I never got a chance to experience Kirby’s Adventure on the NES, until recently when I played it on Kirby’s Dream Collection for the Wii.

What I experienced, is worthy of being considered the best game on the NES.

Make your arguments for The Legend of Zelda, Super Mario Bros and Metroid, but there is no denying that Kirby’s Adventure, despite being one of the NES’ last titles, is graphically beautiful and offers some of the freshest gameplay in the Nintendo library and marks the beginning of an excellent series of video games.

Yes, Kirby’s Dreamland for the Gameboy came first, but Kirby’s Adventure introduced the patented copy ability and thrust the pink blob into all-out, color stardom.


Kirby’s Adventure starts out innocently enough, with levels that ease you into the feel of the game, introducing the copy ability and filling your head with enough catchy tunes to last a lifetime.

As you work your way through the game’s seven worlds, you’ll witness some of the most vibrant and colorful backgrounds and character models that the NES ever put out.


Difficulty isn’t something that Kirby’s Adventure revels in. In fact, the game is rather easy.

This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, considering that Kirby’s design origins are as being a placeholder sprite for what Nintendo imagined as “a platformer for beginner gamers.” But, Kirby’s Adventure does deliver fresh, albeit simple gameplay, and a handful of boss battles that may just make you take a moment to deliver a death blow to.

Kirby’s Adventure can be beaten in a matter of a couple of hours and likely won’t force you into breaking your controller, but that is just fine because this adventure is one that is beautiful in its simplicity.

Limited to the NES gamepad’s A and B button and the directional pad, Kirby’s Adventure wasn’t built to reinvent the wheel- and it definitely doesn’t. Suck enemies up and either swallow them for a chance to copy their attack, or spit them back out. Use A to jump and the directional pad to hover, and refer back to your B button when you wish to use an enemy’s copied ability.

Indeed, it’s easy to work Kirby’s Adventure and it’s easy to beat. But the vibrant backgrounds, which are so inviting you may want to make your way into their lush settings, the catchy, situation-appropriate music and the gameplay that is simply fun will capture your heart if you allow them to.

Too many games today try to be too complex. More button combinations, more things to render in HD and more multiplayer modes. What those games can learn by looking back 21 years at Kirby’s Adventure is that sometimes, simplicity “sucks”. In Kirby’s case, in a great way.

Kirby’s Adventure can be experienced in a variety of ways. Through the Dream Collection as I experienced it, the virtual console, emulators or by tracking down the cartridge and popping it in an NES.

However, gamer’s of all ages and skill levels do owe it to themselves to experience it in some capacity at some point in their lives.

As you weave your way from the first boss to your final confrontation with King DeDeDe, you’ll have to be made of stone to not have Kirby’s Adventure tug at your heart strings and imagination.

It’s truly a shame that this game came as the NES death rattle. Had it come earlier, perhaps it would garner the respect it deserves and have cemented its place in video game history more solidly.

Even without an intense glowing spotlight, there are some, like myself, who found a way to take a trip back and experience this game. If you wish to see the humble beginnings of one of Nintendo’s most charming and unique series, you owe it to yourself to take a trip to Dreamland with Kirby.

Just don’t call him an underdog. He’s not Link and he’s not Mario. And that’s just fine, because being pink is the mark of a true man- er.. hero.

So, I’ll make the statement for the sake of debate: Kirby’s Adventure is the best game ever made for the NES and has cemented its place in my list of top 10 games of all time. Now fetch my Star Rod, my Kirby-filled dreams are calling my name.

-Cory Spiers