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Kirby Fan Games (and the Lack Thereof)
People's love for video games can drive them to create many things. Some make fan art, some make fan fic, others music remixes, and yet others even more forms of media. However, few fans are more devoted than those who make fan games. To take what many love and faithfully recreate it in a new form from the ground up is a daunting task, but one that has often brought about great rewards. Some fan games remain in obscurity, but others have gained quite the notoriety such as Another Metroid 2 Remake, or Mega Man Unlimited. The recently released Sonic Mania was created by people who originally worked on a variety of Sonic fan games! However, while many series get plenty of fan game representation, the Kirby series is notably lacking in this regard.
This is not to say that there are no Kirby fan games whatsoever, they do exist, but none so notable as any of the ones mentioned previously, and certainly without the frequency that those series, as well as others like Mario, receive. I began to wonder, what causes this? However, the question didn't last long. All of the series previously mentioned have an issue that Kirby has never truly undergone. All of the series mentioned have had a severe lack of games in the style that made them notable. Mega Man hasn't had an entry in its series since 2010, Sonic's last main outing on the Genesis was Sonic 3 & Knuckles, 1993, the last major 2D Metroid game was Metroid Fusion on the GBA. The game play styles that these games represented would either be dropped or drastically altered for future releases, if there were any future releases at all. Mario had a similar scenario too, with the time between Super Mario World and New Super Mario Bros. heralding the golden age of Super Mario World ROM Hacks.
Kirby, of course, has never had this issue. The series consistently gets a new release every two years. While the series is prone to trying out new things on occasion like with Canvas Curse or Epic Yarn, main entries in the series like Return to Dream Land and Planet Robobot play very similarly to older games like Adventure and Super Star, there isn't really anything akin to Sonic Adventure or Metroid Prime among the bunch. With the series consistently getting entries that older fans are just as prone to love, there is no motivation to continue a legacy that had been forgotten, no need to personally revive a game play style that was left behind. As such, the major driving factor behind many of the greatest fan games simply does not occur within this franchise.
There is one possible exception within this theory. Kirby does have one game play style that was left behind: the Dark Matter Trilogy style. The last entry in the series, Kirby 64, appropriately on the Nintendo 64, brought about a close to its little story, and a close to the slower, more atmospheric Kirby that would often augment his powers in various ways. Of course, games like Dream Land 3 and Kirby 64, while cult classics now, were originally criticized for not being more like Kirby Super Star upon release, and seeing as how that is the direction the series has drastically taken since then, well, it's safe to say that most fans aren't especially broken up about the departure from this style of game. At the very least, most Kirby fans aren't as sad about these games being left behind as Sonic fans are about Sonic 3 & Knuckles or Mega Man fans are about their classics. Could we one day see a Kirby fan game boasting a slew of new animal friends or combo abilities, showing off new exciting worlds to explore and characters to meet? Perhaps, but this seems unlikely. There have been two IF contests on this site for creating new animal helpers, and neither one brought about many great entries, it's clearly not a concept most Kirby fans think about. The IF entry for combination abilities was far more successful, and it would seem the new Kirby game for the Nintendo Switch will be bringing back combo abilities to some extent, showing that at least that idea is still seen as a good one by the developers. Kirby's latest game, Planet Robobot, also brought back elements of strong aesthetic and world-building that the Dark Matter trilogy really excelled at, showing that those elements may be returning in force too.
Kirby may not get as many fan games as other franchises, but it doesn't really need to. Many fandoms were backed into a corner, with none of the games that they loved so much being made. As such, they made the games themselves, and put their hearts and souls into the task. Kirby just hasn't ever been put into an equivalent situation. Will it ever be? Only time will tell in that regard, but I rather doubt it.
|Last Updated - August 22nd, 2017|
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