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Blast From the Past: Kid Kirby

Artwork from an aborted SNES game reveals the Kirby game that never happened.

If Kid Kirby's got hair, does that mean adult Kirby is bald? Mind=blown.
Jeff and I have a long-standing disagreement over which is the superior Mario game: Super Mario Bros. 3, or Super Mario World. While I'm happy to acknowledge the technological advances made by SMW, it also featured Yoshi, a cloyingly cute character whose popularity was a direct factor in the creation of Baby Mario, my least favorite Mario character this side of Waluigi. Not that the Mario series has ever been particularly mature or serious-minded, but Baby Mario has always struck me as a lazy way for the franchise to cater to an even younger audience. It doesn't help that Baby Mario reminds me of awkward attempts from my youth to rejuvenate old pop culture staples with stuff like James Bond Jr. and Yo Yogi!

That said, I don't think the idea of a Kid Kirby game to be quite so distasteful, largely because Kirby is so goddamn saccharine sweet to begin with. What's the harm in making him smaller and giving him an unruly cowlick? This SNES-era Kirby spin-off never actually saw the light of day, but an intrepid user from The Lost Levels managed to track down some sprite artwork for the game (along with some sweet Uniracers assets) that was hiding on the Flickr account of a former employee of DMA Design, which is where Kid Kirby was being developed. While they're not as plentiful or fleshed-out as the Halo MMO concept stuff that came out earlier this week, it still gives a very basic idea of how the game might've looked. Which is to say, enough like a regular Kirby game that I can understand why someone decided that it simply wasn't necessary.
14 Comments
Posted by Ryan
If Kid Kirby's got hair, does that mean adult Kirby is bald? Mind=blown.
Jeff and I have a long-standing disagreement over which is the superior Mario game: Super Mario Bros. 3, or Super Mario World. While I'm happy to acknowledge the technological advances made by SMW, it also featured Yoshi, a cloyingly cute character whose popularity was a direct factor in the creation of Baby Mario, my least favorite Mario character this side of Waluigi. Not that the Mario series has ever been particularly mature or serious-minded, but Baby Mario has always struck me as a lazy way for the franchise to cater to an even younger audience. It doesn't help that Baby Mario reminds me of awkward attempts from my youth to rejuvenate old pop culture staples with stuff like James Bond Jr. and Yo Yogi!

That said, I don't think the idea of a Kid Kirby game to be quite so distasteful, largely because Kirby is so goddamn saccharine sweet to begin with. What's the harm in making him smaller and giving him an unruly cowlick? This SNES-era Kirby spin-off never actually saw the light of day, but an intrepid user from The Lost Levels managed to track down some sprite artwork for the game (along with some sweet Uniracers assets) that was hiding on the Flickr account of a former employee of DMA Design, which is where Kid Kirby was being developed. While they're not as plentiful or fleshed-out as the Halo MMO concept stuff that came out earlier this week, it still gives a very basic idea of how the game might've looked. Which is to say, enough like a regular Kirby game that I can understand why someone decided that it simply wasn't necessary.
Posted by Pepsiman

The Giant Bomb staff keeps an eye on The Lost Levels' articles and whatnot? I thought that maybe only two other people on the Internet besides myself actually knew about that site's existence. Still, interesting find. Those guys are absolute blood hounds when it comes to that side of video game history.

Posted by ahoodedfigure

I dunno, I find Kirby mad disturbing.  He EATS people!  He steals their essence.  Dude, the Thing has escaped Antarctica!!  RUN!!!!

Posted by bjorno

Ryan, it's 2am, go to sleep.

Posted by TripMasterMunky

I always have the SMB3/SMW debate too lol. I like World the best. It's just more fun to me. So many secrets and stuff to do in the game. It blew my mind when I was a kid. It was really cool finding star road and all that. SMB3 is awesome and  is probably the most influental, but personally, I'm a World fan. And I happened to love Yoshi's Island too. Yeah I don't care much for baby mario either, but the gameplay and graphics were amazing.

Posted by DJ_Lae

Yoshi's Island is a better game than Super Mario World or Mario Bros 3. Argument solved. :P

Posted by albedos_shadow

Weird that it was cancelled.

Posted by TheHBK

So DMA Design decided to stop working on this and make the first GTA.  Super mario World is the first video game I ever owned so it will always hold a special place in my heart.  I only ever played SMB3 on the SNES in the allstar pack.  It is a great game too.  Both have great stuff, Tonooki Suit or Frog suit, so fun!  but the ammount of stuff to uncover in SMW is so immense that it makes for such a satisfying game experience.

Posted by Yatesy

Did SMW have the majesty that is Karibo's shoe? I think not!

Posted by Karmann

SMB3 is better, period.

Posted by DudleySoft

I actually worked on this game, damn that was a long time ago, the sprites you are looking at here were early placeholder sprites, the final sprites were the correct colour, and were larger (and given the way SNES sprite sheets worked wouldn't have made a good screenshot).

The game had one unique feature, it was 100% mouse controlled, you actually grabbed hold of Kirby, pulled him back and shot him through the levels, notice that rather large pointing hand on the sprite sheet, that was you, you controlled the hand (although the final hand had many more frames of animation).

The game was to come bundled with a mouse. I have no idea why it was cancelled, I left DMA before it was finished (for several reasons that I wont go into here), so I have no idea what happened to it.

Oh and before anyone asks, NO i do not have a copy of the ROM for this game.

Posted by YellowChu

Kirby is already a kid. Haven't you ever seen the cartoon series?

Posted by Crono

ahhh have kirby music stuck in my head now for some reason :(

Posted by IMD1

Pretty interesting stuff. I'm glad they didn't make it.