It’s April 27th in Japan right now, which means it’s officially Kirby’s 25th birthday! Ever since Kirby’s Dream Land released back in 1992, Kirby has grown into one of Nintendo’s most recognizable faces. Serving as perhaps the most adorable of any franchise face and having one of the most varied array of abilities this side of Pop Star, it’s no wonder his popularity has lasted all this time.

I’ve made my love of Kirby no secret. Kirby’s Dream Land 2 was one of my very first games and it’s left such a lasting impression that there hasn’t been a Kirby game I’ve missed since the days of the N64. He was the first character I ever played as in Super Smash Bros., my very first amiibo, and has been in my author picture here on Nintendo Wire since I started writing for the site. I had the great pleasure of paying a visit to the limited time only Kirby Café in Japan twice, ranking among some of my favorite experiences in the country by far.

He’s more than just a cute mascot of a character; he offers players of all ages and gaming backgrounds a chance to have fun and to get something out of playing games in the series. The Kirby games are designed to be extremely forgiving for beginners, but are still filled with extra challenges for those after something more difficult. All those copy abilities have skills to learn and understand, and boss rushes with powered up enemies are a staple of the series — not to mention frequent offerings of collectibles to gather and secrets to discover. I must’ve rented Kirby 64 about five times in a row to make sure I had every Crystal Shard when I was younger, though these days it’s all about perfecting my True Arena runs.

Last year we put together a Kirby appreciation series about most of the pink puffball’s catalogue of games, and we’re putting it in the spotlight again, now, to celebrate his first game’s anniversary. With a brand new game coming later this year, we’ve already got a lot to look forward to; but for now, join me in a fond look back and a wish a big “Happy birthday!” to my favorite Nintendo series.

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Written by Ricky Berg

When he isn’t writing for Nintendo Wire, Ricky’s anticipating the next Kirby, Fire Emblem, or if the stars ever align, Mother 3 to be released. Till then he’ll have the warm comfort of Super Smash Bros. to keep him going.