If we talk about Kirby, you’ll immediately imagine a pink ball with two eyes and a mouth that eats enemies and gains their powers. Since its debut on Game Boy in 1992 with ‘Kirby’s Dream Land,’ it has starred in nearly forty games, had its own one hundred-episode anime, and even had 25 volumes of its own manga. There’s just one problem: Shigeru Miyamoto didn’t imagine it that way.
Which color will Dedede be?
When Masahiro Sakurai was creating ‘Kirby’s Dream Land,’ the design for the main character wasn’t finalized yet. So, he put a ball with eyes as a placeholder, intending to replace it with the actual protagonist later on. He named it Popopo, and gradually grew fond of it. Eventually, they decided to make it the main character and named it Kirby, choosing from a list of possible names.
The story behind Kirby’s name is quite intriguing: In 1982, Universal sued Nintendo for similarities between King Kong and Donkey Kong (quite creative, right?). The lawyer who defended the Japanese company was none other than John Kirby, who ultimately won the case. When Shigeru Miyamoto saw the name “Kirby” on the potential list of names for the character, he didn’t hesitate to pick it, paying homage to the lawyer who played a role in Nintendo’s victory.
They couldn’t get their way, especially when it came to Kirby’s color. Since the Game Boy could only display white, black, and shades of gray, Sakurai envisioned Kirby as pink. As it turns out, he was the only one at Nintendo who imagined it that way, as mentioned in a 1993 interview. In contrast, Miyamoto insisted that Kirby should be yellow. The debate over Kirby’s color went on, and in the midst of it, Nintendo America ended up releasing the ‘Kirby’s Dream Land’ box in… white. Neither one’s choice prevailed, leading to a general mess.
In the end, Miyamoto won partially, and Kirby appeared as a yellow character for the secondary character, Keeby, whenever needed or in the variations of ‘Super Smash Bros.’ In later interviews, Miyamoto corrected his stance and remained as kind as ever, saying, “Normally, a character like Kirby would be yellow, like Pac-Man. That’s why when I saw it with a different color, I felt that it was fresh.” As long as it wasn’t white…
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