Swery65 Helped Fill a Kirby-Sized Hole in My Heart

Kirby's Dream Land 2

When I lose interest in something I once loved, I can’t help but feel a sense of loss. I don’t necessarily miss the thing in question, but I do miss the way it used to made me feel. That something once took up space in my heart, and without it, I’m left with a tiny hole.

There was a brief period of time in which I loved Kirby’s Dream Land 2 more than anything in the world. I sunk countless hours into the game, trying in vain to reach 100% completion. It got me through some tough times, keeping me company after a bad day at school, or when I was stuck in the hospital. As long as I had my Game Boy and Kirby with me, life could never be that bad.

I was initially drawn to the Kirby series because I thought it looked creepy, but it was its sweetness that kept me coming back. While the boss fights sometimes reached hair-pulling levels of hard, the games seemed to designed to bring you joy. There were so many adorable details, like the too-cute enemies or the little jig Kirby did at the end of each level. When I played Kirby’s Dream Land 2 — or any Kirby game, really — I felt like the recipient of a big, squishy hug.

As I got older, my love for Kirby started to wane. I told myself that it was because I wanted epic adventures, games with stories far beyond Kirby‘s simplistic tales, but I’m not sure I believed that even then. I just knew that I didn’t want metaphorical hugs anymore, at least not from Kirby. I still picked up a Kirby game every now and then, but I never stuck with it for very long.

kirby spider

But a few words from Swery65 made me realize why Kirby lost his place in my heart, and helped me figure out how he wormed his way in there in the first place.

Swery, in case you’re unfamiliar, is the man behind Deadly Premonition, a wonderfully weird gem that you should absolutely play. He’s played air guitar with the Berklee Symphony Orchestra. He’s given lectures on lovable game design. He’s a pretty amazing guy, and he’s got a very unique way of describing video games.

Destructoid asked Swery to name his favorite games of 2014, and his response was pretty fantastic. In true Swery fashion, he focuses exclusively on games that start with the letter D. He talks about quitting Drakengard 3 out of “self-hatred and self-defense,” and describes being made fun of for his lack of Destiny skills.

But he also found an excuse to mention Kirby: Triple Deluxe.

“The world will wash your heart clean,” he said. “But the game was too beautiful for my heart.”

That may seem like melodramatic statement, especially when applied to a Kirby game, but it nails how the series makes me feel. Kirby games aren’t always beautiful in the traditional sense; they’re lovely in a way that’s simple and pure. They’re designed without a trace of cynicism, and have never been corrupted by overly jaded adults.

Kirby was literally designed as a placeholder, an amorphous blob you could project anything onto. What I projected onto Kirby wasn’t always sweet — I liked to imagine him as a supervillain — but there was always a childlike innocence to it. In return, he gave me real happiness.

When I grew up, the world around me got darker, and my heart got darker too. I wanted to escape to Dream Land, but it couldn’t make me feel the way it used to. I had become too twisted, too self-loathing for Kirby’s whimsical world.

Kirby: Triple Deluxe

I bought Kirby: Triple Deluxe today, which makes it the first Kirby title I’ve purchased in almost a decade. The game might be too magical for my murky grown-up heart, but that doesn’t matter to me anymore. I just want to curl up and hang out with one of my oldest video game pals. I finally get why I loved Kirby so much in the first place, and I want to try to love him again.

Swery’s given me a number of things for which I am infinitely grateful. Spy Fiction is one of the most interesting stealth games I’ve ever played. Deadly Premonition is the Twin Peaks game I used to lie awake dreaming about. Now, I think Swery may have given me Kirby back, and that means more to me than I can accurately describe.

My heart is riddled with pin-sized holes, and it probably always will be. But maybe, just maybe, a Kirby-shaped hole is going to be filled again.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x