Get in Kirby’s belly and enjoy the gastronomic ride, while it lasts

Kirby’s Dream Land (1992)

We all like a big feed of unhealthy food, don’t we? Well, have you ever eaten so much junk food all at once that all of the grease begins to coagulate, and you actually have to clear your throat? I wouldn’t be surprised if that was just me, because I’m just gonna say it now: if I wasn’t so ruddy health-conscious, and such a strict adherer to my fitness regime, I honestly think I could defeat any food challenge you throw at me.

I suppose you want to know my credentials for making such a bold claim. After all, there’s no shortage of 400lb behemoth men who’d take me to task on that, along with, curiously enough, little five-foot-nothing female competitive eaters who never put an ounce on. Well, I’m sure a large proportion of UK and Ireland readers will be familiar with Brick Top’s body disposal soliloquy, “hence the expression, as greedy as a pig” and all that.

Well, the learned Cockney villain postulates that, when you’re trying to get rid of a cadaver, each pig can consume two pounds of uncooked flesh every minute. I can’t quite match that pace, but one of my go-to restauarant meals as a young nipper was two half-pounder burgers, a goddammed pound of meat altogether, with a big bun, and bacon and cheese on top as standard.

Add in a bundle of chips and a swanky ketchup boat and I was happy as one of those pigs I mentioned, and almost as pink in the face when I finished. Little wonder I was a wee pudger, but that was a hundred years ago. These days… well, I’d like to tell you that I take enjoyment not from “eating food”, which is for ordinary people, but by “indulging in fine cuisine”. Unfortunately that’s not the case either, and I eat my food so fast that it’s all over before I know it. That’s why I don’t cook, see, because the return on my time investment is almost nil. This is also why the word “takeaway” is music to my ears. Isn’t that the case for everyone?

My decadent eating didn’t just descend to nicer restaurants, however. Going back to food challenges, I have completed the classic Eurosaver menu challenge with aplomb. I’ve eaten kebabs that weighed more than 2 kilos, which essentially means I could eat a whole baby, were it covered in dubious sauce, de-boned and wrapped in pitta bread. I’ve tackled Wagon Wheel pizzas, 22 inches in circumference, although regrettably I’m too lacking in match fitness to assail the 26 inch Mega Wheel. I can do a full bag of Haribo jellies in one sitting. I even managed to eat prawns once without boaking.

My point is that, culinarilly I’m actually a pretty big deal and I don’t accept second best. You won’t catch me in any of those fancy restaurants, your Marco Pierre White efforts or whatever, unless the big man himself was there to throw me out. I swerve these places because have you ever seen the “meals” they serve in there? You just get 90% plate, and then in the middle, something ghastly like foie gras or the tightest cut (apologies, cutlet) of steak you’ve ever seen. You’ll find it hard work ordering a pint as well.

No, that won’t do, especially at top-drawer prices. For me, it’s about getting as much food on your plate as possible, which is why I tend to hold court in all-you-can-eat buffets instead. But seriously, in this day and age, there are still billions of people who don’t have an abundance of food. I seem to get readers from all over the world, which I’m sure aren’t IP spoofing bots, so it may not be true that you have plentiful food supplies – but if you do, you better eat as much as you can, while you can, because if you don’t then your ancestors will hate you for it.

Speaking of ancestors, it’s time we go back to one of history’s great eaters. No, I ain’t talking about Marlon Brando, André the Giant or even Fatty Arbuckle. I’m talking about Kirby, not to be mistaken for a Liverpool suburb, or anyone else you know with the surname Kirby. The pink little puffball, or white as he was in Kirby’s Dream Land for the monochromatic Game Boy, was actually based on a real person… sort of. No, It wasn’t Chris Farley, but rather the lawyer who defended Nintendo against Universal Studios in the landmark Donkey Kong/King Kong case – and won. I bet Mr. Kirby ate well that night.

And what a legacy, because old Kirby, the pink Kirby that is, is still delighting women and children to this day. But we refined men, who eat in posh gastronomies, are a little bit beyond the little puffball. That’s why there isn’t a huge amount that one would find inspiring in Kirby’s Dream Land today. It’s a perfectly serviceable platforming game, don’t get me wrong, and it definitely had a heyday. But it’s just basic as all hell, primitive almost. And as it is now, there are a hundred better Kirby options, most of which aren great either, but at least they’re in colour.

Kirby’s Dream Land 1 won’t even give you the ability to copy the attacks of your enemies after get them in your bellay, which means that you’ll only be eating them for the sake of eating them. And whatever about sliding a greasy pound of beef down your gullet, at least that’s an occasion, something to plan an evening around. When you’re just eating out of boredom, for pure sakeage, then you’re bang in trouble.

Apart from that, there’s not much to get excited about. There’s no colour or nice graphics, obviously, which is always a selling point of Kirby games even if there’s nowt else on offer. There are only five main levels to get through as well, and one always expects a Kirby game to be short, but you’ll be completely done with this one in an hour or less. That’s worse than me eating sticks of celery at one of Gordon Ramsay’s joints.

For historical purposes, give Kirby’s Dream Land a look at some point, where you’ll find an exceedingly easy platformer with the same old tunes and areas that you’ve encountered in later, better games, in the same way that you sometimes go back to your old reliable greasy spoon cafés, even when you’ve got the means to eat out somewhere far nicer. When you beat the game, you do unlock a slightly more difficult mode. But, getting to the meat of the issue, I doubt you’ll have the stomach to play this one again.

18 February 2022

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