Kirby & The Forgotten Facts #1: Sub-Games Turned Flash Games
Kirby & The Forgotten Facts is Kirby Informer’s weekly Friday column dedicated to obscure and niche Kirby trivia that even some of the most dedicated and die-hard fans of the pink puff may not be aware of! For the first week of our column, we are spotlighting Kirby promotional material from the Game Boy Advance and the early Nintendo DS era of the franchise. Enjoy!
Kirby has had a long history of web games, but did you know that there were three sub-games from the mainline series that were directly ported to various Nintendo minisites in Japan and North America? These recreations were made to promote the releases of Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land, Kirby & the Amazing Mirror, and Kirby: Squeak Squad.
From 2002 to 2006, Nintendo and HAL Laboratory recreated the single-player experiences of Quick Draw, Speed Eaters, and Speedy Tea Time for browsers. Fans were able to play all three of these sub-games using the now defunct Adobe Flash Player--or perhaps more accurately, the Macromedia Flash Player for those first two games as that is what the program was called before being acquired by Adobe in 2005.
Let's take a deeper look at each game!
Quick Draw (2002)
Released in 2002, the Macromedia Flash Player version of Quick Draw was a direct recreation of the Samurai Kirby-rebranded sub-game from Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land. This was also the first-ever Kirby web game! Available exclusively on the Japanese promotional minisite for Nightmare in Dream Land, this iteration of Quick Draw is the exact same version of the sub-game that appeared on the Game Boy Advance--literally, down to every pixel.
The Flash iteration of Quick Draw displays a Fuchsia (Pink) Game Boy Advance that players can control by using a cursor or keyboard. As you would expect, players still take control of Samurai Kirby and are given just a few frames to react to their opponent before being taken out. The player will go toe-to-toe with Waddle Doo, Wheelie, Chef Kawasaki, and King Dedede before facing Dream Land's legendary master swordsman Meta Knight--it's the same lineup as the Game Boy Advance release of Nightmare in Dream Land.
Using a mouse, trackpad, or even a keyboard may not feel as natural as a Game Boy Advance's A button, but Quick Draw is absolutely beatable here and is just as intense as the original release.
Speed Eaters (2004)
Like Quick Draw's web game presentation, Speed Eaters is displayed on a Pearl Pink Game Boy Advance SP to promote the most recent Nintendo hardware that was available alongside Kirby & the Amazing Mirror.
Out of the three Kirby sub-game Flash ports from Nintendo and HAL Laboratory, 2004’s recreation of Speed Eaters contains by far the most interesting content. This iteration of Speed Eaters for Flash is actually an early version of the sub-game that contains multiple visual differences from its final release--the changes are subtle, but you will notice them if you play the final release and Flash version back-to-back!
As can be seen in the comparison above, some of the sprite work in the Flash version of Speed Eaters contained brighter colors and different placements. Several of the furniture items around the room have been swapped around to look closer and farther from the player--every furniture piece is still here, just not where you would normally expect them to be. In the final version of the game, the dining table was brought closer to the player's view, and the back room had been given more depth thanks to a redesign that minimized the mirrors and changed the look of the ceiling. Some of the curtains have also been shifted around by just a couple pixels.
Speedy Tea Time (2006)
While Quick Draw and Speed Eaters were exclusive to Japan's Nintendo minisites, North America got its own Flash Kirby sub-game before the release of Kirby: Squeak Squad for the Nintendo DS. In 2006, Kirby fans could play a Flash version of Speedy Tea Time through Nintendo of America’s dedicated Nintendo Web Game Series website, also referred to as the Nintendo Arcade.
This short-lived promotional site from Nintendo of America featured well over a dozen web games inspired by GameCube and DS titles such as Mario Party 7, Mario Hoops 3-on-3, and Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March on the Minis... in case it wasn’t obvious, this website was used to promote quite a bit of Mario content when it was up and running. Sadly, Nintendo Arcade’s web games have become lost media as they were never properly archived, making Speedy Tea Time the only Flash Kirby sub-game on this list that is inaccessible today.
Speedy Tea Time was the only Kirby Flash game to exclusively utilize a mouse cursor as the control style was needed to replicate the Nintendo DS’s touchscreen. Speedy Tea Time also had no special border or gameplay differences from the final version of Kirby: Squeak Squad... or at least that I remember. It has been years so I could be wrong about that one!
Play Quick Draw and Speed Eaters Today!
In 2020, Adobe shut down the Flash Player, however, using internet archive websites and some extra software, it is still entirely possible to play these games. For those who have a Flash Player plug-in on their browser and are interested in playing Quick Draw and Speed Eaters, click on the retrospective links to visit each game’s minisite page!
Want to learn some more obscure Kirby trivia? Join us next Friday for more Kirby & The Forgotten Facts, and be sure to follow @ObscureKirby over on Twitter!