Everyone’s favourite game developer-turned-YouTuber Masahiro Sakurai is back with another entry in his Creating Games series, and his latest video once again sees Kirby’s Dream Land take centre stage.
This time, Sakurai uses the classic Game Boy title to discuss the level of difficulty in video games and how it needs to be balanced so that the reward matches the risk. Kirby’s Dream Land gives you extra lives, the ability to fly and a good attack range among other things which in turn reduces the game’s ‘essence’ but increases its broad appeal — anyone can have a crack at a Kirby game, and that’s the point.
The OG Dream Land is a pretty easy playthrough by today’s standards and Sakurai uses this video to explain how that’s all intentional, stating that “we need to be kind to beginners”:
Even if it’s less thrilling than Mario, or even if some people think it’s boring, it accomplishes exactly what it sets out to do.
We enjoy a hardcore game every now and then, where finally defeating a boss in Hollow Knight or Elden Ring after the 100th attempt results in a huge rush of euphoria, but let’s not forget that not everyone games the same way, and even the simplest levels can come with their own unique challenges. Sakurai notes the “extremely large business opportunity” of this audience, which isn’t quite the ‘everyone is welcome‘ message that we expected from the video but hey, you can’t be Mr. Smash Bros. without knowing your business 101s…