When discussing video game stories, we might think about all kinds of cinematic, narratives, back lore, you name it. Tons of games pride themselves with stories that represent an adventure that you power through. When I think of adventure though, then the story is basically the progression of that adventure. After all, princess Peach being captured isn't an adventure, and princess Peach saved is no adventure either. So, ladies and gentlemen I present to you the greatest video game story of all times:
Yes, Kirby's adventure. Also known by it's GBA remake, Nightmare in Dreamland. Now, before I begin to explain why this game has the best story, (this will naturally contain spoilers for an age-old game) let's breakdown the narrative for a bit:
Opening:I'm not going to recite the manual word-for-word for you, but by memory the manual states that Kirby one day wakes up from a nightmare, and hears that everyone has nightmares. It turns out that King Dedede broke the star rod and gave the pieces to his confidants. Kirby sets out to retrieve the parts and restore the star rod.
Mind you, this is all manual, if you start the game, Kirby just lands in a field and starts walking.
The Ending:It seemed that a entity called Nightmare was sealed with the breaking of the Star Rod, King Dedede actually sealed him. Kirby having restored the star rod freed him and defeated him. And everyone could again dream happily.
But Wiim, I hear some of you thinking, This is by no means a fantastic story. In fact, this is just a story to frame the gameplay! And I'll answer: it's not just a frame for the gameplay, but it's also a narrative to frame the actual story. Every story has a beginning and an ending, it's the progress which should make a story interesting.
So before I begin my argument why the story of Kirby's Adventure is the greatest, let's break down the story for a bit.
After the opening:Kirby lands in a field, the forest looming in the distance. Kirby knows he needs to go to Wispy Woods (the tree that attacks by blowing at you), so he sets out to the forest. Wispy is situated at the end of the forest, where the forest clears into a resort area. After those woods, Kriby sets out to the Butter Building. The butter building stands at the end of the resort, and at the buildings foot another holder of a Star Rod Piece stands with the apt name of Paint Roller. The top of the Butter Building is guarded by mr. Shine and mr. Bright, a sun and a moon who hold a star rod piece.
From the top of the building Kirby flies through the clouds to Cracko, the cloud enemy. Kirby then drops down through the clouds on a mountain in the Yoguht yard. Kirby makes his way down until he reaches the plains. The environment turns cavey where Kirby finds Heavy Mole, another confidant of the King. Coming out of the cave, Kirby has reached the Orange Ocean. Kirby swims a bit through the sea to a harbor. Crossing the boats kirby reaches the other side. He needs to go that way to reach Rainbow Resort where the Dream Fountain stands.
Just before the resort, Meta Knight stands in Kirby's path, blocking the entrance. After a crossing swords with Mega Knight (best boss fight in the game). Kirby finally reaches the rainbow resort with the pieces in hand. Kirby faces king Dedede and defeats him, claiming the last piece. As Kirby walks towards the fountain, King Dedede tries to hold Kirby's leg in a last attempt at stopping Nightmare. But Kirby places the Star Rod, and Nightmare is freed. Nightmare flies into Space and King Dedede immediately launches Kirby and the Star Rod after him so Kirby can fix this. The final boss battle and the ending ensues.
The actual argument
Alright, that's a better story than just the opening and ending, but aren't all games like this in a way? You progress from themed stage to themed stage? Here's where a young mr Sakurai, and a young mr Iwata really hit my imagination. Every transition in that story is something YOU play. For example: You start out in the field in world 1, but in level 3, you enter the woods. Level 4 is situated in the woods where you climb upwards in a tree and continue through branches. The boss level starts you in branches, you fall from these branches to fight the boss. Another example, Boss 2 has you in the building that you come out of in World 3, The entirety of World 3 has you going upwards towards the top of the Butter Building, and from that top you go into the clouds.
All-in-All, The entire adventure of Kirby on the NES (or GBA) is available to you. No cut's, no edits, tons of secrets, but the entire road from Vegetable Valley, to Rainbow resort opens up to you. There's not a foot you don't see. And for an NES, that's a feat of design perfection that's only getting harder and harder to replicate.
One more thing. There are more games where there are no cuts between levels, but there's one more thing that makes Kirby's adventure's story special. There are no outside forces changing Kirby's course. Everything is in the hands of the player, so the story as I put it could be different for you. Kirby might head back to attain a special weapon. Kirby might kill no one but the bosses. Kirby might be a sadistic eater, not using his powers just for the sake of being able to eat everything. The player has complete control over the story. It's only the beginning and ending that are set in stone. For everything else, here's a complete world, go nuts. You can explore every nook and cranny, because all nooks and crannies are there to explore for you. Kirby's adventure is your adventure.
And I haven't even touched on the incredible amount of character the game has, but I'll just leave it at this. Thanks for reading, and be sure to tell me why your games' story beats Kirby's Adventure any day. ;)