When Kirby and The Forgotten Land was first announced in 2021, needless to say, I was intrigued. The trailer not only showed that the franchise would be leaving the 2D space behind, but there were also a lot of The Last of Us vibes. No, Kirby isn’t bringing a daughter-like figure across a zombie-ridden land to cure a zombie outbreak. Still, the pink marshmallow is running around a dystopian land that includes a run-down mall which is good enough for me to make the comparison. As of today, my intrigue on this weird mash-up has quickly changed into one of my most anticipated games of 2022.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. I must be a Kirby fan. Why else would I have such high hopes for this? Nope. Granted, I am always excited to play characters that look like me, but my only experience with Kirby is Smash Bros. So what happened? In what might be one of the most extraordinary years in gaming history, how is a Kirby game not only one of my most anticipated but a game of the year contender?
In the newest trailer for the March 25th release, Nintendo showed players that the more they save captured Waddle Dees, the more it will help rebuild Waddle Dee Town. And it’s in Waddle Dee Town where the magic happens. Sadly, you’re not romancing any of these Waddle Dees, but you’re doing the next best thing: fishing.
And there it is! Congratulations, Kirby, you’ve officially entered the game of the year contention. Now, I know what you’re thinking, “Chris, is the entire article just about how you’re excited for a Kirby game because you like fishing mini-games,” and to you, I would say… Not entirely. Yes, this very brief moment in the trailer that might not even be fun was exciting for a dork like me. But, there are also rules for what it takes to be a game of the year contender, and having a fishing mini-game is one of them. If you think I’m being ridiculous, you haven’t been paying attention to the games you’ve been playing or at least to the ones that have been winning awards.
Stardew Valley, Red Dead Redemption 2, Minecraft, Persona 5, Ocarina of Time, and Hades are just a few of the greatest games of all time. What do they have in common? Great writing? Incredible gameplay? Memorable storytelling? Well, yeah, BUT ALSO FISHING. The rules are simple. If you want to be taken seriously as a game of the year contender, you need to have fishing. And before anyone asks about The Last of Us Part 2, that game has a horse. Everyone knows that having a horse in your game is the same as having fishing. Could you imagine if Breath of the Wild didn’t have horses? Virtually unplayable.
Yes, smaller, lesser valued rules for the game of the year can equal up to being a contender for the award. Romance, branching dialogue options, and having your character look and sound exactly like Spider-Man are just a few that come to mind. Even the folks at Capcom recognized that Resident Evil 4 was missing the critical feature and allowed players to shoot and sell fish in Resident Evil 8. Turns out getting nominated for game of the year is literally as easy as shooting fish in a barrel.
So there you have it. Today was a good day. Not only did I not have to shoot my AK, but we also learned some things. If your game has fishing in it, it’s automatically a game of the year contender. IF for some silly reason, that mechanic is missing, horses, for reasons still unknown, will work as an excellent replacement. If your game features neither horse nor fish, then may God have mercy on your soul. And to anyone that tries to point out game of the year winners that didn’t have either. We all know that people who write about video games get paid by these companies to hide the truth. Big gaming doesn’t want the people to know, but I’m gonna get the truth out there.
All I can do now is hope that young upcoming talented creators like Amy Hennig, Shigeru Miyamoto, and Cory Barlog find this article and discover what’s been holding them back: fishing. After all, if you’re gonna put Kratos in a boat, let him fish. That’s all I’m trying to say.