Ode to Kirby: Canvas Curse

So it’s been a busy damn week. Working in the daytime, hacking at night. Lots of brainpower. Played Battlelore with the wife on Wednesday night, great fun. Finally last night, thank God it’s Friday, but I’m beat. My wife is working on the laptop sitting on the bed in our bedroom, so theoretically I could be gaming or doing whatever. But I’m SO tired. And I don’t really want to be off in the livingroom by myself, been doing that a lot already this week. And I can’t even manage to read a book, it feels like too much effort. I want to play a game, but all the 360 or PC games seem like they’d take way too much concentration.

What I want is a piece of pure gaming fluff, joy incarnate in electronic form. No worries, just distilled FUN.

My eye falls on the DS and on the Kirby’s Canvas Curse box. I brush my teeth, crawl into bed next to my wife, and pop the little silver sandwich open.

One hour later and I’m blessing Nintendo and everyone who’s ever been associated with them. Kirby’s little happy dance after doing the long jump just sums up everything that is good and true about gaming. I’m experiencing a sense of profound rightness and gladness that I’m a gamer and that simple innocent pleasure is so well understood by some artists of the gaming world.

Made me go out today and get Rocket Slime, it did :-) I need more games that fall into that damn-I’m-burnt-I-just-want-pure-fun-on-a-stick category. I guess this is what it comes to once you run out of all energy: you want the easiest, sweetest, happiest games possible.

It boggles my mind in retrospect that I never had ANY console before the Xbox. Good God, how much Nintendo bliss I must have missed out on. Thankfully, with the staggering success of the Wii and the DS, it looks like Nintendo gaming joy is strengthening its hegemony over the hearts of gamers everywhere.

Thank you for listening. I knew (some of) you’d understand.

(I guess Advance Wars is old news, huh? Can’t find it in any brick & mortar stores…)

Fire Emblem (first one on GBA) is similarly out of print. I’m replaying Sacred Stones on my GBA currently.

I didn’t like Rocket Slime as much; not sure why, it just didn’t resonate.

Great post, Repo! I feel exactly the same way: I want a game I can jump into for an hour to unwind.

I love the Civilization series, it’s been on my system longer than any other, and I’ve bought every version, but I was already familiar with the systems when Civ IV came out, and I have to say, if Civ II came out today, and I had to absorb that 250 page, densely typed, manual, I doubt I’d get through it. I just don’t have the time, or energy, to commit anymore.

I was talking to a lady today who bought a PSP, and (after confusing the analogue nub with a speaker) found that the games were ‘too serious and time consuming’. I recommended a DS, and could pull up a list of titles that are not only fun, but very much in the spirit of ‘pick up and play’.

However, i’ve not played Canvas Curse, so now i’ll try and pick it up. :P

One i found really fun (even more so, multiplayer) was Yoshi Touch and Go! The game has no real storyline to it, it’s more of a “get as far as you can/score as much as you can”, but even so it’s great fun.

Then you might want to quit Kirby post haste, or you’re in for an unpleasant surprise.

Holy tuna rigamarole in a centaur band with Foaly!

I was about to post this exact same thing, well, that is a post extolling Canvas Curse and how lovely it is, and how it stymies how little of an effect it seemed to have on the DS’s situation and how much of a shame it is that it’s not one of the multimillion superpopular mega hits on the system.

Mine even went in to how refreshing it is to find such deep, easy-to-pick-up-and-play games. I feel the same way; I still enjoy playing those types of games that take a while to get into and understand, but increasingly it frustrates me that they can’t be designed accomplish simply returning them without the fury of something overwhelming or going over your head. Everything seems to have lots of everything these days, which tends to add up to so much nothing in the worst cases.

On that note, if you really like the happiness and complete abandonment to pure joy in a quick burst without sacrificing some longterm playability, one suggestion you might not get is for Rhythm Tengoku. That’s because Nintendo is being a dork and hasn’t localized it to date, but it’s easily playable by those who don’t speak Japanese. It’s a crazy rhythm game that thrusts you into all sorts of funky Wario-Ware-esque situations and connects them all with the power of rhythm!

And don’t forget Chibi Robo. And Drill Dozer. And Mario vs. Donkey Kong. And…wow, you’ve got a lot of catching up to do. :P

But back to Kirby. I love how puzzley and platformy it is at the same time. I love that the base mechanics make typical platform things totally different. I love how completely at odds it is with normal platformer design. Plus the various graphic styles are totally inspired. And I hate how little has come after to it take advantage of all its creativity. :(

BTW, even though it’s Nintendo you may not want to go directly to something like Fire Emblem. That’s not exactly what I’d call a pick up and play game, as remembering the plot and various mechanics can be quite crucial to playing well. It isn’t, however, like trying to go back to something like Phantom Brave after a long break.


Bullshit. Kirby Canvas Curse never gets very hard unless you really suck at games.

Nah, the last few levels are tricky, and it gets extremely hard if you go back to try for 100% completion.

I’ll give you 100% completion, but no way is it all that hard to get through it one time.

Maybe not technically hard, but it sure gets mean. Kirby wants you to die. He wants you to suffer.

Yeah, totally. Canvas Curse has been eclipsed by the popularity of Mario Kart and New SMB, but it was the first awesome DS game and it’s still one of the best. Drawing those lines is so great, and the presentation is wonderful overall. I love that turntable selection menu.

According to a post I made at the time:

So I guess it was harder than I even remember. I will say, though, that it absolutely never gets hard to the point of impeding your enjoyment of it.

Edit: also, re-reading that post reminded me of why it’s really worth trying to get a hundred percent, even though it’s brutally frustrating and you’ll never actually do it: playing a game for three minutes a time with two minute breaks in between is a unique and incredibly surreal experience.

Canvas Curse is becoming nigh-impossible to find–I may have to check around for a used copy. I was a bit luckier with Advance Wars DS, which I managed to scrounge up just before the holidays.

As far as I’m concerned, New SMB has a fatal flaw: the save-point system. They recommend you put the DS on standby between sessions/save-points, but it sucks because you lose all unsaved progress if you swap out the cart.

  • Alan

Yeah, I know what you mean. I’ve looked everywhere for it–my car, my desk, my bookshelf–but ever since I moved, I just can’t find it anywhere.

OK speaking of 100%, here’s an example of how totally lame I am when it comes to Nintendo Zen (Zentendo?). On the FIRST world, the second section (Tiny Town or something), the second level, there is a coin. The coin is in the upper right of the level. Right after starting you get shot to the right through two horizontal pipes that is right below the upper area where the coin is. At the end of a level you get blown upwards through a series of bricks to the very top area where the coin is. The exit is to the left, the coin is to the right.

The top of the level:

X []              B $  X  <-- there's the coin, B's the barrier
>>>>>    o     >>>>>>VVX  <-- pipes, with a spearchucker in a little gap between 'em

But the coin is behind a barrier, and no way can I get through that barrier. Can’t tap on it, can’t beam or dash through it. There are no switches anywhere in the level that I can find.

What’s the trick?

The trick is that the switch is on a different level. You’ll have to come back after you’ve found it.

Shit, where’d you get it? A quick websearch turns up basically nothing except a pile of pricey Amazon reseller copies. Is it pretty much out of print? Do I have to eBay it? Anyone want to sell me it? (shyeah right, like I’d want to sell anyone my Ouendan… damn DS games, whyna hell don’t they keep them in print???)

I’m there with you guys. Older DS games are impossible to find. I had to get Advance Wars DS used. Just bought Kirby Canvas Curse for $30 used off half.com

Huh? I see all these games you guys are mentioning at EB every time I go there.

Which EB? Alabama? Fuck, all the EBs around here died and were reborn as Gamestops, and the Gamestop online shop doesn’t even MENTION Advance Wars DS, not even as being out of stock :-P